Press Club of Dallas Book For iPad–Making the $$ Work

Mar 2, 2013 by

Press Club of Dallas Book For iPad–Making the $$ Work

press club dcAttached is the link to my book for iPad, which was my presentation to the Press Club of Dallas on March 2, 2013.  Feel free to download the book. Once it’s on your desktop, drop it into iTunes and then sync your iPad.  The file is about 130 MBs so it will take a few minutes to download.  To use on your iPad, you will need at least iOS 5.1 and iBooks 2.


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Congratulations Apple on iTunes U 1 billion downloads

Feb 28, 2013 by

Congratulations Apple on iTunes U 1 billion downloads!iTunesU

At Claxton Creative, we’ve been working to generate content for iTunes U for our clients and studying ways to enhance this ever-expanding form of e-Learning.

Classes on iTunes U are free. That drives some learned professors mad as they don’t understand the revenue model shift. Usually, people pay the school for a seat in a class and class numbers are limited and then there is the sale of recommended books and all.

With iTunes U, that model is changing and let’s just be fair to say there are some in academia who have resisted the shift to this revenue model. That’s probably putting it mildly.

How does a professor make money doing an iTunes U course?  They have an interactive book, preferably one we’ve helped them make for iPad and they use it as the resource for the class. To take the class, a student needs the book for iPad, which can be bought seamlessly through the Apple iBookstore. The more people who take the class, the more who need the book for iPad. Simple formula.  No standing in long lines to register for a class. No meeting with your counselor.  Easy.

It’s also this form of delivery that’s changing the overall method of teaching, and we’ve talked about that before much here on For teachers who do not yet understand, the traditional stand and deliver model of teaching is fast becoming a thing of the past. Self-paced learning, user-centered-learning, are new terms that are catching on in use and meaning.

At Claxton Creative, we are a part of this move to change the educational system for the better and for the future. This is the learning of tomorrow already happening today.

Are you a professor with a tome you need converted to a book for iPad, complete with video, interactive maps, charts and graphs? What if you could have your students using your book and not being able to advance to the next chapter sequence until they have demonstrated mastery?  Yeah, that’s what we can help you make a reality.  And who benefits from that? Your students, and ultimately, your wallet.

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Life Is Good When You’re The WOW! At An Apple Genius Bar

Feb 5, 2013 by

Life Is Good When You’re The WOW! At An Apple Genius Bar CC Yellow Books Circle 60 by 60 TR 1

Since I bought my first MacBook Pro on Oct. 11, 2007, I’ve had my share of opportunities to visit the Apple Genius Bar at Northpark Mall. If you don’t know, it’s one of the smallest stores in the Apple Store inventory, but also one of the busiest.  This is where I took my One-To-One training with Adopho Cantu and learned so much more than I could ever have hoped for. Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 12.13.17 PM

Today I was in attempting to do a restore of my email lost last Tuesday after applying a Rule to Mail because a spammer had sent an email from the address < @>.  We were trying to use Time Machine to restore Mail to where it was before that fated rule change. (We didn’t get it to work either.)

But as we were going through the process–I’ve also spent about an hour on the phone with Apple Care–the Genuis started asking about what I do and then I got to whip out the iPad and show her Dr. Mark Van Stone’s 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya, Ken Plume, John Robinson and Len Peralta’s There’s A Zombie In My Treehouse, and lastly, Dr. John Ed Mathison’s When God Redefines the Possible, a work in progress.

When the Genius started manipulating the 3D image of the Rio Azul mask that’s in the book, her response was Apple Genius Cool–“SHUT UP!”  (I wasn’t saying anything.)

Before I knew it, I had three other geniuses looking at the books and doing the same thing.  Genius One kept saying, “I am showing off my customer!”

Now like I’ve said, I’ve had my share of Genius Bar visits, but this was the first time I wasn’t the one in awe of what was going on.  It was the Geniuses.

We talked about how one before in Northpark I’d showed the books to a sales rep who told me, “It’s so cool for us to see things like this, because we send stuff out of here in boxes all day long, the tools you need to do cool stuff.  It’s fascinating for us to see how it’s actually being used.”

And so this is another tribute and thank you to the Genius, sales and One-to-One training staff of the Apple Store at Northpark Mall in Dallas, Texas.  Without my One-to-One training from Adolpho, who is no longer there, there’s no telling how far behind I still would be. And what a great memory to have–SHUT UP!


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Can You Use Hype To Create A Parallax Animation For An iBook Widget?

Jan 28, 2013 by

Can You Use Hype To Create A Parallax Animation For An iBook Widget? CC Yellow Books Circle 60 by 60 TR 1

For more than a year now I’ve been working on a sister project– and trying to help share some fascinating discoveries I’ve noticed in the study of amazing places around the world.

And to begin telling that story in digital book form, and also online, I’ve been in the process of building various forms of art in Photoshop and Illustrator and trying to decide whether files should be straight vector files–(I’d love to be able to do .SVG but iPad won’t support it) or go for Photoshop creations rendered out as .PNGs.

