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Adobe Doesn’t Give a Shit

Posted on November 9th, 2018

Dave!I wish that I could get through just one day without being filled with rage.

Today I thought I had a good shot at it by promising myself that I would ignore the news and whatever bullshit that President Trump was doing, but that was futile because his level of incoherent crazy was so off the charts that it was everywhere.

As if that wasn't bad enough, work was awful... because I couldn't actually get any work done.

My office iMac, which is around two years old, has been slowing to a crawl for months. Over the last couple of weeks it's happening so often that I had no choice but to try and fix it. I started with doubling the memory from 32GB to 64GB. That helped a little, but the problem seemed to be with the "Fusion Drive" (a hybrid SSD/HD drive). I kept getting a message popping up that it was overheating. I finally decided to replace it, despite the fucking nightmare involved in tearing open an iMac to do so.

And today was the day.

I decided to set up the drive before tearing anything open to install it. This was relatively easy, as I had an external SATA dock that I could pop it into. I downloaded the macOS X Mojave installer, installed it onto the new SSD drive, and 25 minutes later I was booting from it. Nice.

I decided to start fresh by not transferring over my apps and data... just my system settings.

Turns out that was a mistake.

My primary tools at work are Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Lightroom, and Adobe Acrobat. They are all part of Adobe's "Creative Suite" which is managed by their Creative Suite desktop app. You install it, then manage all your app installs from there. Simple, right?

No. Not by a fucking longshot, because this is Adobe we're talking about.

All my apps installed fine, except Acrobat. This happened last time I had to install the thing and was solved after I ran a cleanup app. This time the app didn't work, so I spent FORTY MINUTES trying dozens of "fixes" from the Adobe forums... none of which worked. Keep in mind that this has been a known problem that people have been complaining about for over a year.

AND ADOBE HASN'T DONE A FUCKING THING TO FIX IT! How in the hell can I be expected to not become enraged after wasting this kind of time? AGAIN! And I still don't have a working copy of Acrobat on my work computer, a program I use daily.

Not that Adobe gives a shit... they don't. They bought out and buried the competition until there wasn't any competition, and now they don't have to give a fuck about anything.

I would have stayed until I got things figured out, but it was getting close to 6:00 and the alarm to feed my cats would be going off. They're already freaked out by Daylight Saving Time ending, and I was afraid that not being fed when the alarm sounds would send them over the bend. So I packed up my crap and headed home.

Except I couldn't get home because a train was running through town. It was moving so absurdly slow that it took over ten minutes to pass. And then? The crossing arms would not retract. After waiting another five minutes, I finally abandoned the crossing I was at and drove to a different crossing... screaming "FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!" the entire way home.

When I got home (nearly fifteen minutes after the dinner alarm) my cats were, as expected, going nuts.

So I guess everybody in this house is having a bad day.

The difference being that my cats were happy again after being fed. I'm still filled with rage.

   

Photoshop One

Posted on March 13th, 2015

Dave!Adobe Photoshop 1.0 was released on February 19th, 1990 and I was there.

Lo those 25 years ago.

Well, not at the product launch, but I had a copy of the program after release which I received with a scanner I purchased in the Fall of 1990. I played around with it a few times on a Mac that was at my local library, but I was an Atari computer guy at the time, so it went largely ignored. I didn't really get into Photoshop until I first bought a Mac of my own in the Spring of 1993 (a Quadra 650). Photoshop 2.5 came bundled with a new scanner I purchased shortly thereafter, and I have been using the program ever since.

Almost daily ever since.

With the possible exception of Adobe Illustrator (which I have been using regularly since version 1.7... A.K.A. Illustrator 88), Photoshop is the single most important app in the existence of my universe. It has permeated both my personal and professional life, and I have serious trouble trying to imagine my world without it.

Which is why it's always fun to step back in time to experience Photoshop's humble beginnings. Which I do from time to time, as I have a library of old computers with their original software installed. It's even more fun to watch others give it a try... especially those who were not around at the beginning...

ONLY ONE UNDO?!?

Hah. Those were the days.

Happy 25th Anniversary, Adobe Photoshop!

   

Lightroom Part Two

Posted on January 7th, 2015

Dave!Yesterday I talked about my photos and how the death of Apple's Aperture has forced me to move to Adobe's Lightroom. This entry talks about how that all went down.

Since the Aperture import plugin didn't work and I was starting from scratch, there really was only four decisions to be made in building my Lightroom catalog and new photo library...

  1. Will I be converting all my RAW files to Adobe's open DNG format?
  2. What size previews will I be rendering for when my library isn't available?
  3. Will I be creating "Smart Previews" for all my images?
  4. How will I organize my photo library?

To DNG or not to DNG?
When you shoot RAW, odds are your camera is saving the "digital negative" in a proprietary format. My Nikon D90, for example, saves them as .NEF files, which is proprietary to Nikon. My Sony A7, for another example, saves them as .ARW, which is Sony's version of RAW. I shot on a Canon for a while, and they use .CR2 for their RAW format. I also have .RW2 files from a Panasonic underwater camera I used and .ORF from an Olympus that I borrowed. What a mess. Unlike JPEG which is standardized, RAW formats rarely are. Which is why Adobe created the .DNG format. But, unlike what's used by camera companies, it's not proprietary... it's open, and anybody anywhere can read the specs that Adobe provides for free. This does two very important things...

