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Hamilton--A Few Holiday Wishes

December 1999
With the holidays approaching only too rapidly, I thought it time to generate a wish list for the folks whose primary responsibility it is to make sure that the bits and bytes turn into spots and dots.

With all the jousting that goes on in our industry, a little peace on earth and goodwill among men and women sounds like a good thing. Let's face it: There's really no bad equipment out on the market, just different approaches that each come with their own compromises and drawbacks, as well as features and benefits.

Of course, we all end up with our preferences as to how to handle files, whether it be to use PostScript, PDF, TIFF, DCS, CT/LW or even PageMaker! But why do they keep selling PageMaker 6.5 bundled with Illustrator 8 and Photoshop 5.5? I thought InDesign was finally InDeStore!

However, I say we draw the line with MS Publisher. Hey, with Microsoft getting kicked by everyone from federal judges on down to the rest of us, I thought it'd be fun to join in. We can pretend that Bill is Ebeneezer Scrooge and that we're Tiny Tim and . . .

Goodwill Among Software Giants, Adobe & Quark?
Speaking of companies that can impose their will on the rest of us, how about a little peace on earth and goodwill between Adobe and Quark. While these two behemoths spar over market share, we are left to pick up the pieces when files come in printed with the wrong PostScript printer driver, bounding box problems and other problems that result from their bad relationship.

Then there's the world of CTP. Frankly, I don't care if you expose printing plates with a miniature flashlight, or use it with a magnifying glass to heat up the surface.

Either way, can we declare "enough!" in the debate over visible-light vs. thermal-imaging technologies? Both work better than film, both have their place in different printing workflows.

I am tired of hearing about it. The bottom line is that there are so many other issues that determine the quality of the finished piece that to focus on my 8-micron spot vs. your 7-micron spot—hat or halo—shows how we can lose perspective.

What's really important about CTP is what happens before the file gets to the platesetter. Beyond the issue of file formats and workflow, what I would really like to see is the printing industry stand up for itself and demand that clients become accountable for the materials they submit for production.


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