Category Archives: Adobe

What Adobe Air Apps Are You Using?

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This week, Marques is talking about Adobe Air and some of the great desktop apps that run on it. HongKiat has a list of more than sixty different apps which will run on Android, Windows and Mac OS X.

Adobe AIR was first introduced on 19 March 2007 with the name of Apollo and designed as a cross-operating system runtime that enables web developers to use their existing web development skills, code and tools to build and deploy rich web applications and content to the desktop.

Many of the apps are centered around productivity, including an entire section of apps created for Google. There are categories for photo and video apps, including things to help manage your Flickr account.

There are apps built for design, including one to create icons yourself. It’s a simple little program that helps you make a neat little favicon for your website, among other things.

If you are using anything built on Adobe Air that wasn’t included in the article, let us know about them. We’ll be happy to take a look at them.

PDF Error Can Give Hackers Control of Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod

The same security hole that allows users to jailbreak their Apple products can also give hackers easy access to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod.

iPhone photo by William Hook

According to Reuters, French security firm Vupen has confirmed that by simply visiting a website and opening a contaminated PDF file, you can give hackers complete control of your iOS device.

The hack is triggered when visit a web address in your Safari browser that automatically opens a PDF document. Contaminated documents include an infected font file that causes an error that gives the hacker control of your device. Once the hack is triggered, it can delete files, download your data, or install applications.

If your running iOS 3.1.2 or higher on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, you’re vulnerable. To avoid the problem, Gizmodo advises that you avoid opening PDFs directly until a fix is released–or if you must, only open PDFs from highly trustable sources.

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.

Why I Think Apple's iAd Sounds Amazing

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Apple has made a way for advertisers and sponsors to support free apps – but in a way that makes people want to click. iAd essentially makes the ad itself into another app. That iAd is an app that is embedded inside of your download. Potentially, you’re getting a second app for free. They demonstrate something an advertiser might do.

If I were an advertiser, I would be thrilled to have a platform like this. I could create a small game – or even a series of games – which showcase my product in some way. This would give the user a good reason to click on the ads. Everyone loves to play games, right? If it’s interesting enough, the engagement will be higher. Bumping up the emotional factor is a big deal when it comes to advertising.

I think this iAd platform is awesome. I think we’ll see some pretty amazing mini-apps inside of our regular apps. This goes so far beyond a normal text link ad or even a banner. We’re talking about advertising being apps themselves. Don’t fool yourself: if you already have an Apple product, the chances that you have already downloaded an advertisement already are really high. Every single brand on iTunes is an ad of some sort.

People who are kicking and screaming about the iAd platform are the ones who throw a fit when an app costs a buck. They’ll either complain about paying a dollar… or about having a free app that has an advertisement. Nothing is free, folks. Get over yourself already. If you’re going to have a free app, then you’re going to have advertising. If you don’t want ads, try paying for an app.

I’m looking forward to this because advertisers have a chance to be engaging, relevant and creative. They get to do truly unique things, and think outside of the box. That, my friends, is priceless as far as I’m concerned.

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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?

The Death of Two Devices

Today saw the death of two devices that we were actually looking forward to getting our hands on. Neither of these gadgets ever saw the light of day outside of their respective manufacturer’s offices. Both of them were going to be truly innovative in their own ways. Neither of them will get the chance to prove themselves in an ever-changing market. Both the HP Windows 7 Tablet device and the Microsoft Courier project are now dead in the water.

Interestingly enough, Microsoft never confirmed a single Courier rumor until the day it was put to rest. This is actually depressing news. The combination of both touch- and pen-based computing was compelling, and we waited with bated breath for news of its impending arrival. That arrival has been indefinitely delayed, and the wind has gone out of our sails.

The HP device announcement is a bit different. They are killing the idea of a tablet running Windows 7. But… they haven’t said much yet on the speculations surrounding what the company will do with their newly-acquired webOS. According to Nick Eaton, “iPad’s user interface is simple. It’s not a keyboard-less laptop with a touch screen, it’s its own type of device.” In order to begin to compete with it, HP and other companies are going to need to keep that in mind. Think about it. What if an HP tablet came out running a new version of webOS? Imagine the possibilities…

My mind boggles as I struggle to come up with the possibilities of what we may soon see. These companies know that they have to come up with something truly new, different and genius in order to begin to compete with what Apple has done. I know that the technology and the brains to put it to use are out there. I can’t wait to see what they come up with, can you?

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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iReverse Runs on Multiple Platforms (Including the iPad)

The iPad is not the only thing that people are buzzing about on the Web today. Adobe product manager Christian Cantrell has been busy making headlines of his own. Christian has created a Reversi game which can be played on the iPad.

That doesn’t sound like very big news, does it? It’s not an Earth-shattering announcement – until you realize that the same exact game also works on OS X, Windows, Linux, an iPod Touch and a Droid. Most apps and games are geared to work on one platform or another. They won’t work on different devices and systems without a lot of modification to the code. Usually, apps are written for various devices in different languages. iPhone developers use Objective-C, while BlackBerry and Android devs create their programs in Java. This is why Cantrell’s game is so groundbreaking.

According to Christian himself: ““There isn’t a single line of code I had to change to get this app to run on all these different operating systems and devices.” The exact same code base is used to build different versions for multiple environments. Every one of these versions is running on Adobe AIR technology. It’s unheard of to have one application be able to DO this. There’s simply no other platform in the world that has this level of flexibility.

It’s going to be interesting to see how many others will step up to the plate and begin taking advantage of AIR and what it can do for them. Who are we going to see breaking ground next?

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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