  • Future-proofs your files. If Sony closes up shop or kills the .ARW format tomorrow, eventually this version of RAW will die out and stop being supported. And because it's proprietary, you would have to hope that somebody out there would reverse-engineering the format in order to read your images twenty years later.
  • Establishes and open standard. Because the specs are publicly available, no reverse-engineering is needed to read the .DNG format. And anybody can use it. Some camera manufacturers have already abandoned their proprietary RAW formats in favor of .DNG and I am hopeful all other manufacturers will follow suit.

There are other advantages to .DNG as well... my favorite being that it doesn't use external EXIF sidecar files, but instead stores the information internally. The fact that the files are also validated by an internal checksum means that you can tell when bits of a file go missing or are corrupted. The list goes on and on (did I mention that .DNG files are also smaller?).

So, ultimately, I totally embraced .DNG and had all my RAW image files converted upon import. Yes, this adds significant time to your import, but the benefits are worth it.

   

Alas yon Preview, What Size Art Thou?
When my 8TB external hard drive is connected to my laptop, all my photos are available to me at full resolution. When it's disconnected and I'm half-a-world-away, however, my photos are not available, and all I have to look at is whatever preview Lightroom has available in the catalog of my local drive. Lightroom's "Standard Size" preview is 1024 pixels along the image's longest side. That's fairly decent for looking through your images and won't take up too much space. Except Lightroom stupidly doesn't default to "Standard" but instead renders "Minimal" previews which are pretty much worthless (so be sure to switch to "Standard" in the Catalog Preferences or else you'll have to re-render all new previews!). You also have the option for 1:1 previews, which will speed up your workflow and look great on-screen... assuming you have room on your hard drive. As for me? I compromised. I changed the "Standard" size preference from 1024 to 2048 pixels and left the quality on "Medium." That's double the size of what you usually get, but generally ends up smaller than 1:1. My reason for taking the hit to my hard drive is twofold... 1) I have a Retina Display, and larger images display better... and, 2) If my library drive AND both backups are lost for some reason, I can probably live with 2048 as my only image size, but would be devastated if all I had were 1024 images. In the end, it's up to you... but with display resolution climbing and hard drive sizes escalating, it seems as though the bigger you go the better off you'll be.

   

If Thee Be Smart, Where Be Your Brains?
A couple versions ago, Adobe came up with "Smart Previews" which opened the door to all kinds of cool things. Primary of which is that you can EDIT images with Smart Previews... even if you're not connected to your library (usually, you can't do this). Once your library gets connected, the edits will be written to the original photo file's dataset, and it's just as if you had changed the original all along. As if that weren't enough, Smart Previews can also be viewed and worked on with an iPad via Creative Cloud. Pretty cool stuff, right? Except... "Smart" Previews are not exactly "smart" in that you are still required to have "regular" previews as well. So, effectively, you've got an entire catalog of previews taking up valuable hard drive space... twice? Or at least that's how I understand it to work. I don't have that kind of space available on my laptop's SSD, so I skipped stupid "Smart Previews." Hopefully one day they'll make it so you are only required to have ONE preview per image. Until then, it's nice to know that I can build Smart Previews for those times I plan on editing photos on the go.

   

But Soft! In What Organization Through Yonder Library Breaks?
With Aperture I never had to worry about the physical organization of all my image files. I created projects and folders within the app and let Aperture worry about where the files went. With Lightroom this is not possible. So what I ended up doing was mimicking the structure I was used to... a folder for each year and a sub-folder for every event/trip/session that was preceded by a date. If you take a lot of photos, it's a pretty good idea. The drawback being that if you've visited Milwaukee twenty times and want that photo you took of the Milwaukee Art Museum, you have to know when you visited in order to track down the photo. If that's a concern for you, might be better to not organize by date... but to instead organize by subject. Regardless of how you choose to organize your images, it's critical to keep organizing the same way. Once you get tired of the effort and just start dumping your photos wherever, you never be able to find them unless you spend a lot of effort applying keywords to each image. That takes considerably more time than organizing from the get-go... though, if your import groups are small enough, you might be able to apply keywords when you import to save time. Still, given Lightroom's inability to manage your photo files, you really need to come up with something yourself and stick with it.

   

Now that I've made my decisions... we're ready to import.

Getting your photos into your local Lightroom catalog and writing out your .DNG files to your external library is pretty easy. You click the "import" button, choose what you want to import... choose where you want them to go... add your settings for previews, keywords, and such, and away you go.

Since I was converting to .DNG and rendering rather large previews, my later years took a very long time. Five hours or more. And the bad news is that there's no way to pause the import and resume it at a later time... at least not that I've found. Yes, you can cancel and then re-do the import (Lightroom will run through everything again and skip the images it's already worked on) but this is a far from ideal solution. Even worse, absolutely no estimate on how long the import will take is given. You get a progress bar and that's all. Thankfully, you'll (hopefully) only have to do massive library imports once in your life, but it would sure be nice if Adobe were to allow you to pause the process. My suggestion? Break your imports down into more manageable chunks. You can uncheck folders you've already imported to keep Lightroom from doubling up (though, inexplicably, Lightroom will still go through all your photos if you have "Don't Import Duplicates" selected... whether you've checked or unchecked the folder in question).

