Starting with IPEX 2002, this blog covers events relevant for UK print, including Seybold and DRUPA. See also website at

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

At IPEX on 19th May the Ghent PDF Group will sponsor a meeting on "Is PDF still relevant? How and Why?"

Seems a strange question for a print show. PDF is pretty central I would guess. One reason it seems less relevant is that Adobe have more or less stopped promoting it. It seems very unlikely that MARS will reach a release. There are enough rough and ready ways to go from XML to PDF. Acrobat 10 will probably be another plug for Connect and Flash.

It could be the case that after ten years or so PDF is not suitable for margins on software so is not promoted. But apparently Acrobat is still contributing to Adobe income. There may be attention for other options in creating PDF. is putting PDF in the cloud. Google docs is another way of doing this and there are several others.

Apart from Flash there is also interest in ePUB as a format. This is based on XML and reflows on mobile devices. The PDFXML Inspector available from MARS / Adobe Labs works well with ePUB. Maybe this will be part of the discussion.

"Pre-Media" could have a wide scope, there could even be IPEX time for workflows including Flash.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The IPEX list of companies now shows Adobe and a "wish list" button. Usually this allows you to add to places to visit. Is it in this case a sort of promotion for IPEX? Several people have said they would like Adobe to be there, that sort of thing. There is no "wish list" option for Apple or Quark that I can find. But I would sign a petition if it would help.

My guess is that Adobe will be in background mode. Apple are too busy packing up mobile devices. This kind of context should concentrate minds.
Reading the Observer on Sunday I was reminded of Chris Linford's claim that technology innovation takes about fourty years. The news is that the asperand has become a curated object for the New York Museum of Modern Art. Jemima Kiss reports that electronic messaging was developed in 1965 but Ray Tomlinson needed the asperand in 1971 to indicate different computers.

So 40 years from 1965 has already happened. 2011 is getting closer. Chris Linford talks about innovation during the LCC Futures conferences held at Total Print in Earl's Court until 2009 at LCC in Elephant and Castle. When issues come up such as the potential for the ebook I sometimes think that is called a "Futures" conference to suggest that these are issues the print industry will only have to face at some vague point in the future. Email is still mostly just text, almost no design. So pretty basic but the public acceptance could be a sign of things to come.

Meanwhile Matt Whipp on the Printweek blogs is doubting whether Gordon Brown's ideas for government websites will work out. The idea is to move a load of form filling online ansd save money. Matt Whip points out that his granny cannot type, let alone move a mouse. I have left a comment suggesting the print community should take this a bit more urgently. So far the UK government concern with bandwidth has been a bit low energy. At least they realise there are savings to be made for government as such. There could be a time when the percentage of citizens who cannot use a mouse is so low that the tax authorities will give away voice recognition.

OK that last idea was imagined, not a prediction. I sometimes wander into fiction. this is only a blog, like the time I met a unicorn walking to Paris in time for the next LCC Futures. Assuming there may not be a Total Print this year so soon after IPEX then the conference could be at any time. Speculation online could do little harm.

At IPEX the Knowledge Centre Seminar Theatre will feature the LCC on 24th May at 1400. This is definite fact.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I am trying to think forward to Learning Technologies 2011. A bit of time travel is sometimes useful. From the recent earnings meeting it seems Adobe will concentrate on Flash for CS5 but Acrobat will be updated later in the year, maybe mostly in the cloud. My guess is that Learning Technologies will still be mostly Flash but PDF and flat pages will be in there somewhere. Many people will consider Google docs and other lower cost options, also online document networks such as Scribd and Slideshare. Both have a design that seems to be interested in documents even though Flash is in there to display the pages. Adobe design is always pushing us somewhere else I find. So this sort of situation exists now even though some products are not launched or widely available.

I have put more about this in the Sandbox board for Networked Learning.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Blogger Jo Francis has returned to Blackwell's on Charing Cross Road to check out the Espresso book machine. The main news is that the machine is not working, waiting on a part. In the extended online version of her blog she mentions the quality of the samples displayed, finding them "pretty ropey". Earlier comment in Printweek had been critical of the binding.

I visited Charing Cross Road a couple of weeks ago and it is true the machine has been waiting on a part. But there are over 200 back orders. Someone has been happy with the result at some point. Last Year Victor Keegan tweeted about the four day wait when the Espresso was working ok.

I think the print industry media should be more positive about this. I think it was in Printweek I read that a Xerox version is expected. The current one is based on Konica Minolta kit. Probably it is the binding that will break down but surely Xerox will have a look at this? Long ago the print operation had a bookshop alongside. Why not a print device in the bookshop? Charing Cross Road still has some empty spaces at the moment. (Let me know if this is changing, easier to report from Hammersmith than from Exeter) . Suppose there was another Espresso in Foyles and maybe a couple in Dillons. Some competition but some sort of arrangement if one broke down.

So this blog is wandering into fantasy,far away from the evidence based traditions of print journalism. But why not? I still think there could be a print show in Earl's Court Two alongside the London Book Fair. Just a bit of time travel is involved. I guess the Espresso will be at Earl's Court again next month. if not, at least it will be remembered. The legitimate print industry can offer short runs of books. Just needs to follow up the public imagination.