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Quipsologies
~ Vol. 10 ~

Big news in this edition of Quipsologies. Really.

~ M. KINGSLEY ~

In 1996, Addi Somekh and Charlie Eckert began traveling the world in search of world peace through balloon hats.

Here’s a promotional Quicktime film that pitches an idea for a television show (includes Martha Stewart).

~

Rash˘mon time:
1. Alberto Korda took the famous picture of Che Guevara.
2. Jim Fitzpatrick (designer of Thin Lizzy album covers) turned it into a high-contrast image and claims authorship.
3. Korda’s estate licensed the rights to a company, Fashion Victim, that is currently reproducing it on t-shirts made in Honduran sweatshops.

[Thanks to greg.org]

~

When an obsession with the Other goes wrong: a website dedicated to the misuse of Chinese characters in Western culture.

~ ARMIN ~

Breaking News: Adobe to buy Macromedia.

~

When traveling by plane and bored in the cabin, flip through Sky Mall, you never know what you might find: A giant crossword puzzle can become inspiration for beautiful pixel patterns.

~

quipsology_revs.jpg

“Yet unlike many former graffiti artists who have turned their street credibility into successful careers as graphic designers or youth-market branding gurus,” writes Randy Kennedy for The New York Times “Revs has continued to shun, angrily, the worlds of conventional art and commerce.” Revs, a legendary graffiti artist, is tagging buildings with very heavy steel sculptures — and with permission.

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ENTRY DETAILS
ARCHIVE ID 2285 FILED UNDER Miscellaneous
PUBLISHED ON Apr.18.2005 BY The Speak Up Authors
WITH 22 COMMENTS
Comments
Jason Tselentis’s comment is:

Totally disppointing to hear this Adobe news. Thanks for pointing it out, Armin. What a frickin' bomb. In my opinion, this is like Ford buying Volvo or Nike acquiring Converse.

On Apr.18.2005 at 11:29 AM
Don Julio’s comment is:

Or GM purchasing Saab? This will mark the second time that Adobe has acquired Freehand (formerly of Aldus), which has always been a fantastic tool.

Sounds a bit like Demolition Man where Taco Bell becomes the only restaurant operator left in the future. Works for the paper companies, right? Simpson/Gilbert/Fox, Potlatch/Sappi, and Mohawk has recently joined the race.

And then there was one.

On Apr.18.2005 at 12:02 PM
Gunnar Swanson’s comment is:

From the Utne Reader article:

an Atlanta company that may be using Honduran sweatshop labor to produce "Che" t-shirts

[emphasis mine]

Honduras, a country where most clothes are produced in sweatshops.

An excellent piece of journalism followed by some great analysis:

What makes this story so tragic is what makes it so ironic. This "free trade" in Che Guevara iconography has come to a halt in America. What was tacitly treated as leftist cultural property, accessible to all before Korda's death is now being zealously guarded by a corporate interest that asks a new generation of radicals to buy "Che" symbols produced in Honduras.

Ironic that opponents of free trade want trade that is literally free? Ironic that tacit treatment is no more solid than the notion of “leftist cultural property”? Ironic that one company is suing another, allowing the latter to pretend to be some manifestation of a fictional economic system? Ironic that Hondurans have jobs instead of the US citizens that we know Che would have favored?

Or ironic that the image of Che is still central to “leftist culture” long after most of us recognized the long-established pattern of human rights abuses perpetrated by the Cuban government and encouraged by Che? Or for the common juxtaposition of Che’s image and blanket statements against war and violence?

On Apr.18.2005 at 12:08 PM
Tim Lapetino’s comment is:

Sorry, Jason, but I think your comment is kind of short-sighted.