It took me five days to get everything cataloged/imported. Usually I would import a chunk before going to bed and find everything completed when I woke up.

So how am I liking it now that I'm a Lightroom guy?

To be honest, I'm not liking it at all.

Lightroom is a massively confusing program that makes practically no sense. Compared to the elegance and ease of Aperture, I'd go so far as to say that Lightroom is crap. I hate just about everything about it. The interface is a complete mess and takes up way too much of the screen. Even simple things are difficult. Want to zoom in on a photo? I still don't understand how it works. Click once you zoom. Click again and you don't zoom in further, you zoom back out to some totally random percentage? Crazy. Instead of an intuitive, fluid zoom tool that operates like every other zoom tool in every other program (including Adobe Photoshop!), with Lightroom you have to click on a drop-down menu and choose 1:4, 1:2, 1:1, 2:1, 4:1, etc. etc. in order to get closer to/further from an image. It's about the stupidest fucking thing I've ever seen. I'm trying to use gestures on my trackpad for zooming, but it's so clunky and spastic that I can never end up where I want to be. And that pretty much defines everything you do in this program... clunky and spastic. There are times I make adjustments to an image... increase the saturation or sharpening or whatever... and nothing happens, even though the sliders are showing I've made the adjustment. WTF? It's enough to drive me insane. There are times I have to step away from the program because I'm getting so frustrated and angry that it feels as if my head is going to explode.

I'm hoping that eventually I'll get used to the shitty way Lightroom works, but I sincerely doubt it. The program is a hot mess of epic proportions, and I simply don't understand how anybody manages to get anything done with it. Yes, it's usable and I can (eventually) figure out how to do what I need to do... but it has a long, long way to go before it's as beautifully intuitive as Aperture is. Was. Whatever.

But, thanks to Apple being complete assholes and canceling one of the most wonderful apps for organizing and working on photos ever made, this is where I'm forced to be.

Maybe there's a better solution out there... maybe I should take a second look at Capture One... but the thought of having to go through all this mess again makes me want to stick my head in an oven.

I'm probably better off not using a photo cataloging program at all. I'll just go back to files and folders on ZIP drives and call it a day.

So much for progress.

UPDATE: More problems popping up every day. The worst of which is that Lightroom crashes... a lot.

Lightroom Crashes a lot

Yeah. Definitely don't understand how people are using this thing.

   

Lightroom Part One

Posted on January 6th, 2015

Dave!This is the first post in a two-part entry that will be discussing digital photo storage. Not a topic that most people will be interested in, but I very much want to document my process just in case somebody else out there on the interwebs is in the same boat as I am.

But, before we begin, a disclaimer.

I am a huge, huge, massively huge Apple Aperture fan. When it comes to working on photos, it's lagged behind Adobe Lightroom for years... but, when it comes to cataloging photos, it's pretty much the cat's meow. And since it's the cataloging that's of primary importance to me and my tens of thousands of photos, that's where my heart has been since Aperture debuted back in 2005. I will never, ever forgive Apple for canceling the app, and consider it just one of several stupid moves for the company as of late. But anyway...

Apple did cancel Aperture, so I am forced to migrate elsewhere.

My choice ended up being Adobe Lightroom. I am still not convinced it was the best choice, but I do think it's the right choice... for me anyway. Yes, I preferred the way photos looked using the RAW import on Capture One Pro better than Lightroom... and there were features in Darktable (among others) that were appealing... but it just seemed easier all the way around to go with Adobe since I know they're not going anywhere. The last thing I want to do is to have to go through this crap all over again if another app closes up shop. On top of that, the tight integration with the Adobe apps I use every day (Photoshop and Illustrator in particular) is too alluring to ignore. As if that weren't enough, I get Lightroom as a part of my Adobe Creative Suite subscription at no extra charge. Sure I could wait and see what Apple's replacement app, Photos is all about, but it looks unlikely to include the professional features I need.

So here I am.

And now a little background so you know who that is...

I have been into photography for as long as I can remember, and I've loved it all that time. So when it came time for a high school graduation gift in the mid-80's, all I wanted was a professional camera. My parents got me a Canon A-1, which was the most advanced camera of its day. The "Killer Feature" being the first SLR camera to have a digital autoexposure controller. Something I took advantage of frequently as I was learning how to properly use shutter and aperture settings. The A-1 was both a joy and a revelation over the fifteen years I used it as my primary camera, and I shot as much film as I could afford to have developed.

Then in the mid-90's the digital age was upon us. I was an early adopter, buying an Apple QuickTake 1 the day it was released in 1994. By modern standards, it was a pretty shitty camera. 640x480 pixels max and, unless you had flawless lighting, the images were pretty terrible. But... it was new. And it was cool. And I kept investing in digital technology despite not taking it very seriously. Why should I when what I was getting from my film camera was so much better?

Then the year 2000 came along and I got a Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-D700.

Suddenly, my digital photos were getting close to what I was getting on film, all without the pain (and expense) of developing the images. All summer long I went back and forth, testing and re-testing, contrasting and comparing. I was lugging around two cameras everywhere, not fully trusting the Sony after over a decade with my trusty Canon. But then the moment of truth arrived... in October I took a trip to Asia and the only camera I brought was my DSC-D700. The results were so encouraging I went ahead and did the same for a trip to Rome that December. By 2001, I was 99% digital, only dusting off my film camera when I had a project that required it.

