iBooks Author Full Screen Background Now Black: How’d We Do That?

iBooks Author Full Screen Background Now Black: How’d We Do That? 

As we noted before, Apple defaulted the background screen in iBooks Author to display photos on a WHITE background when an image is displayed full-screen. One of our clients didn’t like that and said it washed out the image. He was right.  In Gallery in iBooks Author, full-screen display changes the background to BLACK and images punch out much better. (Look at the last two images in this post. You’ll see what we mean.)

The problem is, by Apple’s design, there’s no way to change the background from white to black or any other color.  Apple has decided they shall remain on a white bg.

So how did we get around this?


iBooks Author's Inspector Window Featuring Gallery

iBooks Author’s Inspector Window Featuring Gallery

In the Inspection window, the last tab to the right has a Layout/Interaction menu for working with photos.  Even if you just want to display one picture, we recommend you drop the GALLERY widget onto a page, and then load in the one image. (Of course, images should be .pngs, no larger than 2048 x 1536, and have a dpi of 132).  This is an important step. You cannot just change an Image over to the Photo designation we’re going to describe for this to work!

STEP 2:  To create a new option under the drop down menu, highlight Gallery and hold it.  You will see the “Edit Label Styles … ” dialogue area at the bottom of the menu open.  Click on it.

Hold down Gallery for this new menu to open.

Hold down Gallery for this new menu to open.

STEP 3: A new dialogue box will open allowing you to either add (+) or delete options(-).  Press + and name your new setting.  We chose PHOTO since Image is already in use and we didn’t want to create confusion.

STEP 4: Go to the Inspector window after highlighting the Gallery listing for the image and change it from Gallery to Photo (or whatever designation you created.) Then add whatever titling and caption options that are necessary for the style of your project.

That’s really all you have to do.  You’ve now created a Gallery widget and changed it’s designation, but it’s still technically a Gallery widget. You’re just going to display one photo in it.



What’s the difference?

Here’s the image saved as a straight up Image file in iBooks Author when the image is increased to full-screen:

A full-screen image in iBooks Author displays on an annoying white background.

A full-screen image in iBooks Author displays on an annoying white background.


This is what happens once you follow the steps outlined above–loading an image in a Gallery and then changing it’s designation to Photo or the name of your choosing.

A Gallery Widget in iBook Author Renamed To Photo to Display on a Black Background.

A Gallery Widget in iBook Author Renamed To Photo to Display on a Black Background.


One Small Problem: The only problem with this solution is the fact that Gallery photos are formatted in a 2:3 proportion and there’s no changing that. This will only work if you don’t care if you can’t show the entire image in the window, meaning it will have to be popped open to display in full.  So, while it is a solution, it doesn’t match the power of displaying and entire image as you can with just Image.

Obviously, it’d be easier to fix this if Apple provided a setting for it, but they don’t and from conversations with them, it doesn’t sound like it’s going to happen anytime soon.  So here’s the workaround and thanks, Apple.

Once you create the Photo designation, it’s just a matter then of remembering to load all images as Galleries and then just not adding more than one photo to them if you’re going to display one pic.  If you’re going to do a Gallery as it was intended, you just leave the Gallery named Gallery and keep on going.  If you want to display the thumbnails, that’s easy.  Just check the box and they’ll pop up.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The page displayed is an example of one of the photos to be included in our ongoing Bach project.  Exciting news to follow soon!  



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External Hard Drive (error code -50)

External Hard Drive (error code -50)

External Hard Drive (error code -50) can be generated because you have turned this off....

External Hard Drive (error code -50) can be generated because you have turned this off….

I have two G-Drives I used for video editing. One is a 2 TB drive and the other is a 4 TB drive. Both are critical to the work done here at Claxton Creative and both lately have generated error code -50 messages.