Clearly I want to be able to tell the story of multiple sites around the globe and use the continuous scrolling effect to help share the findings.  Ultimately, this will require creating some sort of parallax-looking animation that makes it look like the world is turning, day is going from day to night, and cool places are popping up into view as the world turns, along with some sort of geometric lines, trig formulas of sine and cosines, and probably a kitchen sink, too. while I’m at it.

That led me to really look at two creative tool options tonight.  After Effects or Tumult’s Hype, now available as version 1.6.0.

Can You Use Hype To Create A Parallax Animation For An iBook Widget?

The answer to me right now is–I don’t know.

What I did tonight was create a Hype file with the dimensions of 2048 px by 1536, the size of an iPad 3 screen/retina screen. Just trying to see the whole screen on a 17-inch MacBook Pro, early 2012, requires me to shrink the View down to 50 percent and to shove my timeline as far to the bottom of the screen as I can stand.  (That’s not a complaint, it’s just the way it is.)

Just for starters tonight, I went ahead and in Photoshop created a round ball designed to rotate from the center point at the bottom of the animation.  I didn’t do the math, but through a process of lines from each respective corner, then a line down the middle and then a line from the bottom center line to the top left and right corners got me a measurement of about 1555 px.  I set the ellipse tool to form a perfect circle by holding down the shift key when I created a round “globe” in a file that was 3710 px by 3710 px. This way, as the globe rotates in Hype from the center spot at the bottom, there will never be a point where the viewer won’t see either blue for the atmosphere during the day, and black for simulated night time. Mind you, I’m not worrying about anything fancy line stars and the moon right now.  I just want to get the global atmosphere spinning. (Later will come additional layers of stuff.)

Trying to create a rotating "Atmosphere" using Tumult's Hype.

Trying to create a rotating “Atmosphere” using Tumult’s Hype.

With a two-layered .PNG the file for just the atmosphere right now is 39 MBs.  HUGE!

And needless to say, when I put it in the timeline of Hype and then set it to turn 180 degrees in 20 seconds, it really made the MBP, with 8 GBs of RAM, start to creep.  At one point, I could see block pixels where there are none, as the earth’s atmosphere turned from day to night.  Not good.

So at 11:30 p.m. on a Monday night, I’m calling it a day to rethink this as I sleep.  I’m beginning to wonder if Adobe’s After Effects isn’t going to be the better place to do this, but then it is destined to become a .mov and not an interactive HTML5 widget.  So I ponder.

Anyone else done this?  Anyone?  Bueller?

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Digital Book Publisher Begins iPad Project With John Ed Mathison Ministry

Jan 24, 2013 by


Former Alabama Governor’s Press Secretary Teaming Up With Storied Frazer UMC Minister To Bring ‘When God Redefines The Possible’ Book To Life

CC Yellow Books Circle 60 by 60 TR 1MONTGOMERY, AL—Claxton Creative, LLC of Dallas, led by former the former press secretary of two former Alabama governors, Thursday announced it has begun producing digital book formats of Montgomery’s John Ed Mathison’s recently published print work, When God Redefines The Possible.

Mathison’s book, which is 109-pages in print, 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.

When God Redefines Possible by John Ed Mathison.

When God Redefines Possible by John Ed Mathison.

The digital format for iPad will include a series of videos, interactive photos and illustrations, end of chapter quizzes, puzzles, Internet social media components and other ways to help broaden the reach of one of the Southeast’s most recognized United Methodist Church leaders.

Versions also will be produced for readers using Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Nook, as well as the Samsung Galaxy and Microsoft Surface.

“John Ed Mathison has been a recognized leader in ministry for nearly a half century and even today, he is on the cutting edge of using technology to help spread the word of God,” said Donald Claxton, owner of Claxton Creative in Dallas. “The use of digital books will make his work available to anyone in the world with a computer, tablet or smartphone. Now that’s really an example of God redefining possible.”

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 this next step, to convert 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 is redefining the possible.”

Claxton said his firm, based in Dallas, is working to schedule a video production schedule with Mathison and to begin the digital design process for the book.  Release of the book is slated for March 2013.

Claxton is the former assistant press secretary to the late Alabama Gov. Guy Hunt and former press secretary for Gov. Fob James. He moved from Montgomery in 2001 to become the communications director for the Dallas Independent School District, then the 12th largest school district in the nation. 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.

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. The company was founded by former Dallas ISD communications director, Donald J. Claxton and is supported with the assistance of Fort Worth Author Ron Rose, Dallas author Will Manning, Birmingham, AL editor Larisa Lovelady, Ally Stephenson of Huntsville, AL, and others.

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


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What Apple Didn’t Say About Changes From iBooks Author Version 1 Series

Dec 5, 2012 by

What Apple Didn’t Tell Us About Changes From iBooks Author Version 1 Series

We published our book for iPad 21012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya by Dr. Mark Van Stone on Aug. 23, 2012 using the 1.0 version series of iBooks Author. The book cleared through Apple’s approval process in a day or two and was up on the iBookstore without us even realizing it.

