Tag Archives: Software

Adobe Kills Creative Suite, Demands Monthly Subscription

Adobe Creative CloudAt the Adobe MAX conference this week, Adobe announced that they will be discontinuing their Creative Suite products (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) in favor of their subscription-based “Creative Cloud” service. Instead of purchasing the software outright, and upgrading at your leisure, the new system involves paying a monthly subscription fee in order to continue using the software. It costs $50/month for access to the Creative Suite products, or $20/month for a single product (e.g. just Photoshop).

If you’re someone like me, who doesn’t purchase every version, waiting years between upgrades, this is a very unpleasant development. (I just moved from CS1 to CS5 during the past year, and the impetus behind that decision was the lack of support for legacy PowerPC software on newer versions of OS X. I upgraded to a newer MacBook Pro, and had to pick up a newer version of Photoshop to go with it.)

The move shouldn’t make huge difference if you already upgrade annually, as you’re basically paying the $600 upgrade fee perpetually, but it’s not great if you prefer to skip versions or buy secondhand.

Existing users for Creative Suite 3 or higher can get a reduced rate of $30/month for their first year, but will have to pay full price thereafter.

How to Turn Off Auto-Reloading Tabs in Safari 5.1

When Apple released Safari 5.1 recently, it ignited a bit of outrage amongst its users. For whatever reason, Safari began refresh the page content of a tab whenever you switched to it. This kind of defeats the purpose of tabs, as you can’t leave Pandora running or flip between a form you’re filling out and something you’re referencing.

Oddly enough, there’s a quick and easy fix.

  1. Open the Preferences window (Command+,).
  2. Switch to the Security tab.
  3. In the “Web content” section, uncheck Java. (But leave JavaScript checked!)
  4. Close the Preferences dialog. Now tabs should no longer reload whenever you switch between them. You won’t be able to run Java applets embedded in web pages, though.

I’m guessing that the behavior is the result of a bug, and not some weird decision of Apple’s.

A Potential Windows 8 Caveat: Alternate Browsers in Metro

Microsoft has been showing off developer previews of Windows 8 lately, with it’s new multitouch “Metro” UI. The idea behind Metro is to have a tablet-friendly interface that boots quickly, with an option to switch into the traditional desktop interface.

Metro apps, from what I’ve heard, will be built with HTML5 and Silverlight rather than being native apps. This comes in handy, as Microsoft is fracturing their platform a bit. Some Windows 8 devices will run on Intel’s x86 architecture as before, but Microsoft plans for a lot of the new tablets to be ARM-based. That will create a lot of software incompatibility, as applications will need to be re-compiled for ARM processors. (So don’t buy an ARM-based computer if you want to run Photoshop on it…)

Now, we can probably assume that most people will spend a lot of time in Metro, right? It seems like a convenient tool for casual computing, and certainly better-suited for touch-enabled devices. If you need to look something up quickly, you boot your machine to the Metro interface, click on the Internet Explorer icon and head over to Wikipedia, right? That raises one very important question:

Can you replace Internet Explorer 10 with Firefox, Chrome or Opera? If Metro applications have to be written in HTML5 and Silverlight, the browsers would certainly need to be re-written, assuming that you can even build a browser with such limited tools. And will Microsoft even allow you to move that big IE tile off the primary screen?

I hope Microsoft addresses this, because it seems rather anti-competitive to me, with their large market share and all. A return to the dark days between the death of Netscape Navigator and the birth of Firefox, if you will. Web standards and browser innovation basically stagnated for a decade until the open source cavalry arrived.

Update: Apparently Microsoft has partially addressed this at the Build conference. Metro applications will be written with a new API called WinRT that will also be available in C++/C#/VB/etc.. So browsers will have to be rewritten for the new UI, but they won’t be excluded.

Firefox 7 to Use 20-50% Less Memory

Mozilla engineers have began and effort known as “MemShrink” to reduce Firefox’s rather large memory footprint, with the changes being made in Firefox 7. (I still haven’t quite figured out Mozilla’s new version numbering scheme, and Firefox 5 is the current release…)

In short:

Firefox 7 uses less memory than Firefox 6 (and 5 and 4): often 20% to 30% less, and sometimes as much as 50% less. In particular, Firefox 7′s memory usage will stay steady if you leave it running overnight, and it will free up more memory when you close many tabs.

Also, there are already some early mock-ups of what the UI in Firefox 8 might look like.

Firefox 7 is lean and fast [Nicholas Nethercote]

Disable Domain Highlighting in Firefox

If you just upgraded to Firefox 6, you probably noticed the new “domain highlighting” feature. The address bar now greys-out the protocol and path in the URL, leaving the domain highlighted in the darker black text. The theory is that it will help less-savvy users easily spot phony phishing domains.