Cataloging my photos in 2001 was a pretty simple affair. I stored all my photos on a Zip Drive, making two copies each on separate cartridges, one of which was kept in a bank safe. As image size kept climbing, I would eventually switch to Jaz Drive cartridges. Every project had a separate folder, which got a bit complicated after a while, so I then started creating Master Folders titled by year to sort them into. It worked just fine, and I didn't even think about the need for cataloging software until that infamous day in 2005 when I purchased Apple's Aperture.

And it was glorious. Especially during those heady early years when Apple was updating the thing. They added "Places" so you could tag all your photos with a location (if they didn't have one already). They added "Faces" so you could automate tagging the people appearing in your photos. And then there were the Vaults... dead-simple ways of backing up your catalogs and precious photo information which was quickly becoming every bit as important as the photos themselves. Everything in Aperture was so convenient, easy, and powerful. I quickly organized all my photos into Projects by year and Folders by project, since that mimicked the file structure I had been using for five years. Apple's amazing app made dealing with my huge library of images almost effortless.

Until they decided they didn't want to any more.

Enter Lightroom.

At first I thought the migration would be a piece of cake, because the Aperture import plugin I had been waiting for was finally released. It was a huge relief to know that all the hours/days/months of inputting photo data into Aperture wouldn't be lost. Except I could never get the plugin to work. It would hang after a while no matter what I did.

And so I gave up and decided I would just start over completely from scratch. The first step was to extract all my images from the Aperture catalog and convert them to "managed" files so I could access the individual, original photo files, which subsequently transferred to a spare 1TB drive I had laying around.

I then purchased a new 8TB Thunderbolt RAID unit from Western Digital which would give me 4TB of mirrored storage to work with. The old Aperture RAID drives were removed and popped into my bank safety deposit box just in case I ever need them.

And then the horrendous chore of importing all my images into Lightroom began.

The first years were easy. In the year 2000 I had a measly 250 photos, and they were all JPEG files that were either 2048×1360 or a tiny 1600×1200 pixels in size. NOTE TO YOUNGER SELF: Always shoot at the maximum resolution of your camera. I know that 1600×1200 seemed like a huge amount of pixels back in the day, but in the future that will be insanely inadequate for just about every purpose.

As we move forward in time, the number of photos increases considerably from year to year (especially when I decided to start bracketing most of my shots). And, because the size of the photos keeps going up as well (especially when I started shooting RAW), the storage space needed (hence the amount of time to import them into Lightroom) increases exponentially. NOTE TO YOUNGER SELF: Always shoot RAW. I know they're a lot bigger files, but if you could experience the pain of having to look back at your trip to the pyramids of Egypt with all that JPEG artifacting, you'd know the extra size is well worth it. And it's no small amount. In 2007 I shot one trip RAW. In 2008 I shot half of them RAW. In 2010 I was shooting all RAW all the time. Just look at what happens...

  • 2000 • 244 photos (320MB)
  • 2001 • 338 photos (456MB)
  • 2002 • 633 photos (782MB)
  • 2003 • 399 photos (691MB)
  • 2004 • 2,489 photos (6.2GB)
  • 2005 • 2,706 photos (7.1GB)
  • 2006 • 386 photos (861MB — no vacations this year!)
  • 2007 • 2,803 photos (7.5GB)
  • 2008 • 7,342 photos (36.4GB)
  • 2009 • 9,167 photos (63.2GB)
  • 2010 • 16,561 photos (149.8GB)
  • 2011 • 15,422 photos (135.8GB)
  • 2012 • 15,788 photos (140.1GB)
  • 2013 • 16,038 photos (149.6GB)
  • 2014 • 18,532 photos (184.2GB)

Now, to be honest, most of the photos I took in later years are not keepers. As memory cards kept getting bigger and cheaper, I was a lot less selective in what I shot... and I would shoot the same thing several times so I could pick the best image and delete the rest... except I never seem to delete anything. Perhaps one day I'll have the time to purge all the bad/redundant shots, but it ain't happening any time soon. Good thing hard drive space is getting so cheap!

Okay then. Now you know about me and what I shoot... I guess it's time to start importing everything into Lightroom!

Which I will be talking about in tomorrow's entry.

   

Transfer

Posted on October 17th, 2014

Dave!After Apple discontinued their Aperture photo software, Adobe promised to deliver a plugin for their competing "Lightroom" product that would allow you to import your Aperture library into Lightroom.

Thanks, Adobe!

Yesterday the plugin was finally released.

Thanks, Adobe!

Today I spent just over five hours performing the import. Only to find that -zero- photos had actually been imported.

Thanks, Adobe!

   

Creative

Posted on June 22nd, 2013

Dave!Yesterday I took a look at Adobe's "Creative Cloud" app. Today I'm going to look at the "Big Three" apps within Creative Cloud... Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

But before I go there, I have to come clean and admit that most of Adobe's updates have pretty much been "fluff" to me. Yeah, it's cool to get time-savers like the "Spot Healing Brush" and cool extras like "Perspective Drawing Tools"... but, overall, the basic stuff you need to do the job have been around for a long time and everything else they keep adding is nothing more than fluff.

My problem is that I like the fluff.

I get giddy every time Adobe drops some new nifty feature that makes my job easier... or more fun.

Unfortunately, I think we're getting to the point where the fluff is starting to affect app performance, and that's a problem. Kinda. So let me get the worst out of the way first...

