The Creative Suite Conference Sneak Peek, November 4th

Ascend Training has teamed up with Mogo Media for this year’s InDesign Conference November 2nd-4th. We are both excited to bring participants the opportunity to get a sneak peek into next fall’s Creative Suite Conference. The last day of the InDesign Conference, we will be offering a Sneak Peek Track where attendees will gain exposure to a variety of topics: Dreamweaver, Flash, Photoshop, and HTML 5 to name a few. Those not signed up can still participate and purchase a 1-day pass for $99. For more information, please click on the link below!

Cloud Computing then and now; a look at how far we’ve come

About a year ago (specifically last February), “Cloud Computing” was a fairly new techno-buzzword. In fact, when Jori blogged about it then, we got a fair few comments asking what it was. At the time, the “cloud” was a nebulous thing true to its name; when something went into the electronic “cloud,” just where was it going and how were you supposed to get it back?

For those who don’t know: the “Cloud” is the general name for the dynamic, functional space on the internet (so on servers all over the world) where data can be stored and accessed by anyone through the web. Think of your Gmail account; your messages live online somewhere, and when you log into Gmail to get them, you go out to the web instead of the messages coming to you. The same functionality can be applied anywhere, and we see it being used more all the time. Apple’s MobileMe (formerly .Mac) essentially rents subscribers a chunk of space on Apple’s servers to post photos, host a website, send and receive email, etc. Practically, the user doesn’t really do anything she or he didn’t already; you still put in a username and password and there’s your stuff, whatever it is–the difference is that all of that stuff used to have to be on a hard drive somewhere, and now it’s in the aether, floating around between computers, easy to access but impossible to locate-and for some, this is troubling.

But not everyone sees it that way; many respected institutions including universities, government agencies, and even corporations are beginning to see Cloud Computing as a way not just to maximize investment but a way to reach more people. In September of this year, the White House announced a multi-billion-dollar initiative aimed at streamlining the transition of much of its data into “cloud-accessible” form. Even NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) uses the Cloud, and in a way that would have been impossible without the architecture built by Google, IBM, Apple and others; Satellite data from multiple government agencies are aggregated together in “constellations”, or mini-clouds, so that anyone behind the firewall can see it all at once.

Speaking of making our jobs easier, I’d love to mention the success we’ve had at Ascend using Adobe’s Acrobat Connect, which in addition to being incredibly cool (think of a Wiki, only everyone can work on it at the same time), is incredibly useful. Ascend uses Acrobat Connect to hold online training sessions on Adobe’s own software–so now, thanks to the “Cloud” in which the class data and all the various users’ information can be temporarily housed, students in London can tune in and take a Photoshop class with students in Phoenix, which is good news, since most companies are going global faster than we can keep up.

Personally, I think the Cloud is awesome; I use MobileMe and Gmail for my email, PhotoBucket to share photos, and YouTube to express myself and get my daily dose of entertainment–but you know what? For the moment, I’m still making back-ups of it all on my external hard drive, and that sits on my desk…so I can keep an eye on it. Know what I mean?

For further reading:

White House unveils cloud computing initiative

Microsoft’s Azure

The 5 Top Reasons to Upgrade to Acrobat 9

Have you upgraded to Acrobat 9 yet? Here are the five top reasons to upgrade: 

  •  
    • Improved Interface and faster performance
    • Close integration of Flash for better electronic/interactive documents
    • Simplified Forms interface and tools
    • Easy built-in on-line collaboration with co-workers and customers
    • Improved security and redactment features

Acrobat 9 is one of the most impressive upgrades of a single product that we have seen in a long time. Visit Adobe’s Acrobat site to see an impressive demo of the software in action! 

Ascend’s two day Acrobat 9 Adobe Certified workshop will show you how to take advantage of all the new features and put Acrobat 9 to work for you.

A few of the topics that will be covered are: 

    • How to create electronic/interactive documents that improve your corporate images and customer relations
    • How to create and  send forms quickly and easily
    • How to send out forms electronically and collect data automatically
    • How to share doscuments with co-workers and customers online
    • How to set up on-line meetings and workflows
    • How to embed Flash video in PDFs and your Web pages with a simple click of the mouse