When it happened on the 2 TB a few weeks ago, I ran Disk Utilities on my 27-inch iMac and ultimately reformatted the disk after moving all of it’s contents over to my new 4 TB drive. I bought the 2 TB unit about a year ago.  The 4 TB a month ago.

Today I began doing some video editing for a client and tried to save the project to the 4 TB.  It wouldn’t work.

Naturally, I began to get anxious.  How in the world?!?!?

So after searching the forums and boards for about 20 minutes I just called Apple Care.

One of the first things we did was go to Energy Settings under the Apple and Preferences and turned the settings for putting hard disks to sleep back on. I had previously turned this off cos it’s frustrating to wait some times for the disks to fire back up when I’ve been working a while and all of the sudden need to save.

EMPHASIS ADDED: It appears that while I had instructed my iMac to not allow the external drive to shut down, it was doing so by design regardless, and that is what was casing the conflict.

Well, we did that, then rebooted the computer and all of a sudden, I was able to save to the 4 TB again.

Before calling Apple Care, I had run Disk Utility on the 4 TB and it was fine.

I got kicked up to a second-level support member and talked through a few other things, but ultimately, it appears things are working again.



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Apple please fix iBooks Author full screen image background settings

Apple please fix iBooks Author full screen image background settings

 iBooks Author full-screen image white BG

Per Apple, at present, one can’t change the white background that displays on a full-screen png in iBooks Author.

Our Bach book client we are working with in iBooks Author has a legitimate beef with Apple and in our research, we can’t find a workable solution.

If one sets a photo to open full-screen in a book for iPad made with iBooks Author 2.0 the image presents on a screen with a white background.

If you set two photos, .PNGs, in a gallery and then open them full-screen, they present on a screen with a black background.

In the design of a book for iPad, not every book needs to go into a gallery, but in our book on Bach, which is going to be one of the most in depth pieces of work on J.S. Bach, it’s annoying to see the images against the white when they would clearly stand out better against the black.

I thought about putting all images on a screen that’s 2048 x 1536 and on a black BG and then using the Alpha to remove the black in the initial image, but that takes away the black in full-screen as well.  Not a solution.

The only other option would be to put every photo into a “gallery” setting and just not add the thumbnails on images that are not multiple .PNGs, but that seems like it’d get wonky and it’d seem that a gallery, by definition, would consist of two or more images.

In iBooks Author gallery images display with a black background on full-screen, but even this setting can't be changed.

In iBooks Author gallery images display with a black background on full-screen, but even this setting can’t be changed.

Apple, Please Fix This

A search of the message boards and a call to Apple Support has revealed that indeed, at this writing on July 24, 2013, there is no way to change a setting in the Inspector panel to remedy this.

Audio Page Specific

The other major complaint we are having as we build this vast work of Bach is that a reader can’t tap on the MP4 files we’re embedding and turn the page.  Audio and video files are page specific, so a reader listening to the music and reading can only read the page they’re on and hear what they’re wanting to listen to….


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YouSendIt Changing Name To Hightail = Dumb

YouSendIt Changing Name To Hightail = Dumb

Somebody sold YouSendIt! a bill of goods. They're doing a name change from one that says what they do to one that commenters on their site are railing about. Why do this?  Why?

Somebody sold YouSendIt! a bill of goods. They’re doing a name change from one that says what they do to one that commenters on their site are railing about. Why do this? Why?

It’s hard to build a brand. Harder to have a name that says what you do. YouSendIt! had one. Now they don’t. They rolled out this week they’re changing their name to “Hightail.”

Now YouSendIt/Hightail execs, kinda hightail your eyes to this post and STOP what you are doing.

In a digital world where it’s been weird trying to understand what silly words like Google, Twitter, Yelp, and a bunch of other non-descriptive names mean, why on earth would you leave behind a name that says what you do?

If you want to improve what you do, make the amount of data one can send in a transfer bigger.

Find a way to compress data on the sender’s end so that it can transfer faster and come out on the other end like it was before sending.

