Tag Archives: Adobe

Edit Images with Gimp

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Marques is back this week with a short review of his favorite image manipulation program – Gimp. Gimp is free cross-platform software that can help you complete a variety of image tasks with ease.

Gimp is a very powerful piece of software. Marques uses this program for all of his graphics on his site instead of using the expensive Photoshop software. You can do anything with Gimp that you can do with paid alternatives.

It is a raster editor, which means that it performs operations directly on the pixels that make up the image, and not a vector editor. Other (proprietary) raster editors include Adobe Photoshop, Jasc Paintshop Pro and the humble Microsoft Paint. An alternative free editor is the KOffice project, Krita. Users wanting to edit photographs will certainly want a raster editor like GIMP. Graphic designers and illustrators may prefer a vector editor depending on their tastes.

Gimp is a fantastic alternative to Photoshop or other titles you hear people raving over all of the time. It’s great for everyone from beginners up to experts and will be able to handle any project you can dream up.

Do You Understand?

Over on Lockergnome, I recently asked everyone what the one thing is they’ll never understand in life. The answers have surprised me with their variety. Many of them were one-liners, written to make someone laugh. Several of them, though, had a lot of thought put behind them. When someone replies in this manner, it always helps me to circle back on my own line of thought.

Many men will agree with me that we’ll never understand women. Guess what? Gals can’t figure us out, either. We don’t understand why people blindly follow something without stopping to figure out what it is that “something” may stand for. We cannot make ourselves understand why some people feel they are entitled to more than what life has given them, especially if they do nothing to earn it. In short, we all tend to puzzle over the same set of unanswerable questions at some point in our brain’s meanderings.

What is the one thing you will never understand?

You don’t have to understand computers and how they work in order to know that you need the latest and greatest software and apps that is available.

Adobe is Coming to the iPad

Don’t get all excited just yet. There still isn’t going to be Flash on your iPad. Sorry if I just deflated your dreams, folks. However, Adobe will appear on the popular device beginning today in conjunction with Wired magazine. The app that will be released on iTunes today is an e-version of the June issue. It has more than forty different interactive features – including an exclusive clip from Toy Story 3 and a little game that lets you fly around Mars.

This app is the catalyst that set off the war between Apple and Adobe in recent weeks. Since Flash technology is banned from Apple devices, the partners had to come up with something completely different than originally planned, using Apple-approved code. The app makes use of video and graphical tools to expand on a theme that runs throughout the app: unraveling products and teaching you how they work. The June cover story about Toy Story 3 breaks down the making of the movie and lets you follow the process. Pixar also granted Wired an exclusive clip to use in the app.

The Conde Nast publication says that the rebuilt app still comes with all of the features and capabilities you’d have found in the original version. Future issues will have more social and search functions built-in, including web browsing from within the app. “This is very much a 1.0 release,” said Scott Dadich, creative director of Wired.

For now, each issue will cost $4.99. Executives plan to introduce a subscription model later this year and will sell subscriptions through iTunes. This is a touchy area for publishers, though. Many would prefer to sell their subscriptions outside of Apple’s closed system. Some major players in the industry are working together to create a “digital newsstand” of sorts where they can set more of the financial terms.

Apple and Adobe: Where is the Common Ground?

There is no middle-of-the-road when it comes to Steve Jobs and public opinion: you either love him or hate him. The same can be said about Apple products. You are either someone who rushes to buy everything the company rolls out of production or you shudder in disgust and swear you’ll never cave in. Any time Steve has something to say, his words are rehashed a few hundred times on pages all across the blogosphere. Steve Jobs is, without a doubt, a man one cannot ignore. Even if you are on the side of the road that doesn’t much care for the man, you have to respect what goes on inside his head. Take, for instance, his post today regarding Adobe Flash.

