Welcome

I am a writer and editor with diverse interests that include technology, graphic arts, digital media and steampunk. This website is a home for news and commentary about these topics, as well as visual journeys to places where creative people roam.

To keep up with news in the creative world, be sure to visit my Facebook page and subscribe to The Explorer, my free weekly e-newsletter.

 

A Visual Tour of Shape Tech Expo

Innovation | Jul 21 2016
Pepper

It's no CES, but the Shape Tech Expo was nearby in San Francisco and offered me a chance to get a close-up look at futuristic technologies. They were grouped into five broad categories: Internet of Things, Emerging Technologies (including robotics), Smart Cities, Virtual Reality and Wearables. For me, the big draws were virtual reality and robots. It's another story best told in pictures (and video).

The Explorer: A New Alternative to Software Subscriptions

The Explorer | Jul 19 2016
Lightning

In this week's installment: The latest releases of Xara's graphics programs combine a perpetual software license with an update service that delivers new features throughout the year. Plus: Life After Photoshop and Monotype offers fonts by subscription.

From the Kitschy to the Sublime: Hobby Collections at Alameda County Fair

Creative People | Jul 9 2016
Camera

A wise person once said, "If something exists, somebody somewhere collects them." Many of those somebodies live in Northern California's East Bay region, and their passions are on display each year in the hobby collections exhibit at the Alameda County Fair. Here's a look at the highlights, from pop culture memorabilia to vintage cameras and radios, plus some other attractions at the fair.

A "Magic Eyedropper" Tool for Fonts? I Don't Think So

Creative Tools | Jul 8 2016
Font Eyedropper

This past week, Wired, Mashable and other outlets told us about a miraculous gizmo that promises salvation for graphic designers. It's called Spector, and it's been described as "Shazam for Fonts" and "The Ultimate Font Finder." All this based on a prototype capable of recognizing seven typefaces. None of the reporters actually tested the gadget. Color me skeptical.

The Explorer: Don't Be Surprised If Adobe Releases a Font-Matching App

The Explorer | Jul 7 2016
Font App

In this week's installment of The Explorer: The latest version of Photoshop can identify fonts in images (well, sort of). Can a font-matching app be far behind? Plus: Are you tired of reinstalling plugins whenever there's a Photoshop update? Adobe has a solution. Also: New directions for Mac hardware and a popular drawing program comes to Windows.

My New Twitter Handle: @CreativeGuide

Social Media | Jul 4 2016
Steampunk Twitter

When I entered the Twitterverse several years ago, I figured my tweets would focus largely on my day job as editor of Bulldog Reporter's Inside Health Media. The obvious Twitter handles—"SteveBeale," "StephenBeale," etc.—were taken, so I chose @SteveBealeIHM. Most of the people I followed were health journalists, and many of the folks who followed me had some involvement in health media, either as journalists or as public relations professionals. But over time, most of my tweeting has been related to my work in the creative sphere: My posts on this website, my articles for HOW, etc. So now I have a new Twitter handle: @CreativeGuide.

The Explorer: Photoshop Leads New Creative Cloud Release

The Explorer | Jun 28 2016
Steampunk Camera

Adobe has released a major update to Photoshop, including new typographic features, enhanced masking capabilities and a content-aware crop tool. Adobe Illustrator gets a smaller update that includes a nifty new export function. Read all about it in this week's installment of The Explorer...

Adobe's "10 Free Images" Promotion: What You Need to Know

Creative Tools | Jun 25 2016
Steampunk Letter A

Adobe has been enticing users to try its new content service by offering 10 free images, but the deal was confusing and was more akin to a rebate than an actual giveaway. After months of complaints from customers, the company has quietly changed the terms of the deal, just in time for a major Photoshop release. I had my own concerns, but now I'm on board. Here's the lowdown on the deal and the new features in Adobe Stock...

Introducing The Explorer, New Column and Publication for Creatives

The Explorer | Jun 17 2016
Clockwork Apple

This is the first installment of a column offering a quick read on news and other happenings in the creative and technology worlds. It will soon be a newsletter, delivered for free to your inbox. This week: A recap of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, Microsoft acquires LinkedIn (and Lynda.com), plus a new look for Google Fonts…

A Visual Tour of Clockwork Alchemy

Steampunk | Jun 9 2016
Clockwork Alchemy Thumbnail

I've long been a fan of steampunk, but Clockwork Alchemy in San Jose was my first steampunk convention. A couple things I learned: Many steampunks are highly creative, and they know how to pose for the camera. Here's a visual tour...