Kevin does it again: <p>Derogatory comment about industry leads tech guru to prove his point

Aug 05, 2010 at 07:35 pm by staff

OK. You might want to put this column down without reading it.

At the very least, close your door so no one hears the venting. It might be safest just to turn the page now.

Yesterday afternoon, on a website visited by several well-known Adobe-related staff and trainers, I posted that I had discovered a simple work-around to the Snow Leopard PDF driver issue.

In the simplest of terms, when Apple released their latest operating system, dubbed “Snow Leopard,” a few months ago, people quickly realized that they couldn’t create Postscript files using the PDF printer driver. This is only a problem if you believe, as I do, that perfect PDF files are imperative.

Anyhow, on a recent trip to Minnesota to work with a small newspaper, I found a way to make the process work as it always had. Since then, the publisher tells me she’s had nothing but perfect results. Not always the case when she was exporting her PDFs.

On the Website, trainers and authors shared their views that it isn’t necessary to make PDFs the “old fashioned way,” because InDesign exports perfect PDF files. No mess. No fuss.

If it were only that simple.

A few minutes later, I received an e-mail from a pretty famous guy. He’s not related to the newspaper industry, but you’d probably recognize his name. He writes a lot of books about design and software.

He was a tad upset with me. First, he wanted me to know that it’s just stupid to create PDFs using Acrobat Distiller, when it’s so much simpler to export them from InDesign. Then he went on to remind me that there are no problems of any type with files exported from InDesign.

When I disagreed, he wished me good luck in dealing with my “twentieth century technology,” which I took as an insult to my industry, and was gone.

Next I visited with a good friend who also does a lot of training in the publishing world. He agreed that using the Postscript/Distiller method is sometimes unnecessary. “After CS2, InDesign doesn’t export CID fonts.”

CID fonts, you see, are one of the big issues with exported files. They come out of nowhere and haunt your files, creating printing issues, characters that print as squares and numbers that change from a 5 to a 2, for example. I’ll never forget when Gregg Jones, publisher of The Greeneville (Tenn.) Sun, called in a panic because an ad printed with strawberries listed at 5 for $1 instead of 2 for $1. The advertiser was not pleased.

Later, I heard back from the author. He challenged me to show him one PDF file from a recent version of InDesign that included a CID font.

My first instinct was to tell him where to put his PDF file, but I came to my senses and decided to close this debate once and for all.

This is what I did. Yesterday, I led a training event for a New York ad agency. During the course of the training, we created a few pages of a magazine. The pages we created included no files from anyone else. Just simple text, entered in InCopy, and a few photos.

This morning I opened the file and exported it, using the setting that all these experts told me works perfectly every time. Before looking at the results, I decided that I would try this one time only. If exporting the file converted any of the fonts to CID, I was right. This would indicated that using Distiller is, indeed, the best method for creating a PDF.

If, on the other hand, no CID fonts were created, I would admit I was wrong and had been living in the past. I would no longer consider myself the PDF Guru, as so many people have come to know me over the years.

You guessed it. CID font.

I sent the file directly to the author. He admitted he was surprised. Said he couldn’t make it happen. Imagine that. OK. I’ll say my piece and then be gone.

It makes me angry when people refer to newspapers as dinosaurs and primitive. The last time I checked, most of us were doing pretty well. I’m contacted regularly by people wanting to buy newspapers and asking for my advice on good opportunities. My daily paper is delivered every day. My community paper is delivered every week.

My business is as good as it has ever been. Just yesterday, I received requests to train newspaper groups in Los Angeles, Toronto and New York. Newspapers are investing in new equipment and training.

Strange behavior for a dying industry. OK, I’ve said enough.


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