But don’t take a perfectly good name and change it to one that has no meaning, connotations, and confusion.


You can watch their video. The next one from them will be how they Netflixed and decided what they did wasn’t a good idea…..

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Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg Post Wasn’t Meant To Be News….

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg post about not being on the San Francisco plane that crashed wasn’t meant to be news.

In all this, that’s really the news here.

But the media made it news because of her celebrity and in turn made her an unintended target for those thinking she was doing something uncouth.

Mashable's story on Sheryl Sandberg

Wall Updates In Emergencies

How many times has something nearly happened to you and you made a post on your Wall on Facebook that said, “Whew, that was close? I almost got _______”

The same thing apparently happened today when Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg posted on her FB wall that she and her family were supposedly previously booked to be on the plane that has crashed in San Francisco.

But when she posted it, a media outlet, and now even Mashable, have picked up on the fact and it’s raised a huge stink in social media this afternoon.

Twitter has been ripe with people attacking her and mocking her for being so uncaring. “And” and “Why is this news” seem to be filling up the spaces on social media.

But indeed, what she did wasn’t much unlike what you or I would have done had we almost been in an accident headed to the grocery and some moron ran a red light and almost collided with us and hit another car instead. From all accounts, it wasn’t as if Ms. Sandberg had said, “glad I wasn’t in the car that got creamed” she was merely making a post, knowing there likely were friends and family who check her page and said, “we weren’t on the plane, we’re all safe.”

Ever have an aunt or uncle send you a text, call or post something on Facebook during a tornado outbreak or huge snow storm or hurricane?

Question: “Donny, are you guys okay?”

Reply: “Yes, the storm was 20 miles away on the other side of DFW….”

Same thing here. There are some Facebook and Twitter users mad at what’s happened with Ms. Sandberg. Next, PLEASE.

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Premiere Pro CC Multi-Cam Monitor

Premiere Pro CC Multi-Cam Monitor

Premiere Pro CC Multi-Cam Monitor has been moved from WINDOW to Project Monitor.

Premiere Pro CC Multi-Cam Monitor has been moved from WINDOW to Project Monitor.

For those of you who might have switched over to Premiere Pro CC and be thinking you’re crazy when trying to switch over to Multi-Camera Monitor and it’s not there under window, well, it’s been moved. You have to go to the top right corner of the Project Monitor and click the drop down and then switch over. And it’s working funky at that. Doing a ` to get the MC Monitor to go full screen still leaves one of the cam views half cut off. It’s late, I know, so maybe I’m missing the obvious, but alas, this is a big change from CS6.


When God Redefines The Possible Book for iPad on iBookstore

When God Redefines The Possible Book for iPad on iBookstore


 ‘When God Redefines The Possible’ Now Available AT WGRTP.com

MONTGOMERY, AL—Former Senior Minister of Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, John Ed Mathison, is making history again. This time, he’s teamed up with a former Alabama governor’s press secretary to release an innovative, interactive book exclusively for the iPad that will change how people around the world follow a daily devotional or use social media to hold “Sunday School classes worldwide.”

When God Redefines The Possible

When God Redefines The Possible, John Ed Mathison’s book for iPad.

Mathison recently released When God Redefines The Possible on Apple’s iBookstore, a title he published in paperback in November. The new work, complete with 22 videos, interactive puzzles, quizzes and Bible references can be used on the more than 100 million iPad and iPad mini devices in use around the world.

The book can be downloaded from the iBookstore by visiting WGRTP.com.

Production began in January with Claxton Creative, LLC of Dallas, led by Donald J. Claxton, former the former press secretary of Gov. Fob James and assistant press secretary to former Gov. Guy Hunt.

“We have taken a book printed in black and white and brought it to life with short video clips in multiple chapters that are designed to help readers prepare their minds for the text that follows by asking some important questions or giving some insight about what they’re about to read,” Mathison said. “With the rapid adoption of iPads in schools all across Montgomery and around the world, this is the new type of curriculum tool that readers young and old are finding more and more engaging and enriching in their study.

