El fin del mundo

The influential Chilean professor, Eduardo Arriagada, invited me down to South America last week, along with two old friends, Gary Cosimini who was art director of the Science Times section when I was at the New York Times, and Steve Schaffran, who has gotten me into one interesting project after another over the past 20 years

Arrigada, an indefatigable tweeter, thought the combination of the Adobe guru and Woodwing’s Latin American representative (which Schaffran actually is when he is not minding his vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina or lounging in his East Bay erie, or on safari in Kenya) and me would be sufficiently interesting to a group of Chilean publishers for a intensive workshop and seminar on digital publishing. The sessions were held in the communications building of the Universidad Católica in Santiago, which matches the city’s progressive, efficient and friendly atmosphere. (Santiago is more like Geneva than Lima.)

My Spanish is not good enough to tell if Treesaver benefited by this three-day comparison, but Schaffran coined the phrase, “dynamic publication” to describe the advantage of our new HTML5 framework. This includes Treesaver’s ability to adapt layouts to different screen sizes—and to integrate live feeds and updates, which is somewhat harder for the iPad apps produced by Adobe InDesign, with or without the Woodwing CMS.

Dynamic publication vs. digital publication. It’s a good distinction, and we’ll take it.

Meanwhile, Prof. Arriagada made the American trio’s time worth it by taking us down to the very tip of the country. At first it seemed like a big hassle after the plane ride to get down there, but once in Punta Arenas (across the Strait of Magellan from the Tierra del Fuego, to do a little geographical name-dropping), the excitement replaced tiredness. This is an extraordinary place. Two weeks short of the winter solstice, we experienced astoundingly bright long days, with a hard mix of mountains and water. And great wind. One day we got up to the park, Torres del Paine, the wind just about blew us over. We had to get down on the gravel path and hunker down by the closest rock. It felt like the earth was going to give way to the wind.  (My sister Gail had it considerably worse on the Clelia II, which about the same time was floundering in 30-foot seas off the Anarctic Penninsula. She’s now back home safe in Houston.)

Really my kind of week. Much good talk. Much moving around. And a place to go I’ve never been.

The view from the hotel window in Puerto Natales, in Patagonia.