Memorial Day – A Day We Pay Tribute

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the men and women that currently serve or have served in our US Military Service! Your continued sacrifices to protect our freedoms are greatly appreciated. We are able to spend this day with our friends and families because of what you do!

As we observe this solemn day, we must remember all the brave men and women in uniform who gave their lives in the service of our great country.

Again, Thank You!

Terry White

FaceTime Over AT&T 4G Cellular For All In 2013 – Finally!

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Last November I wrote a post about how AT&T was hinting at allowing those of us who were grandfathered in to unlimited data plans to be able to use FaceTime over cellular. It seemed like a pipe dream as the feature worked for a few, but not for most including me. Yesterday, I saw the news that AT&T was FINALLY going to allow all customers to use video calling features over 4G by the end of 2013. Just for the heck of it, I checked my settings and to my surprise it was already enabled! Just to be sure I turned off WiFi and attempted a FaceTime call over 4G. It worked!

I’m glad that AT&T finally came to their senses on this one. It didn’t make much sense that I could use Skype, Google+ Hangouts, etc, but not the built-in FaceTime. I’m on a corporate dataplan via my employer, however, if I had to buy my own plan I would have definitely considered other carriers. AT&T has restored a little (very small amount) of faith with this move. Thanks!

Seeing More USB Power On The Road

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Delta Gate Area Charging Stations

As a frequent traveler with gadgets I’m always looking for opportunities to charge up. Anytime that I have more than a 15-minute wait in one spot I check my surroundings to see what power options are nearby. If nothing is around then I don’t worry about it, but if there’s an opportunity to juice up I’ll usually take it. I fly Delta 99% of the time and Delta has been doing a good job in equipping their gate areas with not only standard AC power, but also USB power. This means that you can easily just plug in your phone or tablet without having to plug in a power adapter/brick. This leaves the regular outlets for those that need to charge up other devices such as laptops.

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Delta in-flight power in First Class

While regular power outlets and USB powered outlets are a welcome sight in the gate area, I do wish that airlines and the rest of the transportation industry would move faster towards having power available at every seat on planes, trains, etc. Delta was one of the first if not the first to equip most of their entire fleet with WiFi! Yay! Gogo WiFi is great. However, it’s only as good as having enough juice to actually use it. Since I’m a top tier flyer on Delta (Diamond Medallion), I get upgraded a lot and more often than not there is power at the seats in First/Business Class. This is great, but it shouldn’t be limited to just one part of the cabin. What happens if I don’t get upgraded and I have a lot of work to do? Also even when I do have the benefit of having power at my seat, it doesn’t always work. It’s really hit or miss if the outlet will actually function and power my MacBook Pro.

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Hampton Inn power at the nightstand

Some hotels are starting to get the point. One of the fanciest hotels I’ve ever stayed in from a technology standpoint was the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas. However, it was one of the worst in terms of power! The only available outlet during my stay was at the desk across the room. Want to charge your phone next to to bed? Sorry. Yet, recently I stayed in a Hampton Inn in the middle of nowhere and they not only had multiple outlets on the nightstand, but it also was equipped with USB ports to boot.

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Having Every Photo I’ve Ever Edited With Me At All Times Thanks to Lightroom 5

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When Lightroom 5 Public Beta was introduced I recorded a video showing my Top 5 Favorite Features (see below). One of the features that I knew would be a game changer for me was the new Smart Preview feature. When you build “Smart Previews” for your images they are available even if the original RAW files, TIFFS, JPGs, PSDs, etc. aren’t with you. You can perform edits on them in the Develop Module and also output them for web/email as well as use them in slideshows. I was curious as to how much space these Smart Previews would really take up. Last night I did a test. I opened my Portrait/Models Catalog and built Smart Previews for every photo I’ve ever edited. What constitutes an edit? An edit in this catalog means that I retouched (edited) the photo in Photoshop and the edited version is a PSD file in my catalog. To identify these “edits” I built Smart Collections that organize my edits by year.