“It only makes sense to apply this same technology to something like a daily devotional where people can use these technological advances to draw closer to God and use social media to draw closer to other believers and non-believers around the world,” Mathison said.

Mathison’s book, which is 109-pages in print, expanded to 192 pages on the iPad and contains more than 50 chapters of colorful and important ministry lessons and encourages readers to see that God is still doing miracles, even in today’s turbulent times.

The videos, produced by another former aide to Gov. Hunt, Stacey Rimer Stakely, and shot at Frazer by Matthew Gamble, feature Mathison talking about healthy eating, God doing things in people’s lives they could not have anticipated, and even references to his late father, Si Mathison.

“John Ed Mathison has been a leader in ministry for almost 50 years and the exciting thing about this book for iPad is that it proves he’s still a leader in ministry even though he’s been retired from Frazer for a couple of years now,” Claxton said. “We have worked with him to produce a new tool that uses the latest in technology to help spread the word of God. That, in and of itself, is an example of God redefining the possible, as the technology for this didn’t even exist 17 months ago.”

Claxton said versions for readers using Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Nook are near completion as well.

“John Ed’s use of digital books will make his work available to anyone in the world with a computer, tablet or smartphone,” Claxton said.

John Ed, who served 36 years as Senior Minister of Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, said he is excited to begin this new phase of his ministry.

“I have said before that ‘it is easy to have a Gutenberg mentality when we live in a Google reality.’ and taking converting my writings and teachings into a digital format so that people around the world can share and interact with each other through the social media tools and interactivity functions within the book is an example of where ministry must grow in order to reach those needing and yearning to hear the word of God,” Mathison said. “I’m excited for the potentials this brings for ministry. God really has redefined the possible.”

Claxton is no stranger to innovation and change. He was dubbed as the “foremost student iconoclast” in Dr. John Fair’s 1990 book about Auburn University at Montgomery’s first 20 years. In July 1994, he made candidate Fob James the first statewide candidate in Alabama to have a published email address. In March of 1995, he began writing the original pages for the state of Alabama’s website, which was launched and featured as the lead story in the Montgomery Advertiser in August 1995.  In 2001 he became the communications director for the Dallas Independent School District, then the 12th largest school district in the nation and helped pass the largest education bond program in Texas history—a $1.37 billion program. In 2012, his company began producing books for the iPad, including Dr. Mark Van Stone’s interactive text 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya and There’s A Zombie In My Treehouse by Ken Plume, John Robinson and Len Peralta of Atlanta. The company also has begun production on a book for Learning Forward, one of the largest professional development organizations in the world for schoolteachers.

Claxton Creative, LLC

Claxton Creative is a Dallas-based full-service public relations firm focused on the development of interactive, multi-touch publications for mobile devices worldwide.

John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

The John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries was formed in 2008, as John Ed reached the mandatory retirement age of the United Methodist Church. The ministry is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. The mission of the ministry is to bring honor and glory to the Kingdom of God by training leaders for Kingdom work. John Ed actively speaks to churches, conferences and leadership training programs on a local, national and global scale. More information is available at www.JohnEdMathison.org.



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The Essence of File Management In A Terabyte World

The Essence of File Management In A Terabyte World

In a few years, I’m sure people will look back on this 2013 post and laugh–I’m struggling with file maintenance on my Mac and running out of Gigabytes and now even Terabytes. Where do we go from here? Petabytes.

The ever complex problem of file management in a digital world. From kilobyte, to megabyte, to gigabyte, to terabyte and soon, the petabyte.

The ever complex problem of file management in a digital world. From kilobyte, to megabyte, to gigabyte, to terabyte and soon, the petabyte.

