Friday, October 4, 2013

Adobe Security Breach

 In case you were not aware Adobe announced today that their computer system had been hacked and some customer user account information including: User Id, encrypted password and credit card information had been accessed. Accounts that have been involved  (30+ Million users) will receive an email on how to re:set their deactivated accounts, which will require a password change.

  Remembering the numerous passwords we all have today can be cumbersome, but you should never ever use the same user id and password for multiple companies / systems / accounts. If you have accounts elsewhere that use the same UID/Password as Adobe's, I'd suggest that you change them up also. Use upper & lower case and throw in some special characters (?,>,$,%,# etc...) if possible. The longer and more random the password the better.

 Some people who have been slamming the Creative Cloud have been saying on line since this was announce that.... "See I told you another reason why you should stay away from CC" and other such rubbish. Ok... most of those same people have also been saying that they upgrade regularly and CC is not for them. I have to ask, how did you do your last upgrade? I suspect it was online with the Adobe store, and your information is likely as vulnerable as the CC members. This is not the 1st time a large corporation has been hacked, Sony went thru this a while ago and it likely won't be the last. I'm sure Adobe's recent subscription only business model decision made them a target, but I also suspect that the CC subscription service likely didn't make them any more vulnerable than before.

 I have two Credit Card accounts one for everyday brick and mortar purchases and a second with a very low limit that I use for all of my on line activity. That way if my account does end up being hacked, and the bank says I'm responsible I'm only on the hook for a small amount. People tend to freak a bit when this stuff happens but it is encrypted and when you go to a restaurant you often hand your card to a perfect stranger who walks off and does who knows what with it while away from the table.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Adobe's Photoshop Photography Program

The Photoshop Photography Program is a new packaged price for the creative cloud versions of Photoshop (PS) and Lightroom (LR) that Adobe announced during Photoshop world (Sept’13). This was their response to the overwhelming backlash from the photography community who thought that the $20/month price point for essentially a Photoshop rental was way too much when compared to the old price when updating the standalone license approx. every 18 months. I agreed with the majority of Photoshop only users and said I’d never subscribe.

  So Adobe will now RENT (yes it is still a rental model Bus. plan) you Photoshop and Lightroom for $10/month under this new program as long as you own a Photoshop CS3 or a newer license and agree to subscribe for a yearly membership before 31-Dec-2013. This reduced price is not an introductory price which will increase after the 1st year, it is a reduced membership plan for who knows how long. Adobe has said that the price will remain as long as you retain your monthly payments. If you decide to unsubscribe, and rejoin sometime later your monthly fee will revert back to the original $20/month plan. 

 I had said I would never subscribe, but I have decided that at $10/month this makes sense for me. In the past I have updated both applications soon after they were launched. I’d always wait until early adopters had identified any major bugs before I updated but soon after the dust had settled I was handing over $200+ for PS and $80 for LR. In fact I had just updated to LR5 when this announcement was made. I asked Adobe for a refund and since I had purchased LR within 30 days, they gave me a full refund which paid for the 1st 8 months of my CC membership. I have always wanted access to some of the PS extended features, but to upgrade from my standard version was alway too expensive, now I have an extended version which is another reason for my subscription decision. 

Scott Kelby did a very good job of explaining why Adobe made the leap to a subscription business model on his Grid Live pod cast available on the Kelby TV web site. I wont go into the details but it comes down to Adobe being able to roll out new features quickly to users and still meet the tax law requirements they operate under. The tax law states that new content could only be rolled out if customers paid a nominal fee for them. This happened with creative suite 5.5, the new features couldn't wait for a tradition 18 month roll out, so for $45 they made the content available with a half version update. Instead of waiting for application roll outs every 18 months, under this subscription model they can make them available to users sooner and still meet the requirements of the USA tax code. Scott states that regardless what you think about Adobe's business model, protest all you want they will not return to a stand alone license model. To provide content and stay relevant in this world of quickly changing technology they can't go back. 

I'm still skeptical about Adobe keeping the monthly subscription fees at the current $10/month level and I'm still not carzy about renting software. I'm sure like everything else the price will increase, when and by how much only time will tell. But for me at this price point this made sense, it may not be for you and that is your choice. 

Toronto International Film Festival 2013

This year’s TIFF may be my last, never say never but I think I’m about to retiring my milk crate (I stand on one to elevate myself over the heads of the PR people and security personnel on the carpet). If I don’t retire I’ll trade in my milk crate for a ladder and show up much later than the 10-12 hours that are required to secure a decent spot on the carpet rails these days.

When I first looked at the schedule this year I thought it was terrible, but after I put my list of galas together it wasn’t so bad. This year TIFF surprised us with some substantial changes to the venue layouts. The Prince of Whales (POW) theater was one of the worst venues for us fans in the past, so much so that last year Tom Hanks even said that he felt like cattle being lead to the slaughter. TIFF appears to have heard this criticism and put up barricades along both sides of King street and went so far as to completely close down King street while talent was on the carpet, halting even street car traffic at times. I was told that an area for fans was created at the Elgin/Winter Garden theater this year too. Roy Thompson Hall (RTH) was even changed up this year. Bell the largest corporate sponsor added the "Bell Fan Zone" an area across the carpet from the traditional fan rail. This new area was to be used for viewing older movies after the carpet closed at 09:30pm, but it soon became a fan area that proved to be a good location for normal autograph seekers, but even the hounds were using it as the week progressed. 

The festival started Thursday with a 30th anniversary reunion for the “The Big Chill” cast members, with most in attendance minus Jeff Goldblum and William Hurt. Tom Berenger showed , but some how I missed him, DAMN!! I’ve seen some of the cast before, Mary Kay Place, Meg Tilly and Jobeth Williams were new for me. 

I was able to update some older images of a few stars like Nicole Kidman who I capture back in the old days of point and shoot. Managed a nice full frame head shot i’m really pleased with, not looking at the camera but a really nice 3/4 profile in really good light which is often hard during the early gala at RTH due to the sun’s location. Another update was Kate Winslet who was looking very nice and very pregnant. 

 A lot of new talent for me this year too, including Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Aniston, Collin Hanks, Benedict Cumerbatch, and the Hemsworth brothers Liam and Chris. A couple of other stand outs for me were Brendan Glesson who I’ve alway like in anything he has done and Taylor Kitsch for his portrayal of the Pulitzer prize winning South African photographer Kevin Carter in “The Bang Bang Club”.

Three new Oscar winners were added this year including Julia Roberts and the director/producer team of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. Six other winners were also updated this year Colin Firth, Chris Cooper, Nichole Kidman, Kate Winslet, Tim Robbins and Director Paul Haggis. 

Not a bad year overall, but the waiting game is getting to be too much for the quality of the images I’m getting. I may look at getting a decent ladder and then pick my battles a little better by limiting the number and locations that I attend. New talent only and then only the people that interest me. I found myself giving up early on locations this year because I wasn’t interested in the talent, as was the case of Daniel Radcliffe. I could care less to see Harry so I gave up my front row spot to a young woman who was clearly a Potter fan. It worked out as I got to see Matthew McConaughey who was at POW later that night, someone who was more interesting to me and I didn’t plan on seeing when I put my schedule together. The fan friendlier venue change at POW had a lot of us rethinking our locations this year. Next year, maybe???