I have written in the past about my reasons for hating Flash. However, Steve-o today said it better than I could have ever hoped to do. He eloquently lists several reasons why you won’t ever find Flash enabled on his mobile devices, including the fact that it hogs resources and isn’t the most secure offering on the block. However, the part that captured my attention the most was his discussion of being open vs being closed.

Jobs states that “While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.” HELLO! It’s about time someone pointed that out loud and clear for the folks at Adobe to read. He goes on to point out how “Though the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open. Rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript – all open standards.”

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. We finally have all of our cards out on the table. Steve fully admits that Apple’s products are closed systems. What’s wrong with that? No one has ever tried to pretend otherwise. However… the important factor is that they adopt open standards. Apple’s mobile devices make it simple for you to consume media of every type on widely-used and accepted platforms… all of which are open.

Our lives are open. Our Web is open. We have fought for years to get to this beautiful place in time. Why the hell would we want to take a giant step backwards and embrace the closed and stagnant environment of Adobe Flash?

Will Adobe CS5 be Great – or Should You Wait?

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I haven’t yet had a chance to use Adobe CS5 myself. However, I do know that it’s a powerful – albeit expensive – program. There are free or open-source alternatives I can use. Most of the photo editing I do these days can be done inside of Picasa. However, there is one feature inside of CS5 that is absolutely killer.

You know how you can use the clone tool in a photo editing program? Most of the time, it’s a difficult process. You can take a screenshot of what’s going on with my live stream. If you wanted to crop out the iPad in the front, you’d need to painstakingly replace it with part of the curtains to block it out. However, CS5 makes this a seamless and beautiful process. It’s almost magical to watch.

Adobe products work well, even if they’re a little advanced for most people’s needs. However, the price tag on many of them (including CS5) rules out the software for most of us.

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HTML5 vs Flash

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HTML5 isn’t going to be something that will just fade away into oblivion, even if Adobe wishes it would. One caller the other night asked me about the differences between the two, and whether or not I think Flash will “die” once HTML5 is more widely used.

HTML5 is a specification that (to my knowledge) has not yet been made official. In fact, it’s been said that Adobe is holding back the ratification. Some of the richer features found in HTML5 would replace things found inside of proprietary platforms, such as with Adobe Flash. It’s obvious why companies like that wouldn’t want this to happen.

With that said, I do believe that HTML5 will start to become more widely used. Is it a Flash killer? Of course it’s not. Flash does much more than just allow for watching videos. 90% of the problems I have in my web browser are related to Flash in video playback, though. I can play the same video back using HTML5 in the same browser, and not use up as many of my resources.

Flash has done what it’s done. It’s been great. It’s seen its timeline. In terms of video playback, I do predict that HTML5 will replace Flash within the next five years.

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Adobe Has Ideas

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I’m going to go on the record and say that 95% of the apps available for the iPad are going to be drawing-related in some way. I’ve been inundated with requests to review these types of apps. One of the best ones that’s floated across my screen, though, is Adobe Ideas. It’s a free app, and is available right now in iTunes.

Adobe Ideas lets you sketch designs anywhere you happen to be. Forget carrying around a pad and pencil. You can sketch right on your iPad. You can also capture and store color themes while browsing through the photos on your phone.

Ideas is an ultra-simple doodling app, which lets you use your finger as a pencil to draw and color. This is perfect for kids who are bored on a long car trip even. Hand them the iPad and have them draw interesting things they see.

The app lets me change the size or opacity of the brush. There’s also a full palette of colors. As you draw, the app will smooth out rough spots left behind by your fingers as you draw.

This is a great little app that I think you’ll have hours of fun with. It will work well for people who like to dabble and play and those who are serious about their art.

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Flash Video is Better With AMD and ATI

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There are a lot of people making and watching videos online these days. When I visited the AMD campus in Texas during the SXSW conference recently, Casey showed me how AMD is helping people all over the world enhance their Flash experience. Adobe Flash 10.1 is a collaborative effort between Adobe and the team at AMD.