   
InDesign CC
In a nutshell? Fucking horrendous. The program is practically unusable now.
Should you upgrade? Only if you enjoy excrutiating pain and endless frustration.

By the time Adobe bought out Aldus PageMaker in 1994, I had already moved on to QuarkXpress for page layout. The problem being that I hated Quark. So when Adobe came out with InDesign, I jumped... nay, I bolted to InDesign... and never looked back. Partly because I loathed Quark so badly... but mostly because I loved what Adobe had done with InDesign.

Fast forward to yesterday and I have to ask... what the fuck is Adobe doing with InDesign?

The previous CS6 update felt slower than CS5 and crashed quite a bit. But it's an absolute joy to use compared to InDesign CC, which is ungodly slow and clunky. The lag when typing text is agonizing. Moving objects is sheer torture because they... just... won't... move. Even hiding all the images and turning off every automated feature doesn't help speed things up much. I could go on, but it's pointless to do so because InDesign CC is pretty much unusable and worthless.

But before I go, a question... why the fuck hasn't Adobe gotten off their asses and hidden the temp files that have been shitting all over my hard drive since InDesign 1.0?

InDesign Temp

   
Illustrator CC
In a nutshell? Not a lot to see here, move along.
Should you upgrade? Sure. You get a few nice pieces of fluff and I haven't found a down-side.

Adobe Illustrator is my most favorite program ever. I love Illustrator. It's powerful. It's comfortable. It's friendly. And the pen tool I use constantly to draw stuff is sublime. It also doesn't hurt that I'm really, really good at it. Just so long as Adobe doesn't break something, I'm excited by any new feature they want to throw my way. This time I'm especially excited by the free-transform tool (which allows you to distort objects oh so easily, especially with a touch screen)... the "touch text" tool (which allows you to perform really slick adjustments to live text)... the smarter Smart Guides (which is much needed)... and the nifty stuff they've done with brushes (like automatically generating corners and allowing you to use images and brushes). Granted, that's not a lot. But Illustrator is so amazing it really doesn't have to be. Overall a minor, unobtrusive, and welcome upgrade.

   
Photoshop CC
In a nutshell? Pretty great fluff this time. No noticeable slowdown from the additional features.
Should you upgrade? Only if you have confirmed that any third-party plugins you need are compatible.

Photoshop is a stunning example of what people mean when they use words like "invaluable" and "essential." It is the irreplaceable tool I need to do my job. I use it most every single day and love it more than chocolate pudding. So how does Adobe make a great thing greater? Welllll... the show-stopper this time is "Shake Reduction" which is a really smart, mostly-automatic, all-new version of "Smart Sharpen." And the results are pretty impressive...

Hard Rock Shaken
Oops. In my defense, my camera didn't have image stabilization. And I was drunk.

Hard Rock Unshaken
Yes. This. With just a press of a button. Is it magic? It's Photoshop.

And, speaking of Smart Sharpen, that's been improved too.

Next up? Camera Raw now only works as a filter now for quickly working on non-RAW images, but they've added some new toys too... like auto spot removal. And a cool little feature called "Automated Upright" which will allow you to more quickly and easily straighten buildings and stuff...

Photoshop Auto Upright

When enlarging photos... especially ones with well-defined edges... I usually use a third-party enlargement plugin that has edge detection or fractals or some method to preserve details in the image. Now Photoshop has a new enlargement method called "Preserve Details." And it works pretty well...

Photoship Preserve Details
It's tough to tell at this small size, but the "Preserve Details" enlargement on the right is much better.

There are other new features, improvements, and a few tweaks... but the above three are the biggies. And I think they're worth the price of admission when taken in a lump sum. But there is a down-side. Some of my third-party plugins are not working. Most notably, Imagenomic Noiseware. Until you're sure that your essential plugins can work with Photoshop CC you might want to hold off upgrading.

   
And there you have it. A mixed bag. Mostly thanks to a jaw-droppingly shitty InDesign update.

But also because Adobe can't be bothered to make their apps work well with my Mac. Full-Screen support is broken. Still. And my Magic Mouse acts like a total spaz with accidental scrolls and crappy tracking even though it's been out for nearly four years... so I have to downgrade to my Mighty Mouse, which is much older, but does work for some reason. Yet Adobe did expand Mac Retina Display support, so what do I know?

Now that we're stuck in the Creative Cloud I'm already looking for sunnier weather. Because even though I love Adobe and their critical tools which allow me to to what I do... they simply cannot continue to unleash horrendous piles of shit like InDesign CC any more.

Ever.

When you're responsible for something "invaluable" and "essential," you have to do better than that.

   

CC

Posted on June 21st, 2013

Dave!Adobe Creative Cloud has arrived.

Adobe software upgrades are usually a reason to celebrate, but their controversial decision to make a monthly Creative Cloud membership the only way to use such popular apps as Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign has made a lot of people upset and angry. Sure you can still buy the old CS6 software, but any new stuff is members only. This kind of sucks, because if you aren't able to pay your monthly fee, any files saved in the newer CC format become useless. And, of course, to use the latest features you have to save in CC format. Catch-22.

Regardless, I thought I'd give a quick overview of the thing for anybody out there who's curious. And if you don't even know what Creative Cloud is? Hark! A promo video...

