Scientist

Welcome

I am a writer and editor with diverse interests that include technology, graphic design, digital media and healthcare. This website was originally intended to provide links to my recent work, but I also hope to offer commentary about tools for creative professionals plus other topics that catch my fancy.

 

Robots @Maker Faire 2015

Maker Faire | May 23 2015
Robot Thumbnail

Robots are among the main attractions at Maker Faire, from tiny "BrushBots" to giant metal creatures that could have stepped out from a science-fiction movie. Some even have practical uses, like making pancakes and solving Rubik's Cube (the latter from a 13-year-old inventor). Take a look in this slide show.

Art & Design @MakerFaire

HOW Magazine | May 23 2015
Maker Faire logo

In this article for HOW Magazine, I looked at Maker Faire projects that might be of particular interest to graphic designers. Among them: LED artwork, "scratch art" illustrations, masking tape sculptures, and photographic displays assembled from sequins.

Steampunk @Maker Faire 2015

Maker Faire | May 20 2015
Steampunk

Steampunk is a natural fit for maker culture, so it's no surprise that Maker Faire includes a section devoted to these artists. Here's a look at some of their creations at the 2015 event in San Mateo, Calif.

Stephen Beale 3.0: My New Website

Web Design | Mar 23 2015

Welcome to version 3.0 of my website. As with previous versions, the main goal is to provide information about my work as a writer and editor. But rather than creating static pages as before, I built the new site in a content-management system, and it now functions as a blog.

Many posts will point to my articles and columns on other websites, but I also hope to produce original content, mostly about software tools for creative professionals.

The new site uses a responsive design, which means the layout automatically adapts to devices with different screen sizes. If you’re viewing the site on a Mac or PC, you can see this for yourself by narrowing the browser window...

What's New in Adobe Photoshop CC 2014

HOW Magazine | Oct 13 2014
Steampunk Camera

I thought the 2014 Creative Cloud release was a bit thin in terms of new features, but it did include some useful additions to Photoshop. The question of whether to upgrade is pretty much moot these days given the new subscription model. I offer my take in this online article for HOW.

Adobe Announces CC 2014

HOW Magazine | Jul 29 2014

A year after Adobe stirred controversy with its Creative Cloud subscription plan, the company released new versions of its software and made its first entry into the hardware business.

A Deeper Look at "Fake Reply" Emails

Bulldog Reporter | Jul 22 2014
Exam

I've written previously about "fake reply" emails, in which a PR person inserts "Re:" into the subject line as a ploy to get my attention. Usually, I just delete the messages or steer them to my "Bad PR" folder. But in a few cases, I complained to the senders about the practice. In this Daily Dog column, I revealed some of their responses.

An introduction to CSS Pixels

HOW Magazine | Jul 21 2014

People are accustomed to thinking of the "pixel" as the smallest unit on the screen. But in the age of the Retina display, that's not always the case. This article for HOW delves into the difference between hardware pixels and the CSS pixels specified in web designs.

Dentists, Balloons and Salad Dressing: Another Look at Niche Organizations

Bulldog Reporter | Jul 1 2014
Balloon

I began my career as the editor of Veterinary Computing, so I've long been fascinated by niche markets. I followed my piece about The Tube Council with this Daily Dog column about other business organizations that "toil unjustly in obscurity." Among them: The Association of Dressings & Sauces, The Balloon Council, and my all-time favorite, the United States Dental Golf Association.

A Lesson in Perspective from The Tube Council

Bulldog Reporter | Jun 24 2014
Tube

I've long been looking for an excuse to mention The Tube Council, a trade association for the collapsible squeeze tube industry. I finally found it when writing this Daily Dog column about PR people who overuse the "High Importance" flag in their emails. My point? Importance — or the lack thereof — is a matter of perspective.

"Tubes may not be important to most people, but if you work for a company that makes them, your livelihood depends on consumers buying products in tubes as opposed to jars or bottles. You read magazines about tubes. You go to meetings where people talk about the latest tube innovations. You enter your best work in the coveted 'Tubes of the Year Competition.' In short, if you're a member of The Tube Council, tubes are a Big Deal."

Highlights from Maker Faire

HOW Magazine | May 29 2014
Maker Faire robot

Billing itself as "a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness," Maker Faire is a showcase for ingenuity across a wide range of disciplines, including robotics, transportation and design. This article for HOW includes photos from the 2013 and 2014 events in San Mateo, Calif.

Top Content Management Systems for Designers

HOW Magazine | May 13 2014

A look at Wordpress, Drupal and a couple of hosted alternatives for designers seeking to build websites for clients.