This new version of Flash takes advantage of the benefits that are enabled through AMD’s ATI Stream technology. This provides viewers with improved playback, reduced usage of their CPU, and longer battery life due to the comination of using all of the resources found in both their CPU and GPU.

The GPU is a much more efficient way of processing video than the CPU is. As we move more to a mobile lifestyle, your battery will wear down faster if you are processing video using your CPU. AMD wanted to make this much more efficient, and take advantage of different components of the computer or mobile system.

In addition to better battery life, the video footage will actually look better. With hardware acceleration enabled, videos are sharper and are much clearer. You’ll even see more vibrant colors. Even the whites are whiter using this technology.

You can experience this for yourself right now. Make sure you have the updated video driver from AMD installed. Then, of course, you’ll need to download and install the beta of Adobe Flash 10.1 to your system.

Thanks to the team at AMD for the help they provided to me to attend SXSW, and for all of the time they spent with me to discuss what’s new and exciting at AMD / ATI.

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Add a ColorSplash Effect in PhotoShop

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Michael submitted this screencast for use in our channel. If you’ve always wanted to edit a photograph to have just a portion of it in color, you’re going to want to use the ColorSplash effect.

To do this, you’ll need to first open your picture in PhotoShop. Choose the Magnetic Lasso Tool, and slowly but surely trace the outline of the portion of the picture that you want to have the color.

Once it’s selected, go to Edit>Copy to copy what you’ve done, and then de-select the flower. Make a new layer, and go to Edit>Paste. The new layer will only consist of whatever you just outlined. Go back to your background layer, and go to Layer>New Layer Adjustment>Black and White. If your colored portion isn’t aligned properly, you can easily drag and drop it into place.

That’s all there is to it. I know there are a lot of different ways of achieving this same effect, but this definitely seems to be the fastest – and easiest.

Thanks, Michael, for an excellent tutorial!

Twitter Announces the @Anywhere Platform

Even though many people walked out during the SXSW keynote today, delivered by Evan Williams, there was a very interesting announcement made. The new platform will allow publishers to integrate Twitter deeper into their site and recreate the “open, engaging interactions” their readers expect from using Twitter “without sending them to the Twitter website itself.”

Using the new platform, users can identify and follow Twitter users on third-party sites without ever leaving that site. Some of the ones that will soon use this new service include Yahoo, Bing and Digg. This lets publishers make sure their audience is aware of their Twitter feed. The user can also elect to follow a site’s feed without ever leaving the actual site. This lets you get more followers, and allows Twitter to bring more users to their site, as well. According to Ev, Twitter is launching the service because it wants to make it easier on everyone to use Twitter. Given their growth has recently slowed, it makes sense to try to bring the service to the attention of more users.

What are your thoughts? Do you believe this new platform is a big step in the right direction for Twitter?

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Did You Order Your iPad Today?

The iPad officially became available for pre-order earlier today. A group of particularly prudent Apple fans from the APPL Sanity Board at Investor Village decided to put together a spreadsheet of order numbers, times that orders were placed and contents of those order. After six hours of tracking the data, the group reported that nearly 90,000 orders had been placed for the iPad. This does not count multiple orders (a single consumer can order two at a time), nor ship-to-store orders, for which no payment is required. In reality, the number of iPads ordered today is likely well over 100,000!!

According to Victor Castroll from the Valcent Financial Group and AAPL Sanity, “$54 million in revenue in a quarter of a day is a great opening. Looks like contrary to much speculation about who would actually want one of these, like the iPhone, people are voting with their wallets. Considering these are just pre-orders for a product still three weeks out, iPad is home run.”

Whether or not you think you want an iPad, a whole lot of people out there have already decided! What are your thoughts? Are you planning to get an iPad, or did you pre-order one today?

Don’t forget to stop by our software center to see what’s new today!

Is webOS 1.4 Hitting Sprint Today?

