Thursday, 31 January 2013

5 Shortcuts to Genius

Here's a good article from that pretty much describes five ways to totally undermine all those silly people who take the long way round to being 'brainy'.

  • Learn to speed read
  • Solve a Rubik's Cube
  • Play the world's shortest game of chess
  • Work out maths in your head better (some Americans still call it 'math' . . . so annoying)
  • Scan people like Sherlock Holmes

I've been trying out the speed reading technique - they link to it in the article. Here it is. It's actually really good - and only takes a spare 20 mins to get an idea of how to do it. I'm sure I don't have any psychos reading this, so I can assume you're not interested in memorising a book's contents in order to quote things to people just before you commit a heinous act. They do that in films all the time (Hannibal, Butterfly on a Wheel etc). Anyway, as long as memorising stuff isn't on your to-do-list you can read way faster than you think. Unfortunately it does involve using your finger to underline everything you read, as if you were back in nursery school, but it means you can get through things much quicker.

Try it now: grab a book (novels are best because they have a good line length of 10-14 words - after all, 12 words is the optimum, as you knew) and read it by underlining each line with your finger as if to pull your eye along the line. Go through two lines per second. It's fast, and you may not get an understanding of any of the words at first, but keep trying – you'll eventually no longer need to say the words to yourself in your mind while you read (which is the main reason people only read as fast as they can speak).

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Package files in InDesign CS3/4/5

Let's say you're going to create a document that'll have loads of links, but the files you want to use are located in lots of different places on your computer. You can't just link to them where they are, because if you deleted/moved/renamed any of them in future, then your InDesign file will no longer link to them. So they all need to be copied and put into one folder specifically for your InDesign file.

Rather than collecting them all into a 'links' folder manually before you even start working in InDesign, you can just get InDesign to do it for you. Open a new document, set up links to all the images you want included and then save your file. At this point your links will be going to places all over your hard disk (not good), so now you'll copy them all into one place.

To do so, go to File > Package... and you'll usually be able to just hit 'ok' on the window that appears. This is going to create a folder for you that contains your InDesign file, plus a subfolder for links and a subfolder for fonts. A window will appear where you can specify where to save it and what exactly you're saving (fonts, images etc). The default settings are fine. Hit 'save' and you'll find a tidy folder with your InDesign file and all your links copied into one place. Nifty, right? You can delete your original InDesign file at this point.

Another use for this is simply getting rid of unwanted stuff. Let's say you did set up a 'links' folder before you started your job, and you put 20 images in it. You might be doing an 8 page doc with those 20 images, and imagine you've replaced every image 3 times with new artwork/amendments. You'll have a links folder of 60 items for a file that only uses 20 of them. Use the package function and re-save everything into a folder on your desktop – it'll save only the links you've used, and ditch everything else, keeping your memory use minimal and your housekeeping skills maximal ; )

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Hey you! Hast du Taschen?

It was only a couple of years ago that I heard that Taschen still sends out printed magazines about their latest books. They probably send out about three each year, so although it's not frequent, it's a nice surprise when it finally turns up in the post. The magazine is pretty much a collection of adverts about their books with two or three articles thrown in and a few different features that are repeated each issue, e.g. there's a page where famous authors comment on a particular Taschen book that they like. I just wonder if Taschen give them a list of 'suggestions' as to which book they comment on.

Anyway, what are you waiting for? Sign up for the free mag at Taschen's website

Friday, 25 January 2013

Chicago in the snow

As the snow has just freshly blanketed my hometown of Doncaster, I think it's fitting to share these brilliant photographs of Chicago I found recently on

Some of them are like scenes from one of the old Batman films (George Clooney's time is probably considered the 'old' Batman by now, right?). Very cool anyway.

➔ Please do not copy any image from this blog without permission; I keep proof of ownership on all of my work ☺