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Tuesday Buzz: How to Revive Old Ideas

How two old-school cartoons stay fresh with an occasional twist. Also: Chromebooks get access to Photoshop—no, really.

Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, kids like me adored the old-school Disney cartoon DuckTales, which followed Disney comic-book star Scrooge McDuck and various other members of Donald Duck’s clan on adventures around Duckburg and beyond. It’s a beloved show (and videogame—can’t forget the videogame) among a certain audience, but it has largely faded from view.

Well, until recently, when Disney took the DuckTales theme song and revived it as a viral video, using actual ducks. Since the video went online earlier this month, it’s drawn more than 5 million views.

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Of related interest is the decision by another cartoon of the era that’s still kicking, The Simpsons, to take its famous “couch gag” and hand it off to well-known cartoonists. The show did just that this week with the Academy Award-nominated surrealist animator Don Hertzfeldt. (An animated GIF is shown above.) The odd result drew such praise that a writer for The Verge suggested that the show basically hand off its creative process to other animators, just to see what happens.

It’s not clear that the show will go that far, but there are important lessons associations can draw from this concept. The old stuff eventually gets stale, and it’s hard to keep selling it if nothing ever changes. Taking the creative strategy and throwing in an offbeat twist every once in a while, or getting a third party involved, can keep things fresh.

Chromebook Gets a Ringer

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Thanks to Adobe, you can no longer say that Chromebooks are only good for surfing the web.

Google’s laptops—increasingly popular because of their low cost and simple interfaces—will soon have access to Photoshop and other Adobe Creative Cloud apps, thanks to a new collaboration between Google and Adobe, announced Monday and initially targeted at educators. Chromebooks are low-powered, but Adobe gets around that by running the apps directly in the cloud.

“This streaming version of Photoshop is designed to run straight from the cloud to your Chromebook,” Google product manager Stephen Konig writes. “It’s always up-to-date and fully integrated with Google Drive, so there’s no need to download and re-upload files—just save your art directly from Photoshop to the cloud. For IT administrators, it’s easy to manage, with no long client installation and one-click deployment to your team’s Chromebooks.”

Adobe is looking for people in the education field to join its Project Photoshop Streaming beta program. Want to get involved? Sign up here.

Other good reads

A big shake-up in the online-payments space: eBay’s PayPal subsidiary is being split off into a separate company.

Does your conference need some user experience design (UXD) improvements? Velvet Chainsaw Consulting’s Dave Lutz argues yes.

“I think during that time when you’re falling asleep and waking up, your mind is a little freer to go off in directions that it’s never been before. And you find yourself asking, ‘Can this be done? Would it work?'” — Steve Wozniak on the value of pondering an idea at an unconventional time.

The classic toon "DuckTales" got a real-life revival recently. (YouTube screenshot)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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