The book has been selling well; not as well as we hoped, but it’s been selling. As we get closer to Dec. 21, 2012, interest has been picking up and we’ did a TV interview here in Dallas Tuesday that’s slated to run soon.

But there’s been a problem we didn’t know about until after the October 23, 2012 update to iOS 6, iBooks 3, iBooks Author 2.0 and iTunes Producer 2.8. At least three customers have bought our book and reported not being able to actually open it once it’s on their iPad. While that number is small, in our opinion, that’s three too many.

What is more troubling is that we received no notification from Apple, iTunes Support, iBookstore Support, meaning the problem could have been with the individual users. We just don’t know. When we asked iTunes Store Support why they gave refunds instead of letting us know about the problem, their answer was that they simply don’t discuss why they issue refunds.  Not helpful.

Trying To Get To The Problems Caused By iBooks Author 2.0

So as we publish this piece, all we know is that three customers said once they downloaded version 1.0 of our book for iPad, they couldn’t open it. The bar across the icon of the book was black, which tends to indicate there’s a problem.

When we opened our .iba file made from the version 1.0 series (It was last opened on Aug. 23, 2012)  in version 2.0 on Nov. 24, 2012, we immediately got a flag warning from the software saying that the image on page 156 was too large. Thumbing through the book also showed that iBooks Author 2.0 had messed up multiple widgets we’d laid out perfectly in version 1.0.  They were compressed into a tiny size and were sitting at the left sides of pages. Several of them we’d laid out to encompass an entire page. Version 2.0 messed all that up and required us to repaginate several places in the book.

The first flagged warning is pictured below:

Warning Screen in iBooks Author 2.0

Warning Screen in iBooks Author 2.0

It never occurred to us that we might need to open up an old version of the book made with an earlier version of the software to ensure that the new version didn’t mess it up. That’s not how software updates are supposed to work! And certainly, one wouldn’t expect that something that had passed muster in an earlier version suddenly was being flagged as a problem. But that’s what happened.

So up popped that first screen warning asking if we wanted to see the problems it’d found.

So, I clicked yes and got this next screen:

Issues with Photo on Page 156

Issues with Photo on Page 156. This dialogue box appeared and said an image that worked fine up until Oct. 23, 2012, was no longer any good in our book for iPad.

To fix the photo problem meant taking the original, running it through Photoshop, shrinking it, and then reloading the page. Nothing difficult there, but if there is anything causing a problem with people downloading the book and it opening now in iOS 6, it’d seem this was it.

But wait. Version 2.0 caused even more disruptions inside the original product.

Widgets All Messed Up

Things got even wonkier after that. There were multiple widgets in the book that got totally screwed up by iBooks Author version 2.0. As you can see, some of them got zapped in size and then moved to the top left portion of a page, completely affecting the pagination within a chapter.

Widgets From iBooks Author 1.0 Are All Messed Up In Version 2.0

Widgets From iBooks Author 1.0 Are All Messed Up In Version 2.0


To fix everything back required going through all 179 pages of the book and ensuring that the pagination wasn’t messed up.

There were numerous cases where it was.

Pagination From iBooks Author Version 1.0 All Messed Up in Version 2.0

Pagination From iBooks Author Version 1.0 All Messed Up in Version 2.0

Last Saturday night a week ago, we tried to save these changes so that we could quickly upload the book back to the Apple servers and have the issue resolved.

Then came about the whole issue of the destination drive was full that was written about last week.

Software Updates On Our Mac

It is important to note here that we keep our MacBook Pro’s software up-t0-date. We updated to Mountain Lion the day it came out. We updated iBooks Author as soon as Apple released it on Oct. 23, 2012.  We updated to iBooks 3 on an iPad 3 on Oct. 23. We updated to iTunes Producer, which is used to send books for iPad to Apple’s servers as soon as we saw it was available. So you can imagine how we felt when we started getting responses from the truly good people we’ve been working with for three months off and on now at iBookstore Support suggesting that our uploading problems might be coming because we HAD NOT updated the software. No, our problems were happening because we HAD.

iBookstore Support

So after the problem with the destination drive, we reported the problem to the iBookstore Support team.

We kept also trying to get our book to upload once we got past the destination drive issue.  And we soon had more problems, which will be discussed in the next post.

For now, the book has been uploaded to Apple and it has been approved. But to say this hasn’t been quite upsetting and frustrating would be a great untruth.

Suggestion To Publishers

We strongly recommend that if you have a book on the iBookstore right now that was made in version 1.0 of iBooks Author that you open it up in version 2.0 and see what kinds of bugs might pop up.  Then we also suggest you do an upload of a new version to the iBookstore. You can imagine the pain in our hearts the past week and a half trying to get our book reloaded to the iBookstore when it’s about the 2012 Maya prophecy and we’re down to 17 days away. This could not have come at a worse time for us. But thankfully, we did get some great one-on-one support from our many friends at Apple to help get this resolved. It was just a real nail bitter there for a spell…..


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