And now for this Creative Cloud business...

The bad news is that Adobe still doesn't beta test anything before release. Or, if they do, they do a really crappy job of it. Just as it's always been with their apps, I've found bugs and problems on my very first day. How the fuck Adobe can miss or overlook stuff that I run across after mere minutes of use is just beyond me. The only thing I can guess is that they know their users don't have any realistic alternative to their tools so they just don't give a shit.

Anyway...

Everything I cover will be on a Mac, because I honestly don't give a flying fuck about Windows anymore after Microsoft released the horrendous pile of shit known as "Windows 8." If you're using that hot mess of an OS, I apologize, but, damn.

Creative Cloud Logo

   
The boat-load of apps that come with a Creative Cloud membership are now managed by a menu bar extension. I thought this was a lot nicer than the previous method of hunting down Adobe's Application Manager app, but the thing is (of course) buggy and defective, so it's a mixed bag. Never mind that it doesn't update itself after an app is installed (you have to restart your Mac for that), there is a much bigger problem. In that most times when you switch between Apple's virtual desktops (called "Spaces") the damn thing activates. That's right, it just opens up for no reason at all. And this is exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about when I question whether Adobe bothers to test their shit. I ran across this problem immediately after installation. How in the hell did Adobe's beta testers not notice it? Do they ignore basic Mac OS X features? This is fucking insane. And the fact that Adobe isn't embarrassed by things like this speaks volumes for what you're getting into when you sign up for their products.

But I digress. The menu extension looks like this...

Creative Cloud Menu

It's nice that you're told if your app is up-to-date, even though it makes the menu window huge. Oddly enough, if an app is not up to date, Creative Cloud doesn't have the ability to update it. Instead it launches Adobe Updater, which is kind of crazy. Why have one tool that can handle multiple tasks when you can clutter up a hard drive with two? Or, more likely for Adobe, twenty?

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

If you are a professional, you'll want to install the new CC apps next to your old CS6 apps in case you run into some heinous bug that prevents you from getting work done. Thankfully, this is fully supported. But what if you're a rebel like me who only wants the new apps? Do you have the option of overwriting Photoshop CS6 with Photoshop CC? Of course you don't! That would be too fucking convenient, and Adobe has a reputation for shitty, inconvenient installers, so that's not going to happen.

Welcome to Adobe manual uninstallation! It's stupidly inconsistent, but that's the Adobe way!

Some apps like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat have uninstaller apps in their folders. That's not so bad, right? Well, sure... if they worked. The uninstaller for InDesign hanged and had to be force-quit. The unistaller for Acrobat said that Acrobat was an invalid application to uninstall. You get the picture. Though at least they have uninstallers. Apps like Bridge don't. Regardless of how much work you put into uninstalling (Mac App Cleaner helped a lot), you still end up with traces of crap scattered over your hard drive. I did a search to root out all things "Adobe" so I could trash them, but I'm sure pieces are still around somewhere. Guess reformatting my hard drive is the only way to truly clean out old Adobe apps?

After installation... which was surprisingly smooth and easy... I thought I'd just quit Creative Cloud since I wouldn't be needing it the rest of the day. But, surprise!, Creative Cloud doesn't like that because Creative Cloud doesn't fucking know if it's working on an installation or not!

Creative Cloud Quit Warning!

I suppose it's possible that Creative Cloud hands off installation to yet another app but, if that were the case, why would quitting cancel the install app? Insanity.

In what I can only describe as some kind of bizarre tease, two of Creative Cloud's non-app functions... Cloud File Storage and Cloud Typekit Fonts... are "coming soon"...

Adobe Coming Soon!

   
The third non-app function is Adobe's acquisition of "Behance" which is an online portfolio you can share with people. I'm already using Deviant Art for my portfolio, but it's free so I went ahead and signed up. Eventually I might even put something there.

And that's pretty much it for Creative Cloud.

But what about the new CC apps? Are the new features in Photoshop any good? Does Illustrator have any cool new toys? Does InDesign finally have decent performance at long last? Tune in tomorrow and see!

UPDATE! And the hits just keep coming. Turns out that Creative Cloud saying an app is "up-to-date" is not always true...

Adobe Update Update!

Shocking.

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Categories: Photography 2013Click To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Suite?

Posted on May 8th, 2013

Dave!Most every single thing I do for my job is with Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign. These are the apps I need to do whatever it is I do, and my work would be very difficult indeed without them.

Not to say that there aren't alternatives... there are plenty... but when it comes to the feature-rich tools I know best, and the ability to work together in the way I need them to, Adobe is the only game in town.

It used to be that Adobe apps were purchased like most any software... you buy them. Well, not "buy" per-se, it's more like a "one-time permanent lease payment"... and once you pay your money you can use them for as long as they work for you. This "Creative Suite" can then be upgraded every year or two when Adobe finishes up a new version.

Last year Adobe introduced a new way of using their products... renting. They call it "Creative Cloud" and for fifty bucks a month, they're all yours to use as much as you want...

Adobe Creative Cloud

The good news is that, so long as you keep paying, your apps are always up-to-date. You always have the latest features, and Adobe rolls them out when they're ready rather than making you wait for the next release. That much is really sweet.

But two days ago Adobe announced that "renting" their "Creative Cloud" is now the only way to go. As of now, they are discontinuing "Creative Suite" (for the most part) with the current version 6.

