Stories

This page provides an overview of my pieces for HOW magazine and Bulldog Reporter. You can also get updates on my Facebook page. Content for Inside Health Media is behind a paywall, so I can't provide links to those articles.

HOW Magazine

Creative Cloud Updates: A look at new features in Photoshop plus a useful addition to Illustrator. (June 29, 2016)

Art and design at 2016 Maker Faire: Highlights from the 2016 edition of this amazing three-day gathering of makers. It's a mix of interesting projects and some of the enabling technologies. You'll also find some exclusive slide shows on this website. (June 13, 2016)

Adobe takes the cloud to the Max: This article focused on announcements at the Adobe Max conference in October, but it also served as an overview of CC 2015, which hit the "cloud" in June. (October 22, 2015)

Art and design at 2015 Maker Faire: Another HOW article looking at Maker Faire projects of particular interest to graphic designers. Among them: LED artwork, "scratch art" illustrations, masking tape sculptures, and photographic displays assembled from sequins. Again, you'll find additional slide shows on this site. (May 23, 2015)

What's new in Adobe Photoshop CC 2014: I thought the 2014 Creative Cloud release was a bit thin in terms of new features, but it did include some useful additions to Photoshop. The question of whether to upgrade is pretty much moot these days given the new subscription model. I offer my take in this online article for HOW. (October 13, 2014)

Adobe announces CC 2014: A year after Adobe stirred controversy with its Creative Cloud subscription plan, the company released new versions of its software and made its first entry into the hardware business. (July 29, 2014)

An introduction to CSS Pixels: People are accustomed to thinking of the "pixel" as the smallest unit on the screen. But in the age of the Retina display, that's not always the case. This article for HOW delves into the difference between hardware pixels and the CSS pixels specified in web designs. (July 21 2014)

Highlights from Maker Faire: This was my first HOW article about Maker Faire. I had just returned from the 2014 event, but I also had a lot of photos from 2013, so I included those in a "bonus" slide show. (May 29, 2014)

Top content management systems for designers: A look at Wordpress, Drupal and a couple of hosted alternatives for designers seeking to build websites for clients. (May 13, 2014)

An introduction to responsive images: Web designs can adapt themselves to mobile devices, but images don't always play nice in responsive designs. This article looks at some of the options available to designers as we wait for web standards to catch up. One note: The date stamp on this article is wrong. It was written and posted in April 2014, not July. (April 21, 2014)

Data visualization tools and infographic software: This article looks at the data visualization tools that seem to be most useful for designers. The latter point is key: To be considered, the software had to be capable of exporting charts to Illustrator or other vector programs. That narrowed the field considerably. I also mentioned a few options for creating interactive visualizations. (April 15, 2014)

Adobe's new Creative Suite: This is my take on Adobe's latest creative tools and its controversial decision to make them available exclusively by subscription. (August 23, 2013)

Top web-design programs: It's easy to find web-design programs for consumers, but choices for creative professionals are more limited. Here's a look at six design tools, including a couple of freebies. (June 27, 2013)

Mid-course additions to Adobe Photoshop: A look at some cool new features in Adobe Photoshop, including conditional actions and a couple of big productivity enhancements for web designers. I also discussed the new Single Edition of the Digital Publishing Suite, which allows designers to build tablet apps from InDesign files. (January 22, 2013)

Creative Suite 6: A series of overviews of Adobe's Creative Suite 6: Photoshop, InDesign and the rest. (May 30, 2012)

New web-design tools: An early look at two web design tools from Adobe Systems: Adobe Muse and Adobe Edge. (September 11, 2011)

Digital Publishing Tools: A piece about digital publishing features in QuarkXPress 9 and Adobe InDesign 5.5. (April 11, 2011)

Web font services: A freelance assignment about web font services such as TypeKit and Google Fonts, which were relatively new at the time. (November 26, 2010)

HTML5 vs. Flash: I wrote a 4000-word behemoth about HTML5, CSS3 and Adobe Flash. I was curious about how the new web technologies replicated Flash's vector-animation functions. I couldn't find any in-depth articles aimed at non-programmers, so I decided to write one myself. (Sept 15 2010)

CS5 Review: A mega review of Adobe's Creative Suite. I wrote about the seven core applications for designers: Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, Flash Catalyst and Fireworks. (May 10 2010)

Bulldog Reporter

These are highlights from "Deskside," a more-or-less weekly column that ran in Bulldog Reporter's Daily Dog in 2013 and 2014. Daily Dog was Bulldog Reporter's daily "e-zine," essentially a trade publication for the PR business. After the demise of Bulldog Reporter's parent company in October 2014, the brand was acquired by MediaMiser, which made the wise decision to move Daily Dog content to the Bulldog Reporter home page.

The idea of "Deskside" was to write about PR from the standpoint of a journalist (yours truly). The columns were based on my own experiences and my interviews with other journalists. Updated versions of some columns can be found on the MediaMiser blog.

Dentists, balloons and salad dressing: I began my career as the editor of Veterinary Computing, so I've long been fascinated by niche markets. I had some fun with this Daily Dog column, which looked at some of the ultimate niche organizations, including The Association of Dressings & Sauces, The Balloon Council, and my all-time favorite, the United States Dental Golf Association. (July 1, 2014)

A lesson in perspective: I had been looking for an excuse to mention The Tube Council, a trade association for the collapsible squeeze tube industry. I finally found it when writing this column about PR people who overuse the "High Importance" flag in their emails. My point? Importance—or the lack thereof—is a matter of perspective. (Jun 24 2014)

The plague of "faux personalization" in PR emails: Most journalists don't like to be on the receiving end of poorly targeted mass mailings. But even worse in my eyes is "faux personalization," in which a PR person makes it appear that a mass-emailed pitch is tailored to my interests. It might get my attention, but then I get past the salutation and see that the message is completely irrelevant to what I cover as a journalist. (April 8, 2014)

An alternative to the "Fake Reply" con: One of my personal pet peeves about media relations is the "fake reply con," in which a PR person inserts "Re:" in the email's subject line to make it appear that they are replying to me. Rather than resorting to these cheap email gimmicks, I advised PR pros to research the journalists who cover their industries and work toward establishing long-term relationships. (December 17, 2013)

What makes a story newsworthy? There's no simple answer, but in this column, I attempted to outline some of the elements that define news value: timeliness, surprise, human interest, the "So What/Who Cares" factor, etc.(October 28, 2013)

Raising awareness about a PR ploy: This column looks at a common pet peeve among health journalists: PR pitches tied to health observances, such as "Cataract Awareness Month" (June) or "Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week" (May 20-26). These may be important health issues, but the observances themselves have minimal news value. (June 28, 2013)

The column debuts: My first "Deskside" column looked at a piece of advice that's so common, we refer to it as "PR 101": Know the journalist's publication and beat before pitching them. Unfortunately, too many PR people don't seem to understand this basic aspect of media relations, and ultimately cast a negative light on the entire profession. Hence the title: "PR 101 Flunkies Are Making You Look Bad." (May 6, 2013)