It's definately fall

Shot just a few seconds ago from my office window.  Definitely a fall sunset. Still beautiful!



Web Applications and Disk Crashes

I've been making Digital PhotoBooks for awhile.  I've used many services, checking to see who offersLogo_digilabs Logo_plain Picabooklogo  the best quality (and not necessarily best price...).  I've used:  My Publisher, Snap Fish, Douglas, Picaboo, Pica book, Vivi, to name a few.  Some of them offer web-based solutions, other downloadable software.  But basically, the idea, you drag and drop photo's, create your personal photobook, and it's sent to you via the mail.  Cheap it's not, but when done properly, the result is beautiful.

So, recently, I suffered a disk crash (yes, this happens to VC's too).  And now, was showtime for my Sysadmin (we all know, backup is only 1 part of the process... it's restore that we want to see!).  Without going into too much detail, the restoration process went quite smoothly.  That is, until we started to reinstall apps!  We do not backup applications (why bother???).  So, when your system dies (or when you upgrade to a new computer, etc.), you have to reinstall one application after the next.  Only, in many cases, the version on the web is no longer the version that you had running; you encounter licensing issues, and backward compatibility issues.  Those were the least of my problems!  My challenge was reinstalling one of the digital photobook applications - Picaboo.  Now, the application was installed with no problem, and I still have all of my digital photo's, but Picaboo stores their files somewhere that.... of course was not part of my backed-up data.  This I realized only when I read about how to backup my digital photobooks (-- which, I did post disk crash).  Basically, all the work that I had done was gone.  This is hours and hours of work, much of which already exists in beautiful hardcover photobooks, but there were still those books that I hadn't completed, etc.

While I was contemplating the correct response to my Sysadmin, I sent a note to Picaboo customer support.  Miraculously, they had the ability to recover all but one of my photobooks, including those which I had not yet printed.  I was delighted.  Their customer service was indeed outstanding, and for that I commend them.Logobanner_1

At the same time, it does raise the issue of separation between data and applications.  When you're working on a web app, do you know what is being saved where on your computer (for purposes, such as backup this is quite useful information). I like to think of myself as a semi-sophisticated user, but I had never paid attention to this point.  I will now!

CICC CEO Forum with Bruce Chizen, CEO, Adobe

Bruce Chizen, CEO of Adobe, hosted a CICC CEO Forum event last week.  In an intimate breakfast setting at Adobe HQ in San Jose. Guy Gecht of EFI, led this fireside chat.   Bruce1

From my perspective, Bruce comes across as an incredibly passionate and driven leader, with a very frank style.  The hour flew by and the event was a huge success, as measured by the fact that nobody was reading email on their blackberry!   As a relatively new customer of Photoshop, I found this session especially insightful.  Go Adobe!


Adobe post Macromedia?

Bruce2Adobe is all about making software that helps people communicate better. Adobe started in print, Macromedia in web publishing.  Both companies moved in different direction but the visions were the same.





If anybody says that acquisitions are easy, they’re either ignorant or lying.  In this case, both companies were local, they had similar visions and much overlap in their customer base.  It was still hard:

For each Macromedia employee , and Adobe “buddie” was identified to ease the transition

The strategy was articulated to employees (and the street) why the combined companies made sense.  The stock price of Adobe actually went up between announce and close of the deal

Adobe probably over-accomodated some Macromedia employees - should’ve made harder decisions early.

Are you unstoppable?

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What the xxxx is a bevel?

A few weeks ago, I arrived at the disturbing conclusion that there is no choice, I must learn Photoshop.  Having been a late adopter of digital photography (it's still not quite like film!), and after 2 years of experimenting with my DSLR, it just hit me.  Ansel Adams spent many cycles working on his negatives and prints in the dark room, so why should we expect to skip this phase with these new technologies?  The process hasn't disappeared - it's simply morphed.

So, how does one get started?  Simple - Adobe offers a 30 days free trial of their software.  Downloading software is a process I understand well.  However, I wasn't quite prepared for this one.  Download and install was very smooth, only, once installed, I could do nothing. I felt totally illiterate.  After getting some basic help from Jonathan, I strolled over to the nearest bookstore and bought a book on the subject.  I refused the "Photoshop for Dummies" variety (-- illiterate yes, dummy, not really) and opted for "The Missing Manual".  Let me tell you - there's a whole other world out there!

This post-processing task is still very new to me, and I currently estimate that it will take at least 12 months for me to get reasonable comfortable with it (and in the process, I will certainly need a better screen, more RAM and more CPU power than what my laptop currently has...), but it's just one of those things you "gotta do".

So, what is a bevel? It's a "style" that gives objects a more 3D look by making them appear raised from the page of embossed into it.