I had already moved to Creative Cloud last year, so this doesn't really affect me. But what if it does?!?

This could be bad.

Because what if Adobe discontinues an app?

As unlikely as it may be, let's say that Adobe kills off Illustrator in a couple years. You can't rent it any more. It's gone. And since you aren't able to buy it, you can't access any of your files created with it. You can't open them. You can't print them. You can't export them for use with another program. All your years of hard work essentially vanishes overnight. Everything you've created in Adobe Illustrator has to be recreated from scratch in a different program. Unless some other app comes along that reads the format.

But that's not all though. There's all kinds of doomsday scenarios that come to mind. What if Adobe doesn't kill an app... but instead raises the price of using it to $1000 a month? Pretty much the same thing, isn't it? You're trapped. You pay what Adobe wants or else you lose everything. Or maybe they don't raise the price... but all of a sudden your financial situation changes and you can't afford the rent? Again, pretty much the same thing. You're locked out and all your stuff is inaccessible.

So I guess this is bad.

And right now I'm more than a little worried.

Adobe needs to do two things to make me feel a bit better about this New World Order...

ONE
Release free "reader" programs for all their apps that at least let you look at your work. And print it. And possibly convert it to an open format so you could take it elsewhere if something happened that you couldn't use Creative Cloud any more. Knowing that I could at least see my work... and ideally export it somehow... would go a long way towards easing my mind and helping me to accept our Adobe Overlords.

TWO
Create smaller bundles of apps. As I said, I use three apps from Creative Cloud. THREE OUT OF WHAT... THIRTY?!? Give or take (some of these are services, not apps, that I won't use)...

Creative Cloud Apps

It feels like a complete rip-off that I have to pay for development of huge bunches of crap I will never (or rarely) use. Even if it were to only save me $10 a month... perhaps by renting a "designer bundle" with only the "Big Three" that I need or something... well... I would feel much better about my rent. As it is, I think it's absurd that I am forced to pay for shit like "Flash Builder Premium" that I would sooner light on fire than ever load onto my computer. This is like the cable company all over again, and it's not a good thing.

Realistically, Number Two will probably never happen. But Number One pretty much has to. If it doesn't... if there's a risk that all my work could become inaccessible tomorrow (for whatever reason)... well... is that a risk I can really afford to take?

Perhaps it's time to start exploring some of those other options?

   

Dying

Posted on November 9th, 2011

Dave!Well, poop.

I was reeeeeally looking forward to Eddie Murphy hosting the Oscars. They might have actually been worth watching next year. Now its not going to happen.

Anyway...

Last night after a marathon work session, I decided to check my news feed one last time before bed. The breaking story of the night? Adobe is killing Flash Mobile.

Which is sweet vindication for Steve Jobs and Apple, who recognized a turd when they saw it. Now if only we could kill this stupid crap on our desktops and laptops, I'd really have reason to celebrate. I am beyond tired of my MacBook's battery bleeding out and the fan kicking in every time I come across a website running Flash content. I tried disabling it and using "Click-To-Flash," but there are sites I use for work which require it, so until it just DIES (or web developers wake up) I'm stuck.

And speaking of dying, the Republicans had yet another debate and this happened...

DAVETOON: Bad Monkey Sweeps up the Candidates while Romney, Cain, and Gingrich hold on.

Rick Perry, who actually had a chance at one point, crashed and burned hard when he said he was going to get rid of shit, but couldn't remember which shit he wanted to get rid of. The media firestorm over this flub has been kind of harsh, but the guy is just nuts when it comes to speaking in public (in general) and debating (specifically) so I guess it was only a matter of time. He's done.

Jon Huntsman actually did quite well, I thought. But boy is he the bastard red-headed step-child of the Republican party. It's a real shame too, because he is a level-headed guy that seems to steer clear of the radical side of the GOP pool. If he had some real backing and was given half a chance, I think he might be a good opponent in the 2012 election. But he doesn't. He's done.

Ron Paul continues to alternate between insightful commentary and crazy-talk, which wouldn't be a show-stopper at this debate if it weren't for the fact that he turns into Debbie Downer every time he opens his mouth. He just can't seem to inspire people, which is kind of an important part of being president. Even worse? It's a critical part of winning elections. He's done. Unless he is tapped to be the Vice Presidential candidate on the ticket. As Joe Biden has repeatedly shown, inspired leadership is apparently totally irrelevant to the VP position. Plus... Paul has a fanatical following which could make him an asset to the race.

Michele "Bat-Shit-Crazy" Bachmann and Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum were always done. Their continued presence is turning the GOP into more of a joke every minute they're allowed to have a seat at the table. I can only imagine that this is some kind of strategy by whomever is running the show. No matter how badly The Chosen One (=cough= Romney =cough=) messes up, people can still point and laugh at Bachmann and Santorum's ridiculous antics. Talk about the living embodiment of a lightning rod... they make excellent distraction fodder for Democrats to focus on. But what happens when they go away?

