Friday, September 30, 2011

Digital Dad

I finished my eBooks with Indesign and Dreamweaver 5.5 class today. While I was trying to break down what I'd learned and how I can apply it to what I need to do, one very important kernel emerged. I am my father. I've known this for a long time and anyone who has ever met Ken Kaufman already knows this. Old news. Those who do know both of us, have you noticed the physical morphing as well? Me into him I mean, not the other way around. Ever since I started running I look more and more like my father! This is kinda cool since my Dad also looks a lot like George Clooney. But it's giving me gender identity issues. Dang I wish I had a picture of all three of us together, then you'd really be able to see the similarities. This'll have to do:


See what I'm talking about? Creepy.

Anyway. So I'm in this eBook class and the teacher—who was amaze-balls—is explaining embedding videos into EPUB files via Indesign, fixing it in Dreamweaver and adding the poster images by regular old fashioned HTML and CSS. He asks if there are any questions, that got me to thinking about slideshows. If we can add videos with poster images and skins, how come we can't have interactive slideshows? Basically I want to have a multi-state object, or multi-page document (i.e. event kit) on one ebook page. I can do this in interactive documents, but it's a PDF. How can I get it to be an interactive EPUB? His answer was sadly knowing a Java or QUERY developer to do it for me. Rats.

Since my subway ride home from the class, I think I've figured out a short term solution to this. I can't tag a .swf file in Dreamweaver to do it the way I'm currently thinking—I don't know how. I don't know how these developers are getting flash onto Nooks and that new Kindle Fire, but I don't think it's thru CSS and regular HTML mark up....thus the Java Script suggestion I guess. Anyway, I can make a slideshow in Indesign or Flash and output it as a .swf. I can take that Flash file (however it's created) and convert it to a .mov file which can be embedded into EPUB. So it's not an actual "pages inside of pages" construction, but it's a messy workaround. I'll create a separate EPUB of only multi-state object documents in case anyone wants to look at them closer. I don't need 40+ pages within in one "chapter", it's annoying. But I don't want to only have movies of my work, that's not accurate either. We'll see if eBooks can catch up with what we want it to do.

So that brings up my main point. No one has done this yet. Or rather I should say few have done this. Because if people were doing this, it would work. It would at least be possible. Right now there's handfuls of dorky people sitting on subways, traveling around, and muttering to themselves about code. And this is how I've become my father. He doesn't wander around places muttering trying to figure stuff out (just kidding I know he totally does). But he can something, take it apart and make it the way he wants. He's always done this. I'm fairly sure parts of the space shuttle have been in our living room for this purpose.  And while the content might be different between us, I'm proud to have that ability. I'm proud of myself to be able to see something, understand it's construction and rip it apart. Or at least try to make it the way I want. I know I got this from Dad, he showed me how to do this as a kid and now as an adult. For example, he's currently building his own house "off the grid". Is he an electrician? No. Is he an architect? No. Does he even really work? No. Just builds things and learns how to do it as he goes. The main difference might be that when he does it, it's always kinda great. But I'm getting there.

Class info for anyone who's interested, it's hella awesome.

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