Meeting summaries

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June 3, 2009, Bert Monroy

Bert Monroy is a world famous expert in Adobe Photoshop, and showed us some of the most amazing ways to create images that we’ve ever seen. He showed us parts of his famous work, Damen, including parts of how he made the Sears Tower, and some of the ads. What was amazing was the attention to detail that he gave to each and every element, as well as his total and complete mastery of Adobe Photoshop.

Bert has a weekly video that goes out on Mondays, and can be found here:

http://www.revision3.com/pixelperfect

All in all, a truly amazing time!
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April 1, 2009, Adobe

  • April 1, 2009 - Adobe come to the Chicago Apple Users Group!
We were very privileged to have Adam Pratt as our guest speaker on April 1, 2009. Adam has authored or co-authored quite a large number of books on the Adobe applications, and is certified on every application in the CS suite. Adam works for Adobe helping many customers in print, web, and multimedia fields, and consults with many companies.

We were treated to an overview of a few of the new features in the CS4 products. For example, we saw how to use Adobe Bridge to manage all kinds of media. Bridge works with photos, pdfs, SWF files, and much more. Adam was able to demonstrate how to use Bridge to navigate to media content, and preview it within Bridge. As a good note, Adobe Bridge comes with all of the CS4 applications.

Next we took a look at some of the new features and tools in Adobe Photoshop CS4. A couple of tools stand out. One is the features is a Canvas Rotation tool which Adam was not able to use because of the limitations of the projector. We also saw an example of how to use the new Vanishing Point tool in PS, as well as the new selection tools to quickly select and edit the color of a tie on a model. The effects were non-desctructive.

We were also treated to a brief tour of some of the new features in InDesign. Adam’s main point was that InDesign can import old Quark files. However, he pointed out that several of the most recent versions of QuarkXPress can not be imported, except as PDF files, and he suggested that one option would be to import the Quark file as a PDF and then re-construct the file in InDesign. Adam also previewed how InDesign can output to Flash, without writing a single line of code for the Flash. InDesign can output to print or Flash. Another significant element was pre-flighting in InDesign. It’s now possible to do pre-flight within InDesign, and see how many errors a file contains, and whether or not a Creative wants to output the file or not. The pre-flighting can be customized to each job.

Next was a brief tour of Illustrator CS4. Adam showed us the new Gradient Tool in CS4, which allows live editing of a gradient in real time, without having to open up multiple dialog boxes. He said that Illustrator has quite a number of other new features, more than time can allow.

Adam took questions on a broad range of CS4 topics, and handled them with comfort.

We also had an open Q&A session, and showed the MacHeist bundle as a great software offer for the next several days, and concluded with our free prize giveaways, where several people went home winners.
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March 4, 2009, Top Ten iPod apps, big Q&A

We were originally scheduled to have a presenter from Wacom, who was not able to attend. Moiri from the Apple Store stepped in and helped by doing a demo of many of her favorite apps on the iPhone. She showed us how to find apps on the iTunes App Store, and a lot of her favorites, which were games.

This was followed by a big Q&A session. Some of the Q&A:

• One member pointed out the “Upgrade to iTunes Plus”, which allows a person to access the music they bought on iTunes, and purchase it at the highest bitrate and DRM-free, directly from Apple.

• One member reminded us of the product called Pulsar from rogue amoeba software. It allows people to listen to XM or Cirius radio on their Mac. The app is free for people who own other software by rogue amoeba, and the free offer ends later this month.

• The question of the Amazon Kindle came up, and it was noted that Kindle on the iPhone app was released the day before. The limitations were also noted, such as newspapers and magazines which will not be available on the Kindle for the iPhone.

• Related to this was a larger discussion of searching for information online. In particular one user mentioned using www.questia.com as an invaluable online library. There was a brief demo showing how it could be used to do research on a large number of topics.

• A person had a G5 Mac that was in a flood and had several LaCie hard drives which were now failing, and problems with ghosting on the video display. The group advised getting Apple to look at the Mac to be certain that it was fixed correctly, and to talk to LaCie about the hard drives. It might be something as simple as an enclosure or a power supply, and some people said that LaCie gave them very good customer service.

• We had a look at the software 1Password which some people use to store passwords, and others even use it to store the personal information, such as credit card numbers.

We held a game which was won by a guest from the Chicago Mac Meetup group, and adjourned the meeting. Some of headed off to Elephant and Castle for fun and food and much more conversation about all things tech and Apple.
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February 4th, 2009, Home Automation

Chicago Apple User Group redux
Last night's presentation at the Chicago Apple User Group meeting, at the Michigan Ave Apple Store, was great fun. Lots of smart and interesting people attended, and it was a real treat to get to talk about smart homes in my home town and at such a great venue. If you're a Chicago-area Mac user, you'll be well served by this group.
Here's a list of links and references from my presentation and the discussion afterwards. Many thanks again to the group and the board for their hospitality.
  • Finally, you can get a list of all the home automation tips on this site by clicking here.
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