While this may seem like a fairly trivial First World issue, it’s a rapidly expanding problem that computer manufacturing companies don’t seem to be addressing fast enough. Yes, Apple’s iMacs now come with a 1 TB drive, but as I’ve found in the world of HD video editing, a terabyte doesn’t last very long.  And a gigabyte? Yeah, well there are 1,000 gigabytes in a terabyte…

For those of you who don’t understand what I’m talking about, there’s a progression in the size of hard drives. Back in the late 80s, when Macs were first getting going, I remember floppy disks that had 512 kilobytes on them. That was considered a lot.  Then we progressed to megabytes. As Moore’s law was proven more and more correct and the need for more and more storage came about came the gigabyte in the late 2000s. As we’ve escalated the need to store data up to 2013 with the proliferation of HD video, expanding iTunes libraries and storage of photos in things like iPhoto and Aperture libraries, demand for space continues to grow and at a rapid rate. The thing to have now is at least a terabyte of storage.

But most computers these days aren’t coming with hard drives that have anything more than a terabyte. This MacBook Pro, bought in March of 2012, had 750 GBs on it. I’m down to about 284 GBs left and that’s freaking me out because that means I’ve used almost 500 GBs and eventually, I’m going to run out. I’ve only had this machine for 15 months!

The solution then comes with external hard drives and the Cloud.  I’ve been a user of Dropbox for some time, but when I store something in Dropbox, it also lives in the hard drive of my Mac, so if I took the 60.6 percent of the 222 GBs I have over there off my Mac, I’m only going to get back about 100 GBs. My iTunes library now is about 300 GBs. My primary Aperture photo library is almost 700 GBs.

I have two external hard drives I use regularly on my Mac now. One stores the Aperture library, the other iTunes.  I have desktop hard drives that store video, do Time Machine back ups and then a smaller drive I use for archiving.

And while the day after I just bought that new 2 TB external drive to attach to this Mac, I have only about 3.5 TBs of available space right now before I need to buy another external unit.  As funny as it may sound, that makes me squirm because I know it’s not going to last long.  Combined, I have enough storage space for about 7.75 GBs. That means I’ve used about 60 percent of available space.

Yesterday, a fellow dad blogger recommended a new Cloud storage site called Bitcasa. For either $10 a month or $99 per year, they’re offering unlimited lifetime storage space. What I am not sure about yet is if I have things here on my laptop like I do with Dropbox, am I going to be taking up disc space in both places? Meaning, if I loaded 100 GBs of space to Bitcasa and I can see access to it on my Mac, am I going to be down another 100 GBs here on the Mac, too.  And that’s where my problem lies. If I could put all 4.5 GBs of stuff I have out on Bitcasa and it not try to replicate or drain space here on the Mac, that’d be swell.

Otherwise, it’ll be time to get something more than a 2 TB hard drive before too much longer.

Next, the Petabyte — or 1,000 Terabytes. Somehow, I don’t think it’s going to take very long to get there…..


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The LaCie Thunderbolt 2 TB External Hard Drive Doesn’t Exist

The LaCie Thunderbolt 2 TB External Hard Drive Doesn’t Exist

It’s frustrating to go into one of the the five Apple Stores here in DFW and be told, “Sir, I’m sorry, you’re just ahead of our time.”

Today I wanted to finally make the leap from my Western Digital 1 TB external hard drive for my 750 GB 2012 17 inch MacBook Pro to the LaCie Thunderbolt enabled 2 TB rugged hard drive. There’s only one problem. LaCie doesn’t make a 2 TB external hard drive.

Lacie Rugged 1 TB external hard drive

Lacie Rugged 1 TB external hard drive. There needs to be at least a 2 TB or 3 TB model. Seriously.

My Situation

At present, I have a 1 TB WD external hard drive on the back of my Mac. I have the $45 hard plastic shell to protect the veneer of the Mac and instead of moving about as I do constantly with my MBP, I have my WD affixed to the back of my monitor top with Velcro. When I move about, I only have to unplug the USB 3.0 cable from the WD and from my USB port and slide my Mac into my travel bag. It works sweetly and any time I’ve had to go into a Genius Bar I always get “why didn’t I think of that?!?” smiles. Yeah, they know they’re dealing with a serious user.

