29 March 2009

More SoFoBoMo Thoughts

I did some thinking about PDF file creation and hosting, as I was coming up with an answer to Billie Mercer's question on the SoFoBoMo Flickr forum.

Here's what I wrote:

If you have CS3, perhaps you have Adobe Acrobat (the full version, not just Acrobat Reader). It comes with Creative Suite. Anyway, if you've got Acrobat, you can combine the separate PDF pages generated by Photoshop CS3 into one multi-page PDF file by starting Acrobat, clicking on "Create PDF" and selecting "From Multiple Files..." then browse to the folder where your files are located.

If you don't have (and don't feel like buying) Acrobat, another easy way to make a PDF file is to create the book in Word first. You can lay out pictures and text there however you like. Then using any of several "print-to-PDF" utilities (such as the free PDFCreator) which you would have installed first, just print from Word as if you're printing to a printer, but select the PDF output instead of your printer.

Now about hosting: Anita has her own website and she has uploaded the PDF file directly to the root folder on her website. That costs money and is non-trivial. However, there are other options that are nearly as good.

1) Try http://freepdfhosting.com (it's free, but you have to register, and you have to make a donation in order to store a PDF file larger than 2 MB which a book of high quality photos probably will be). Pretty straightforward to create an account and upload files. I haven't tried it myself, but I've Googled to find other books hosted on it. The URL will look something like this http://freepdfhosting.com/uploads/413a3e072b.pdf (you can check out that book to see an example of how your book will look).

2) Try the free webspace available through SkyDrive on Microsoft Live Spaces (http://spaces.live.com). Uploading files is pretty straightforward (once you've created your account, navigate in the browser to your public folder and click "Upload Files" then Browse on your hard disk for them), but viewing them isn't quite as smooth as if you had your own webspace. It doesn't show up embedded in the same browser window, but asks whether you want to download the file. And the URLs aren't very nice. But you can store up to 25 GB for free.

3) Try creating a free website on Google Sites (http://sites.google.com). Pretty straightforward to sign up for an account and create a new site. You need to upload your PDF file as an "attachment" to some page in your site (e.g., your home page), but then you can point people to the URL of the file directly. File size limit: 10 MB per attachment.

4) Try uploading the PDF file directly to Google Docs (http://docs.google.com). Like Google Sites, you have to have (or create) a Google account to do this. But once you've got one and are logged in, just click Upload, Browse your computer to find the file, and click "Upload File." Again, the URLs aren't very nice, and there's a bunch of Google Docs framework stuff at the top and right of the window. File size limit: 10 MB per PDF.

None of those solutions is IDEAL, but they're all pretty simple and have varying advantages/disadvantages.

I have realized that I can't just do a Blurb book, because I do want to have a PDF result to post online, and Blurb doesn't give you one. So I'm back to the drawing board planning to either use InDesign (which I'd need to spend some more time learning) or Word. I don't want to have to do the layout twice (both for PDF and for the printed Blurb book), so I'm going to try to do what someone else suggested and just export the individual PDF pages (complete with text and photos) as JPGs and plop them in to Blurb pages one at a time with full bleed. I'd like to try that once before the real thing comes along. I still think I'm going to go with Issuu for the hosting, as I really like its polished looke and page-turning interface.

Another thing I've decided to do, at the recommendation of an artist friend, is to prepare for the actual shooting I'm planning to do over the two weeks of the Food Course by photographing my meals from now until then. I think that not only will that discipline prepare me for the SoFoBoMo task, but it will also prepare me for the contemplative aspects of the Food Course. It will make me more mindful of what and how I'm eating, and it will help me to slow down as I approach my meals. Perhaps I'll be more grateful for them, too.

OK, here goes the first meal. Took 23 shots and kept 6 of them, to tell the story of my dinner.

Hmmm, a full fridge, but nothing interesting to eat...

Besides, I haven't done dishes in weeks and there's gross stuff growing in my big cooking pot...

I guess it's one of those frozen dinner days...

Zap it...

Nice and hot...



Anonymous said...

Can i make 3 suggestions.
One don't worry to much about the technical details
Two For making a pdf. Any program will do that has the ability to print. Install http://www.pdfforge.org/products/pdfcreator and you can make pdf's. Of course this presumes you are using windows os wich is likely since macosx already can out of the box.
Three for sharing stuff on the internet there are many option but yesterday I noticed a really nice one 100mb online storage http://drop.io/
Ofcourse for about €24 per year you can have a full website

Angela said...

wooo hooo frozen dinners!!
Rosie - I wanted to say that I'm working a bit less for the next two weeks because I got engaged and Kyla is covering a few shifts for me while I do some wedding planning. I'll be in and out at work, but not really checking my email. I tried yesterday, but the internet was down. Your art is at Curves as well as money and wine. You can pick up your work whenever you like, it's safe and sound at the club.

armpitstalker said...

it's funny, i wrote a poem for my current 'packet' about a character who shows up at a neighbor's house and can't think of why he did that so he tells them he would like some food. and then as explanation, so they won't think he's just cheap, he says he's trying to increase his consciousness around food, or consumption. it's all from a dream I had. But you are a riot!!! i love the photo of the pot with things growing in it!! worthy of the 'merry vomit' for sure! i'm going to nom you for their upcoming 'best pot' contest!


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