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I simply selected every image that I’ve ever edited as far back as 2006 (a total of 3,669 photos) and built Smart Previews for all of these images. Now keep in mind that all of the original PSDs but my most recent two shoots reside on my file server. They are NOT on my local hard drive in my MacBook Pro. However, I keep my catalogs with me in my Dropbox folder so that they are sync’d to my other Macs as well as backed up to the cloud. There’s no way that I’d want to house these 3,669 images on my internal drive. Nor would I actually have the available space even if I wanted to. However, there have been times that I’ve wanted to use these images in slideshows, email to clients or update my websites/social media presence with them. If Smart Previews would enable me to always have access to these images even if the originals are back in the studio on the server then I’d be elated. So the real test was how much room would the Smart Previews take up?

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I was shocked and thrilled to see how little space they actually took up! Also keep in mind that the above 1.73GB Smart Preview file also contains Smart Preview for other images in that Catalog besides the 3,669 I did last night. Now I will always be able to show and SHARE my work even if the originals are “offline”.

You can get the Lightroom 5 Public Beta here.



Long and Short Lightning Cables

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Ever since I upgraded to the iPhone 5 and got an iPad mini I’ve been slowly but surely replacing my old 3o pin iDevice cables with newer Lightning cables. While the price of Apple’s Lightning cables are a bit on the expensive side, what bugs me more is being limited to a fixed 1m length. While 3rd party 30 pin iDevice cables are a dime a dozen and can be found in many different lengths and configurations, 3rd party Lightning cables are just now starting to become widely available. There were some really cheap knockoffs that appeared early on and as the saying goes you get what you pay for. I tried a few of the different cables and found that either they didn’t work at all, didn’t work reliably or stopped working after a while. One problem is that many of the cheap ones aren’t “reversible.” That’s one of the main benefits of Lighting cables is that there is no front/back up or down. You can plug it in either way and it just works. Many of the cheap ones only worked one way. I did find some 10 foot cheap 3rd party ones that worked properly. However, over time one by one they simply stopped working or started acting very flaky. I decided to wait until some of the trusted brands I’d used in the past. I wanted both shorter cables and longer ones than the 1m Lighting cables that Apple sells.

6 foot and 10 foot Lightning Cables

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One of my favorite sources for low price, quality cables and gear is Monoprice.com. Monoprice has listed both 6 foot and 10 foot Lightning cables for a while now, but they recently started shipping. Before these cables became available I was using USB extension cables to make my Apple cables longer, but I prefer to have a single cable that’s long enough. I bought a few of each length and as I expected they work perfectly. You can get them in either white or black here.

 

Very short Lightning Cables

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CableJive is known for selling a variety of different specialty cables and as I had hoped they just started selling pocket sized 12cm Lighting cables. This cables are short for a variety of different uses when you don’t want a long cable that you’d have to coil up. They are a bit pricey for the length, but they fit the bill for always having a Lightning cable for charging my devices, in my pocket.

Amazon has them here.

 

Lastly a lower priced 1m Lightning Cable

Amazon has their own brand of cables and they are offering a 1m Lighting Cable for less than Apple sells them for here. Monoprice also has some 1m cables cheaper too, here.

Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock Review

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For the last few years I’ve used a MacBook Pro as my primary computer. I even sold my Mac Pro tower a few months ago as I just couldn’t justify hanging on to it for the few times I used it to do heavy duty video rendering. Sure it was faster than my notebook, but I just found that I was using my notebook more often than heading over to the Mac Pro. Now that I’m on the MacBook Pro most of the time, when I’m at my desk I want to connect all my peripherals. I’ve got a Wacom Cintiq 24HD display, Gigabit Ethernet drop, a 7 port USB 3.0 hub with a Logitech C920 webcam, Rode Podcaster Mic, Bose Speakers, Apple Wireless Keyboard, wireless Magic Mouse and an occasional external hard drive to transfer data from here and there.

What is the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock?

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It’s an external piece of hardware that sits on your desk and connects to your Thunderbolt port on your computer. Once connected it adds 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 Firewire 800 port, an additional Thunderbolt port, an audio in and audio out port, and 3 high speed USB 3.o ports.