I find it annoying, though. It looks a bit weird, and it makes the path less visible, which is something I work with on a regular basis. If you’re like me and want to turn off the feature, here’s an easy way to do it:

  1. Open a new tab and type about:config into the location bar
  2. Search for browser.urlbar.formatting.enabled in the filter field. (It searches as you type.)
  3. Double click on the browser.urlbar.formatting.enabled line to change the value from true to false.
  4. Close the tab and enjoy your lack of domain highlighting.

Minimus: The OS X JavaScript and CSS Minifier

Users like fast websites. That’s one of the universal rules of web development. To attain faster speeds, it’s common to use a process known as “minification” to compress the file size of JavaScript and CSS. Yahoo developed one of the most commonly-used tools for this, a command line program called the YUI Compressor. This open source project has become integrated into many other tools, including numerous websites that will minify any JavaScript or CSS you paste into a form field.

That’s rather inconvenient, though. Wouldn’t it be easier if you had a nice OS X application that would let you minify your code right from your Mac? Enter Minimus, the app I just finished.

Minimus is a handy GUI frontend for the YUI Compressor. All you have to do is drag one or more files onto the dock icon, hit a button, and in seconds you will have minified copies.

It’s a free download, but if you like it, feel free to send me $5 or so with the in-app PayPal form. ;)

Infinity Blade iPhone Game Sells $1.6 Million in Five Days

Just last week the much-anticipated Infinity Blade iPhone game from Epic Games was released. The first to use the new iOS port of the Unreal Engine, it’s stunning graphics have been a major selling point for the game.

The big news is just how amazingly successful the game has been thus far. In its first five days, it earned a stunning $1.64 million. Quite an achievement, breaking Cut the Rope’s record of $1 million in its first ten days to boot.

At $5.99 per copy, the sword-fighting app will thus have mustered over $1.64 million in sales for publisher Epic, whose studio Chair Entertainment created what is widely-hailed as one of the most technically impressive iOS titles to date.

According to GamesIndustry.biz, at least 274,000 copies of the app were sold to produce that figure.

This really shows how viable a platform iOS and the App Store are. There is a lot of money to be made, and the barrier for entry is very low in comparison to most other gaming platforms. At last, indie developers are finally on a fairly even playing field with the larger game companies.

Reeder for Mac Beta

One of the premier RSS reader apps for the iPhone and iPad is Reeder. It syncs fast, it has a great interface, and it uses Google Reader as a backend (which means you can keep it synchronized with all of your devices).

The much-anticipated Mac version of Reeder is now available in public beta. While some of its features are still being implemented, you can get a good look at what the final application will be like.

The interface looks amazing. I think some of the keyboard shortcuts could use some work, but overall its very usable. I like the narrow column of icons representing the individual feeds. One minor change that would be welcome would be for them to automatically sort by the number of unread items, which I have found makes going through large numbers of items easier in other readers.

Continue reading →

Scrivener for Mac and Windows: Special NaNoWriMo Deal

Scrivener is a neat Mac application (soon to be available for Windows) for writing long-form content. It’s designed with novels, screenplays and nonfiction works in mind. It helps you organize your notes (templates are included for things like character profiles) and assemble your manuscript.

The developer of Scrivener has a great deal for NaNoWriMo participants. You can download a fully-functioning trial of Scrivener 2.0 for Mac or a beta of the Windows version, and use it throughout NaNoWriMo. If you complete the full 50,000 word quota, you get a coupon for 50% off a Scrivener license. If you don’t manage to meet the goal, you can still get a 20% discount if you use a coupon code. It even comes preloaded with a NaNoWriMo novel template with the word count goal set to 50,000 words (and a tool to export a scrambled version of your novel for NaNoWriMo’s word count tool).

Scrivener NaNoWriMo 2010 Offer [Literature and Latte]

HootSuite Adds Paid Plans

HootSuite, the “social media dashboard” has just announced their new premium accounts. There is still a free option, though you will need to fork over some cash if you need “team members” (collaborators who can post to your shared social media profiles) or more than one RSS feed piped into your Twitter streams.

Starting today (Wednesday, Aug. 11th), all new customers will be required to select a plan upon signing-up — including choosing the free option if desired.

The following week, current HootSuite users will be asked to choose a package with the help of a migration wizard to help you choose the best plan.

For all customers (aside from Enterprise-class accounts), we’ll include a 30-day free trial. This period will allow you to experiment and discover which plan best fits your needs. Again, we’ll continue to offer a free plan for those of you who don’t require advanced options at this time.

The paid plans start at $4.99/month and quickly get pricey. I think their tier structure could have used some more work, such as allowing more collaborators and for cheaper plans, but maybe that’s just me…