Reports this morning – including on the official Sprint site – claimed that webOS 1.4 would be hitting Palm Pre and Pixi handsets beginning today. While some customers have already received the update, others are gnashing their teeth while waiting for answers. The article that showed up on Sprint’s site this morning has now been pulled, leaving customers wondering what in the heck is going on.

Not only is this a basic bug fix and feature update, it also includes a very important feature: Flash 10 will be included for those using a Pre. Finally… Flash on a mobile device! Full Flash 10 support would require an Adobe plug-in, which was reportedly going to be available soon from the Palm App catalog.

There are reportedly also a number of important bug fixes with this release, including:

  1. Time Zone bug fixed
  2. Network time sync bug fixed to reflect accurate Network time
  3. Bluetooth car-kit transition to device corrected
  4. No EV icon bug fixed (random)
  5. Random browser formatting bugs fixed
  6. Fixed bug that incorrectly displayed Sprint when actually was Digital Roaming
  7. Missing Contact issue specifically with swap down to or less

The question now is… where did the update go? Why has it been pulled? When can customers expect to receive the much-anticipated upgrade to their device? It will be interesting to keep an eye on this as the day progresses.

Is the School Spying on Your Child?

According to a new lawsuit filed recently, the Lower Merion School District issued laptops to students, and then used the built-in webcams to spy on them. The school allegedly spied on the kids not only during school hours, but also at home… invading families’ privacy.

The parent who filed the suit allegedly disciplined his child in an “inappropriate” manner. The school then reported the incident to authorities by using a photograph taken with the webcam. The suit is a class action, brought on behalf of all students issued with these machines.

If it is true that the school could turn on the cams from a remote location and were using them to spy on the students… the world has sunken to a new low. This is just creepy, and wrong. I think if a school ever issues a laptop to my child, I’ll be covering up the webcam with some black duct tape!

What are your thoughts? Do you feel that the school district has the right to “spy” on a student if using a school-issued laptop? Or, is that a serious invasion of privacy? (I’m leaning toward the privacy issues, of course.)

Block Ads in Safari

Many people prefer to enhance their browsing experience by adding features such as AdBlocking. With Safari, that is more difficult to do than it is with other browsers. Several of you also choose to block Flash applications, using plugins such as NoScript. However, Alex wrote in to tell all of you about a much easier-to-use plug-in that can be loaded onto Safari.

ClickToFlash is a Flash-blocking plug-in for Safari on Mac OS X. By installing ClickToFlash, you will no longer have Flash-based applications load automatically on the computer. Instead, you can choose (or not choose) to click just once to allow the Flash object to play. This way, you get Flash only when you want it!

You can also configure ClickToFlash to always allow Flash to load on certain websites. In addition, ClickToFlash allows you to view YouTube videos in QuickTime, instead of Flash! You can also change your settings right in ClickToFlash to always (only!) display YouTube videos in H.264, no matter what video you’re watching! Simply go into Safari and ClickToFlash, then choose the “Settings” option. From there, just check a box to allow the default to change.

Thanks Alex, for sharing this with us. I hadn’t yet tried this out, but you can bet I’ll be installing it today!

Why Do Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod not Use Adobe Flash?

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The Internet is all abuzz with anger due to Apple’s decision not to use Flash on the iPhone operating system. Personally, I don’t have a problem with that decision. Flash is the most unstable piece of software I’ve ever used.

This morning, I checked stats on the recently uploaded Mountain Dew Throwback video, Flash crashed inside of Google Chrome. Sadly, this is something that I’m used to.

Why, pray tell, would you expect Apple to put such an unstable piece of software on their operating system? I don’t feel that it is something we need to have on the iPad, or the iPhone. You can disagree with that all you want – I’ll punch holes in every flawed argument you present. It has nothing to do with Apple wanting to make more money – it has to do with controlling the consumer experience, much like other CE manufacturers do. Flash would ruin the iPhone OS experience, not enhance it.

Go ahead, give it your best shot. Give me a good argument as to why I’m wrong. My mind is always open.

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