This makes *tons* of sense for Adobe, and will probably be a HUGE boon for them! I mean, they've just acquired the *one* graphics software company that does what Adobe *has never been able to do well*! Macromedia has been tearing it up with their 2 biggest Web packages--Flash (redefined the web in many ways) and Dreamweaver (the *only* decent WYSIWYG web editor), and have huge inroads into easy-to-use business-targeted software (Contribute, Breeze, etc), too. Adobe has never been successful at web applications (GoLive? What a joke...! And ImageReady is nothing more than a Photoshop plugin.), so this really helps them a lot. The possibilities for integration are very interesting.

Now, I wonder what they'll do with the branding. Will the companies remain as separately-branded entities? (I'd assume this would be the case, since it would let them keep Illustrator and Freehand separate options for creatives.) It will be fascinating to see how this plays out, given the years of equity both of the names carry.

On Apr.18.2005 at 01:52 PM
mitch’s comment is:

so far my favorite post-buyout merged new company name is Macrobe.

other than that i don't have much to add to the discussion other than to say if Flash becomes a stable and well designed program like most of Adobe's stuff is then the buyout is good news — because now its the most horrifically written program in the history of computing.

On Apr.18.2005 at 02:13 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

My pick for the new name is MacrAdobeHelpMegaCorp International.

On the plus side, this may push some of the open source stuff further ahead.

Oh, and I forgot to submit this for a quip'...but I'll add it here:

The Walker has finally reoponed:

http://www.startribune.com/stories/1375/5349040.html

On Apr.18.2005 at 02:22 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

Gunnar, saying "Honduras" in certain company can certainly get a rise out of people. There is a substantial history of American labor unions, progressives and other labor watchdogs pointing out the labor problems of Honduran products. Hopefully, most people are somewhat familiar with the controversies behind Kathie Lee Gifford for WalMart and P. Diddy's Sean Jean line — both resulting from the use of Honduran sweatshops.

Here's an interesting PDF file for anyone who's so inclined.

Actually, my interest in this subject is more the floating claims of authorship/ownership rather than the socio-political fallout of sweatshop labor. There's so much to fix in the world and unfortunately I don't have the strength for this particular issue.

...but I do admit to having an "if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck" openness to the liberal party line here.

On Apr.18.2005 at 03:18 PM
Jason Tselentis’s comment is:

Surely, the Macrobe merger will create new advances in software, but I can't help but have a bad taste in my mouth.

Another one bites the dust. Come on, this merger thing is getting out of hand, and the naming conventions used after the tidal wave strike me as ridiculous. When will we see FedEx Kinko's General Motors Boeing brought to you by Amazon.com? All the services united under one roof! Imagine the possibilities.

Soon, you won't need to pick sides. On the other hand, great, we'll have some really cool things happen between the two software suites. This excites me. I hope this means instead of buying 5-7 different programs, I can purchase one software suite.

Or maybe...just maybe, we'll have the uberapp:

PhotoShop + InDesign + Freehand + Acrobat = Metamedia

Fireworks + Illustrator + Flash + Premiere + Dreamweaver = Xperience

On Apr.18.2005 at 04:00 PM
Jorge Pi˝on’s comment is:

I wish it were true, Gunnar, that the "leftist culture", especially exemplified in young people, was hip to the fact that Che was at the very least a human rights violator and at worst a maniacal murderer on par with Himmler. Any gathering of young people I go to where it is common to see any kind of open leftist expression, from college bars to the Warped Tour, I see Che t-shirts everywhere.

I suppose it's a testament to the power of a great logo that the Che brand still stands for the side of Good. In politics, branding is propaganda, and many on the left and right, especially the kids, don't know it.

On Apr.18.2005 at 05:40 PM
Gunnar Swanson’s comment is:

Mark—I’m made nervous by party lines of any sort.

No question that many Honduran factories have abysmal records of worker treatment but I'm nervous about the seeming sweatshop/not sweatshop binary that goes on in articles like the Utne Reader one.

I also think it’s worth noting that US trade with Honduras means that a Honduran t shirt is likely made with US materials and, say, a Chinese t shirt is highly unlikely to. If we assume that US labor conditions are likely to be at least slightly better than Chinese conditions, the overall exploitation rating of the nasty capitalists would seem to be less of a dishonor to Dr. Guevara than that of his fellow semi-Marxists.