So on my present 1 TB WD, I have my primary Aperture 3.0 library that’s now 698 GBs strong, AND, I have my iTunes Media Folder which is 295 GBs strong. That’s 990 GBs of just those two items and I’ve been trying to open Aperture and it’s wanting to do an update to my photo database but it’s saying I need 6.1 GBs to do that, and I only have 3.8 GBs left on the drive. So getting another 1 TB external hard drive wasn’t the answer, plus, I wanted to move to the new and supposedly faster Thunderbolt connector so I wouldn’t be taking up two of my three USB ports on the Mac.  So now you see the problem….

Which gets me back to Aldo today at the Henderson/Knox Apple Store in Dallas.

Aldo first told me I could get a USB to Thunderbolt adapter. Me: “Would it run at Thunderbolt speed?” quizzically and pretty much knowing the answer was NO! Aldo: “No.”  That doesn’t help.

He then wanted to show me the G series desktop drives. “Aldo, I’m mobile. No power cords.”

Velcro on External Hard Drives

Velcro on External Hard Drives means no inadvertent disconnections from the Mac and less to reconnect between moves.

I was insisting that at Northpark I’d seen a 2 TB LaCie hard drive. So we went to their site and well, there isn’t one.  I was thinking the 1 TB rugged unit which sells for $229 was the 2 TB version.  No, it’s still just the 1 TB.

As an aside here, my video wonk, Jamaal Jackson keeps telling me that even with the “faster speeds” mentioned for Thunderbolt, the writing speed of a Mac is still only 720 something something so he keeps telling me there’s even a misnomer in the whole Thunderbolt concept.

So reps at Lacie, I hope you’re reading this, but I NEED AT LEAST A 2 TB external hard drive and I’d like to use one you make with a Thunderbolt connection. The question I have is, is Lacie even going to make one?

Best Buy

I started off my morning at Best Buy because I figured if LaCie made the 2 TB unit I was sure I’d seen, maybe they’d have it and I wouldn’t need to drive into Dallas from Mesquite. I saw they had a WD 2 TB for $149. But see above. I didn’t want another external unit with a USB 3.0 connector.

Okay, Back to Aldo

Aldo let me think about it and I came back to the only conclusion I could make. WD won out today over LaCie because they had a 2 TB unit.  I told Aldo buying another 1 TB unit would be like buying a floppy disk at this point. That’s when he said, “You’re a head of the times, sir.” Yes, I do tend to be living there, but this seems like it would be a foregone conclusion. Or is it?

I could not help but notice at Best Buy this morning the usual wide array of external hard drives seemed thin.  What I’m wondering was if that’s because internal drives are getting bigger, 750 GBs seems standard for MBPs nowadays, or are they making space for the Thunderbolts to come in and selling out of the USB 3.0 units? Is Thunderbolt not catching on as Apple had hoped? Hmmm.

WD 2 TB USB 3.0 transfer

WD 2 TB USB 3.0 transfer now says it’s going to take 7 days to switch out 698 GBs. That’s not acceptable.

I don’t know the answer to this yet.  But I do know that if someone at Lacie would let me use a 2 TB or even 3 TB external hard drive for mobile use, I’d love to do so and even blog about how much faster it is than the USB 3.0.

Anything would be good at this point considering we’ve gone from 11 hours to at present it saying it’s going to take seven days to transfer over my Aperture library to the new WD 2 TB drive and let’s just be frank about this, that’s totally unacceptable.

And hey, Western Digital reps, if you’re reading this and you’ve got game with a 2 TB or 3 TB unit that has Thunderbolt, I’d love to hear from you, too. Your units have worked well for me for 5.5 years now and I have no reason to switch.  And today, couldn’t……


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