Before the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock I would have to plug in the power and four cables before waking my MacBook Pro up. The beauty of a dock is that it can give you not only the convenience of having all your peripherals plugged into one device so that you can just plug in one cable, but it also can give you ports that you didn’t have. For example, on the MacBook Pro 15″ Retina Display Apple has eliminated Firewire and Ethernet ports. While I have the Thunderbolt Adapters to add these ports back in, the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock has them built-in plus one that I don’t have an adapter for and that is a standard 3.5mm audio in jack.

The design of the dock is appealing to my eyes and it has all of the connections in the back with a pass through to the front for the Thunderbolt cable (which is not included). I was a little disappointed by the rather large power brick, but then I reminded myself that I won’t likely be traveling with this dock. It’s designed to sit on your desk with everything connected to it so that I just plug in the Thuderbolt cable to my MacBook Pro when I get to my office.

I’ve connected a couple of hard drives to it for testing and  noticed no difference in speed. The other ports seem to work as expected.

The Bottom Line

This dock has been a long time coming. For a MacBook Pro owner it’s nice to have. For a MacBook Air owner it becomes an even better accessory since MacBook Airs have even fewer ports built-in to them. I would have loved to have seen one more Thunderbolt port and for the price I feel that it should have included a Thunderbolt cable. Otherwise it’s a solid piece of gear that will make my MacBook Pro feel even more like a desktop computer when I’m at my desk.

You can get the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock here.

You can get the needed Thunderbolt Cable here.

What’s New In Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, InDesign CC and Muse CC?

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Today Adobe took the wraps off all NEW versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Adobe Muse and more. The Creative Suite (CS) Applications have been rebranded Creative Cloud (CC). I’m here to give you your first look at these applications and to share my Top 5 Favorite Features in each one. I’ve created a Creative Cloud Learning Center playlist on my YouTube channel and added my four new videos to it. I’ll continue to add more videos on Creative Cloud in the coming weeks and months. The NEW CC versions will be available to Creative Cloud Members on June 17th.

Note: Currently there are no plans to add new features to Creative Suite. Creative Suite 6 will continue to be available indefinitely for those that aren’t ready or don’t want to go to Creative Cloud. Also Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Acrobat Professional will continue to be sold as perpetual licenses. This probably brings up a lot of questions and we’ve tried to anticipate as many as possible. Go here to get answers.

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Watch Me in The Adobe MAX Keynote Live Today

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I have the honor of being on stage today at the Adobe MAX Keynote in Los Angeles. I’ll be showing some never seen before new technologies and you can watch the LIVE STREAM. That’s right, even if you didn’t make it to Adobe MAX this year you can still watch the keynote. It will air from 9:30-11:30am PT (GMT -7) and you can sign up to watch it here. I think this will be the largest audience I’ve ever presented in front of live and I look forward to seeing you at MAX or at least knowing you’re watching from where ever you are in the world!

What I’m Teaching at Adobe MAX – The Creativity Conference Next Week

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I’m looking forward to seeing many of you next week at Adobe MAX – The Creativity Conference in Los Angeles. The show kicks off Monday for me with the Day 1 Keynote and sessions.

  • Monday, May 6th – 9:30am – 11:30am – A Creative Evolution – Keynote (Register to Watch the Keynote Online Here)
  • Monday, May 6th – 3:30pm – 4:30pm – Adobe Muse – Creating HTML Websites Without Coding
  • Monday, May 6th – 5:00pm – 6:30pm – Self Publishing on iPad – B.Y.O.D. LAB
  • Tuesday, May 7th – 10:00am – 11:30am – Community Inspires Creativity – Keynote
  • Tuesday, May 7th – 4:00pm – 5:00pm – Adobe Design Evangelists Shootout
  • Wednesday, May 8th – 9:30am – 10:30am – Creating Engaging Web Design with Adobe Muse
  • Wednesday, May 8th – 5:00pm – 6:00pm – Creating Engaging Web Design with Adobe Muse

Want to save $300 on Adobe MAX? Use this promo code: MXSM13

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