And yes, the authorship questions are more on topic and easier to deal with at least semi factually.

On Apr.18.2005 at 05:57 PM
Armin’s comment is:

The one benefit I look forward to of this merger is that the Macromedia apps could get the Adobe interface. Other than that I have no strong feelings. Unless they fuck it up. Then I'll be really pissed.

And in terms of branding/naming/structure I feel Adobe is the strongest name with the bestest association in the creative community, at least. Adobe is a great sponsor of things like AIGA and other creative "things", I don't remember ever seeing a Macromedia logo anywhere in these type of events.

On Apr.18.2005 at 06:00 PM
gregor’s comment is:

I think -- and my speculation is just as wild as the next person's -- that we'll be seeing the end of freehand and dreamweaver and probably fireworks as well. I'll miss freehand if it's indeed true. dreamweaver and fireworks I'll miss less, if at all -- but I'm only an occassional user of both of the latter -- web-centric designers may feel differently.

While MM has been developing Flash MX 2005 -- which was slated for a June/July release rumor has it -- no further development of freehand has taken place in some time, and Illustrator CS2 is just about ready to come out of the gates.

As far as dreamweaver is concerned, and Flash for that matter, MX 2004 has failed miserably on the mac due to MM's specific implementation of the Opera browser as the rendering engine for both. Adobe has been much more successful using the opera engine in GoLive. Hopefully the combined efforts of MM and Adobe engineers can revamp Flash into a more stable application.

nonetheless, the acquisition puts it all under one umbrella and seems to be the path layout programs were on not very long ago at all (i.e. quark before the emergence of indesign): are we headed back to a lack of product innovation, customer service arrogance and upgrade pricing issues. I sure hope not.

On Apr.18.2005 at 08:08 PM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:

Gunner, Jorge, The question here is not one of left vs. right but cannibalistic vs. non-canibalistic. ie: One company eating up the smaller companies.

On the second subject: Che has been assimilated, as the Borg would say. Bye, bye Che... Any semblance of coherant observation of this episode is warped by the absurdity of the actual circumstances: sweatshops doing revolutionary icon t-shirts. Rebellion immediately absorbed into the bigger media appetite for new meat to market. It's really remarkable. Genius. Reptilian even. What to do: make alternatives that are spit out and aren't assimilated. Well, that's my big idea...LOL

Helvetica has to die for a new world to be born.

On Apr.18.2005 at 10:30 PM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

Sorry for this interruption in tech talk -- I don't think this has been mentioned anywhere on SU yet, but a new site that many of the readers here may find interesting has come on the scene. Placement reads great from the first couple weeks its been live.

On Apr.18.2005 at 11:09 PM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:

Sorry for my interruption in paranoid talk, Michael, I was in meltdown last night, but I'm better now, thanks.

On Apr.19.2005 at 08:01 AM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

um, Pesky Illustrator sorry if you thought I was singling you out - I was referring more to the general conversation. Carry on with the lateral thinking!

On Apr.19.2005 at 08:42 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

And in terms of branding/naming/structure I feel Adobe is the strongest name with the bestest association in the creative community

In the print world, yes. In the web world, no. They really haven't done anything to win over the web creatives. That said, MM has been floundering for a few years as well.

I don't remember ever seeing a Macromedia logo anywhere in these type of events.

Again, MM was really going after the web creatives these past few years. (Perhaps this says more about the AIGA being unable to win over web creatives...uh-oh...not that thread again... ;o)

I've heard speculation going both ways now about Flash. I've heard that flash was THE reason for the acquisition and I've heard that they may jettison Flash. If the latter, I'm really stumped as to why they paid 3.4 billion for Macromedia, though I'm guessing the eHelp line was of some value to them. But what do I know?

