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‘I think I heard the word publishing mentioned maybe twice—both times by representatives of Pantone. But even Pantone couldn't get through a presentation without mentioning the Web (in the midst of pitching their latest hexachromatic swatch booklets).’

 


 

OPINION SEPTEMBER 5 , 2000
Talkin' Smack: My Trip to Seybold

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I think I heard the word "publishing" mentioned maybe twice—both times by representatives of Pantone. But even Pantone couldn't get through a presentation without mentioning the Web (in the midst of pitching their latest hexachromatic swatch booklets).

And all the vendors are just happy as pie to pander to the dumb as paint publishing executives who want to talk about anything except the job at hand, namely putting out magazines. Why are vendors so anxious to accommodate? The Web is a great step backwards. They get to make less powerful software and hardware to address the less demanding medium of the Internet—and charge more money for it—because publishing executives have no clue whatsoever about publishing. And the people who do know publishing—designers, editors and the production staff—have very little say in the matter.

Vector graphics? Come on. Some of this stuff looked like software from the '80s.

"Ooh, look. I can make a vector-based circle. It's resolution-independent, you know."

"Ooh, look. My program can output for the Web. No, we haven't addressed any of the needs our users have been begging for, but that's O.K. because our content can be repurposed."

"We have end to end business solutions. Products? I think we have some of those too."

Allow me to translate: Basically, we're back to MacPaint, and we get to pay a fee to have our screen-resolution graphics delivered to the service bureau.

What a joke.

But my trip wasn't entirely a waste. I did have a chance to grow out my mutton chops away from the critical eyes of my colleagues back in the office.

I was also able to pick up a nice pair of Adidas at the outlet in Gilroy (the garlic capital of the world), not to mention some new shorts and a T-shirt.

But I suppose the most significant portion of my trip was during the drive home when my friend Shay and I saw a UFO in the middle of the 5 freeway. It was heading right at us, otherworldly lights flashing, and then, at the last minute, it did a flip and started spiraling away. We drove on for a bit and then decided it was just too compelling not to check out. So we turned around and went on an alien hunt. Unfortunately, when we found it again, we discovered that it was just some crazy Vietnam vet or something pulling some amazing maneuvers about 20 feet off the ground in a helicopter. Never seen anything like it. If there were an award for Best Aerial Maneuvering by a Crazy Person, this guy would have gotten it. We wanted to see aliens, but this freak put on a pretty good show anyway. So we pulled off the freeway and watched for a little bit.

But figuring that there was little chance of scoring a free anal probe anymore and a very large chance that this guy would clip a power line and come crashing into us, we bolted off, looking for a Diedrich's coffee house for some much-needed good coffee after way too much Starbucks garbage in San Francisco. We never did find one.

I suppose that's a good metaphor for my Seybold SF experience: too much Starbucks, not enough Deidrich's. All jive, no substance. And a bill that made my head spin. (Never stay at the Renaissance Parc 55 hotel. $30 a day parking? I ain't the one.)

I look forward to next year's show so I can hear more about convergence and emerging technologies. Maybe by then one publishing company will have gotten the Web right, and the rest will have something to copy. (Heaven forfend the accountants who run publishing companies actually did something original.)

To all of you out there still working in print publishing, I offer my condolences. If this year's Seybold was any indication, you really are about to be proactively synergized into oblivion. On the positive side, Creative Mac's parent company is hiring. So send me your résumés, and I'll see what I can do. Until then, try to hang in there.

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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac; host of the Creative Mac, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion and Synthetik Studio Artist WWUGs; and executive producer of Creative Mac, DCC Designer, DCC Workstation, Digital DTP, Digital Pro Sound, Digital Webcast, Hollywood Industry, Presentation Master, ProAudio.net and Video Systems sites. All are part of the Digital Media Net family of online industry hubs.

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