Newt Gingrich continues to impress me despite the fact that I still disagree with most all of his politics. And the reason he impresses? The guy is a top-notch politician. And I think he is absolutely correct when he says that he would be lethal in a debate with President Obama. But, as much as I would love to see that, I just can't imagine it actually happening. Gingrich keeps holding on because he's garnered a lot of respect in his arena. But he can't hold on like that forever. Ultimately, he has to sway his party and, despite having one of the more articulate, non-wavering, clear voiced visions I've seen here, he's not doing that. Maybe it's his numerous past scandals holding him back. Maybe it's his reluctance to speak in 30-second soundbites. Maybe he just isn't what the majority of Republicans want in a candidate. I honestly don't know. He's almost done. Personally, I think he's make a good choice for the VP slot (can you imagine him debating Vice President Biden?).

Herman Cain keeps losing ground with me but, not surprisingly, he keeps gaining ground in his party. Even putting aside the current sexual harassment scandals swirling around him, I just don't get it. Tonight he proved that not only is he crazy, he's also a disrespectful piece of shit (and quite possibly a sexist asshole...Princess Nancy?!? Seriously? THIS is a presidential candidate?). Look, you will get no argument from me -none- that our tax system is fucked up and needs a complete overhaul. But this 9-9-9 stuff is just insane. Cain himself confirms that many Americans would end up paying more in taxes under it. Since then he's adjusted it to be a 9-0-9 tax plan if you're under the poverty line, but details remain sketchy all around. This is not surprising because everything Cain comes up with is sketchy and undefined (he makes Obama's vague statements in the past election look crystal clear). He has to be done soon... seriously. And despite his popularity, I can't fathom any presidential candidate adding him to their ticket as VP. He's just too dangerous a gamble. Nobody knows how the sex scandals are going to play out, and you never know what crazy-ass-electrified-fence wackiness is going to come out of his mouth next. What disturbs me so badly here is that he thinks he's making a serious effort to win the presidency, when his actions show he just can't be. Can he?

Mitt Romney is all but assured of the nomination. He would have to kill a puppy with his bare hands while receiving oral sex from a donkey during the Super Bowl Halftime Show in order to be passed over at this point. A part of me gets it. The guy feels presidential. He may actually have a decent shot in the election. But what the hell? The Republicans crucified... crucified... Barack Obama over his occasional flip-flopping, yet Mitt Romney is the fucking king of flip-flops. You literally never know what the hell the guy stands for because the only consistent thing about him is his inconsistency. Even worse? He then proceeds to lie about it. Badly. It's as if he doesn't realize that people record everything he says. As if all that weren't enough, he's a Mormon, which would usually be the kiss of death. A lot of Christians refer to Mormonism as a cult for heaven's sake (Google it and stand back in awe!). Given the Christian Conservative backbone of the GOP, Romney's high standing in the race is surprising to say the least. In all honesty, I don't think he's a challenge to President Obama in 2012. Well, unless Obama kills a puppy with his bare hands while receiving oral sex from a donkey during the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Then he might have a chance.

   
My hopes of a candidate emerging to present a serious challenge for the presidency are diminishing quickly. The last thing I want is for President Obama to go unchecked and win the election in a cake walk. He's caved or backpedaled on a lot of things I really care about, and my frustration levels are growing (despite progress made in other areas I also care about). I want his feet held to the fire on his continuing lobbyist connections. I want answers on what happened to this "transparency" we were promised. I want some of his decisions challenged in a way that only a strong opposition candidate can provide. I want a real debate.

Apparently, I want too much.

   

Bullet Sunday 181

Posted on May 2nd, 2010

Dave!It's a sweet Bullet Sunday at home as I blog in-between trips!

   
• Fault. Just how much more hardship is Louisiana supposed to endure? Hurricanes, floods, recession, and now an oil spill? I'm sure Pat Robertson must be positively orgasmic, seeing as how he has decided to speak on behalf of God and tell everybody it's New Orleans' fault. No word from the hate-mongering old fuck on what "God" says is the cause of the flooding in Nashville. My guess would be the 700 Club's Nashville office being located in the city, but far be it for me to speak on behalf of the Almighty. I'll leave that to douchebag televangelists.

   
• Funneh. When President Obama delivers a standup routine at the The White House Correspondent's Dinner that was funnier than Jay Leno's bit, it has me hoping he gets his own late-night talk show in seven years...

Though I must say my favorite part was when Obama took a moment to pay some words of respect to our troops. Quite a nice change from his predecessor.

   
• CS5. Color me completely shocked. After I finally managed to get Adobe Creative Suite 5 downloaded, everything else was gravy. Unlike every other installation of Creative Suite, there were NO issues this time. Installation was painless. Nothing got screwed up when I uninstalled the previous version. Everything just works. This is a pleasant change from when I installed CS4 and ended up having to reformat my hard drive and start over from scratch in order to get it working. TWICE. Thank you, Adobe...

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave Stacking CS5 Icons

   
• Merged. The latest casualty of airline consolidation? Continental Airlines, which is apparently merging with United. I used to love flying Continental when they were part of the SkyTeam Alliance because they had a direct flight into Cologne, but had to drop out when they left my mileage program. Now my worry is that the ever-decreasing competition amongst airlines is going to drive up prices. Tickets are already running much higher than I'm used to, and if things go much higher I'm going to have to drastically cut back on my travel.

   
• Bits. In case you missed it, my "Blogography Bits" leftovers blog had my reactions to the stolen iPhone drama, and Senseless Flash Injection, and crappy blog hosting hostility, and even a comic book meme this week.

   
And now I'm off to eat candy for dinner. But don't judge me for that... I had candy for lunch, so it's okay.

   

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