Category Archives: Creative Tools

Coffee Helps Fight Dementia

A study published in the May 2010 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease purports that caffeine may protect against cognitive decline that occurs as a result of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  The report goes on to specify that caffeine can help:

  • Normalize brain function and prevent degeneration
  • Reduce effects of Alzheimer’s
  • Improve memory and overall cognitive performance
  • Protect against Parkinson’s disease

Caffeine appears to reduce amyloid-beta production, and that in turn helps inhibit growth of plaques in the brain that lead to Alzheimer’s.  The other effect — and this falls into the realm of research that shows happiness is, in itself, incredibly good for you — is that caffeine can act as a powerful mood lifter, relieving the depressive symptoms which are thought as the most prevalent complication of cognitive decline.

So, coffee (or at least the caffeine in it) is a mood lifter?  I guess so.  I know I’m significantly less happy in the morning if I don’t get it.

Adobe Cloud for “Teams” makes sense … until you look at the price

Given that you have to sell a kidney to afford
just about any of Adobe’s professional creative software suites, they did a wonderful thing when they came out with this: Adobe Creative Cloud.

It’s a subscription plan, ranging from $30 to $50 a month (student to professional) for access to EVERYTHING, updated constantly, and I’m a happy user. It’s easier to justify $50 a month, especially when it’s software you use in your trade, than plunking down an arm and a leg (or lung & kidney) and buying it outright, only to have it be outdated 11 months later, and have to buy it again just to keep up with the newest innovations.

Keeping that in mind, I was excited to hear they announced a team version of this, which made me think, automatically, for a few dollars more you can add extra people to the license, which would be awesome.

I was excited, that is, until I learned that it’s $70 PER SEAT, a full $20 a month more than if we bought them individually.

I’m sorry, but that makes no sense at all!

And so now here’s my rant, addressed to Adobe:

THIS is what would make sense: $70 a month which includes AT LEAST 2 SEATS, even better 3, with each additional seat costing another $20. I would buy that for my entire team. But the way they have it now, it makes more sense to simply buy individual memberships for each team member and collaborate with our existing tools, AS WE ALREADY DO. Adobe’s “team” value add is minimal to nothing being that 80 percent of their customers who work in teams already have collaboration systems in place. The only value to a team membership is if it saved Adobe’s customers MONEY.

I’m sorry but this is a step backwards. Creative Cloud opened Adobe software up to a new arena of customers, but this “team” plan is no deal at all.

And with that, I end my rant.

Manuscript for iPad

I had such high hopes for this app. It seemed promising. The feature set came across so impressive and useful that I bought it immediately.

Silly me.

The reality is, this is a toy for would-be writers so that they can pretend they’re writing something. Two clues that it’s not actually for professional use:

  1. It gives you a choice of parchment background styles for you to write on.
  2. It presents your manuscript to you as if it’s already published in a hardbound book.

Ergo, this is a wish-fulfillment app, not an actual writing tool.

It could be saved, though. Add the ability to format your text, and improve the export feature so that it gives you a professionally formatted manuscript, and it would actually be useful. I mean, I don’t really have anything against it being on a parchment background, or looking like it’s already hardbound. What does piss me off is that I spent money on it without realizing it won’t do simple — and I mean basic — things like indent your paragraphs and underline words.

For you aspiring writers out there, here’s an important tip: professional publishers like to see their manuscript submissions in a specific format. This app claims to enable you to produce a submittable manuscript within the confines of the app itself, and that is not true.

Until Black Mana Studios fixes at least this basic flaw, there’s no way I can recommend this to anyone who is serious about creating a manuscript on the iPad. Take your money and instead buy Apple’s Pages. It may not come with all the plotting tools, but at least it gives you all the standard, necessary formatting features you’ll need to produce a professional manuscript.