On Apr.19.2005 at 11:00 AM
Steven’s comment is:

Okay, as a former Macromedia employee ('95-'01), it's time for me to chime in...

The merger doesn't surprize me at all. Macromedia has done well with developing industry-standard Internet apps, but has sort of floundered with the vision thing over the past few years, IMHO. Bringing the two companies together will hopefully create some synergy between products.

I would expect that GoLive will be dumped for Dreamweaver and ImageReady dumped for Fireworks. Rumor has it that GoLive was considered the "weakest link" in the Adobe product line-up. So the merger really addresses that little problem in an decisive and effective manner.

It would be utterly foolish, and highly unlikely, for Adobe to jettison Flash. Flash is the application most valued by the investment community in this merger. You'd see Adobe's stock price plummet, if they weren't absorbing Flash. The merger has very little value without Flash.

Darrel, where did you "hear" about Adobe or Macromedia jettisoning Flash? You can e-mail me directly if your source is on the "inside."

And yeah, Flash has always been a little buggy. But then, in the world of software development, there's more ROI in adding features than in fixing bugs. Just look at WindowsÖ as a prime example of that.

On a sad note, I think you can be pretty sure that FreeHand will be officially killed, which is sad because I loved and used that program for many, many years. And the programmers that developed the app were fairly passionate about it. But, oh well. The program has been woefully neglected and misunderstood for quite a while now. It's time for it to join Fontographer.

With regards to why Macromedia was never involved with AIGA events, well, I certainly tried to get various people over the years to get involved. The first few years of my employment, I would bring it up all the time. Hello! Really good opportunity with a receptive audience to promote products! But I was generally ignored, and after a while I just stopped even trying. The reason? Management was all about blindly promoting Internet technologies. Print was old-school. (And I also think that they knew they could never really effectively compete with Adobe in that space, so why bother. Spend the money in other areas.)

BTW, Macrobe is HILARIOUS!!! Got a good laugh out of that.

On Apr.19.2005 at 03:57 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Darrel, where did you "hear" about Adobe or Macromedia jettisoning Flash? You can e-mail me directly if your source is on the "inside."

It was actually an article online...which I've lost in the swamp of punditry out there surrounding this merger. It admittedly was one tidbit amongst many saying the opposite...that the driving force was Flash.

On a sad note, I think you can be pretty sure that FreeHand will be officially killed

This will be the second time Adobe has aquired Freehand. The first time, I believe they had to sell it off as a requirement for approval of their swallowing of Aldus. I'll miss freehand, too, but also agree that it's sucked since version 8.

I also found this funny:

http://software.silicon.com/applications/0,39024653,39129657,00.htm

Some great quotes at the end:

"After 9/11, we both realized that being enemies didn't make sense," Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen said in a conference call on Monday, referring to his discussions with Macromedia's then-CEO Rob Burgess.

Fight terrorism anyway we can...even if it means corporate consolidation!

On Apr.19.2005 at 04:29 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Yeah, FreeHand was first jettisoned by Adobe when they bought Aldus. Interestingly, when Macromedia bought-up FreeHand, I was initially hired by Mm to come in and convert all of their Illustrator files into FreeHand; and thus began my six-year stint at the Ol' Double M.

Actually, maybe FreeHand being let go again might give it a chance to survive. Hello Corel? ;-P

And yeah, FH8 was the last trully good version of the app before it became Illustrator-esque in v9 and v10. They had more of the original development team at that point. But then, the writing was on the wall and a lot of development team moved to other departments or left the company.

On Apr.19.2005 at 04:49 PM
Greg’s comment is:

The audience for Adobe and Macromedia's software consists of so-called creative professionals, such as web designers and graphics artists.

-From Darrel's link

Ouch. Maybe I should reconsider my career as a "so-called graphics artist."

On Apr.19.2005 at 10:05 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

My favorite summary of the merger thus far:

http://daringfireball.net/2005/04/adobe_translation

On Apr.21.2005 at 10:31 AM