Adobe Photoshop World ’08 Vegas Keynote Video

Adobe Photoshop World Keynote Address

I had a blast at Photoshop World ’08 Vegas and I want to take this opportunity to thank those of you who stopped by and said hello. As usual Adobe’s SVP of the Creative Business Unit – Johnny L used the Adobe Keynote Address to show off some never before seen technologies that are coming in CS4 and beyond. Be sure to check out my exclusive video of the keynote here on my Creative Suite Podcast.

I also want to congratulate my friend John Nack on his induction into the Photoshop Hall of Fame!

See more photos from this year’s event here.

I also want to thank those of you who attended my theater session in the Adobe booth, my InDesign classes on the conference track and my lighting and shooting tethered into Lightroom session at the Westcott booth. I really appreciate the support!

Thats me teaching in the Westcott booth

That’s me showing off the NEW bulbs for the Westcott Spiderlite TD5 system and how to shoot tethered into Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2. Photo by Sarah K.


iPhone App of the Week – Save Benjis

Apple iTunes

My friends keep telling me how much they appreciated My Top 10 Favorite iPhone Apps post. They liked it because I not only said which were my favorite apps, but why they were my favorites. Well I as stated in the post, this list would always be changing. I discover new cool apps all the time. There are over 1,600 apps for the iPhone and iPod touch on the App Store and more and more are coming each week. So I decided to do a weekly review (no promises) of an app that stands out and that I really enjoy using.


This week’s app is Save Benjis

Actually it’s about saving money (save Benjamins). We’ve all done it! You’re standing there in the aisle of a store. You’re holding a product in your hand. You’re looking and the price and you’re asking yourself, "is this the best deal?" Save Benjis lets you do a quick check right there on the spot! Simply type in the product name or better yet (for accuracy) the UPC number on the barcode and Save Benjis will lookup the product in question at some of the most popular retailers and etailers.

I used it just the last week and saved a quick $10 in Staples. I was buying another APC UPS unit and the price seemed higher than I thought it should be. I whipped out my iPhone and keyed in the UPC number right off the box. Save Benjis revealed that the $74.99 shelf price was indeed HIGH. As a matter of fact it was $10 higher than their own web price and even cheaper just about everywhere else. Since I wanted the unit right then and there (didn’t want to wait or pay for shipping), I asked the cashier if they would match their own web price. They said, "no problem." If I decided to get it from one of the lower cost sources I could either have the app take me right to the appropriate page in Safari on the iPhone or email me the link to buy it later when I get home. In this example (not including shipping) I could have saved $25 off the shelf price of Staples by ordering it from TigerDirect.


Save Benjis is FREE and works with both the iPhone and iPod touch. However, for touch users it may not be as useful because you would need a Wi-Fi connection to do an on the spot comparison. Thanks to Adam Pratt for turning me on to this app.

Quiet! I’m trying to sleep!

Tis the season for power outages! Last year I invested in a whole-house natural gas backup generator. I work from home (and am spoiled rotten by power consuming technology) and therefore, I can’t stand prolonged power outages. Remember the blackout of 2003? Buying the generator was like buying insurance. Once you have it, you never seem to need it (and I’m ok with that). The power has not been off for more than 5 minutes since I had it installed. Figures right? Well that all changed a couple of nights ago. The power went off at 4:30 AM Saturday morning! How do I know the exact time you ask? Well when the utility power goes off, my generator kicks on within 10-15 seconds and powers the whole house. It’s located on the opposite end from by bedrooms so I never hear it. Normally I would have slept right through such a faint motor sound. However, I have APC UPS (uninterruptible power supplies) throughout my house to provide backup battery power for my gear for those few seconds that it takes the generator to fire up. It was on this night that I found out what it’s like to have 10 APC UPS systems go off at once!

APC Battery backups "BEEP" when there is a loss of power. The idea is is that this will alert you so that you can go to your computer, save your files, exit your apps and do a normal shutdown until main power is restored. In my case that should only be 10-15 seconds right? Well not quite. I found out the hard way that UPS systems are very sensitive to the actual quality of the power being supplied to them and it seems that generator power is not quite good enough when the APC units are on their default setting of "high senstivity". So my UPS systems continued to stay on an BEEP even though there was "power." Needless to say I wasn’t able to sleep through it. At this point I wanted to yank these things out of the wall, throw them in a pile and light a match! Even my larger ones that did not stay on continuously beeped every 10-20 seconds to let me know that line conditions were not ideal.

I remember after the initial installation and testing of my generator (the UPS’s were beeping then too) that my generator installer told me that I would need to change the settings on my UPS systems to make them less "sensitive." In fact I did just that on my larger units and didn’t know of any way to do this for my smaller units. However, it didn’t stop the beeping! Since I was awake anyway, I grabbed my laptop and Googled "turn off the APC beep" and the results lead me to various discussion threads (some really old) about how it could be done with the supplied APC Power Chute software. That’s where the fun began!


Windows to the rescue?

As most of you know, I’m a Mac guy. I have nothing against Windows or Windows users, I just prefer the Mac and have used the Mac OS since 1984. So let’s not get into that debate here. However, I also run Windows XP on my MacBook Pro via Boot Camp and Parallels. Why am I bringing up Windows? Well as it turns out, APC makes the Power Chute software for both Mac and Windows. However, the two versions differ as much as night and day. The Mac version is very basic and simply allows the Mac to communicate with the APC units and if there is a power outage the Mac will automatically do a shut down.

Here’s the interface to the Mac version of Power Chute:

Guess what? You don’t even need their software for this. Apple has built that functionality into the Mac OS via the Energy Saver System Prefs:

So if you’re a Mac user, don’t even bother installing the APC software. Just plug in the supplied USB cable into your APC and into your Mac and you can control it from the Energy Saver prefs.

As you can see from the above screen grab there is no other controls over the unit itself (nope, nothing under Options either). After doing a little digging, I found that the Windows version offers WAY MORE! So I rebooted my Mac into Windows XP (Parallels works too without rebooting, but I wasn’t sure if it would see the APC at the time. Later I tested it and it does.) using Boot Camp and popped in my APC CD that came with my latest unit. It had Power Chute 2.0 for Windows XP and I was floored by the available options:

There were two settings that I needed to change. The first one was under Notifications. I don’t want my APC units beeping EVER! If there is a power outage here, it won’t be for more than a few seconds because my generator will kick on. So therefore, I don’t need to hear any beeps ever! Especially at night. There was even the option to turn off the beeps in the evening and still have them on during the day. However, I don’t want them at all:

The next and most important setting was the magical "Sensitivity" setting. This allows the APC to be a little less sensitive and recognize generator power as being good enough to power my equipment.

I took my laptop around to each APC unit and set these settings for each one. I was back in bed by 6AM for another few hours of sleep. Of course this was on a Saturday when I didn’t have to wake up early! Arggghhhhhhhh!


Shame on you APC

I’m happy that I was able to solve my problem without a single call to APC. If my generator installer had never mentioned a "Sensitivity" setting I would have never known to look for one. I was initially going after disabling the beep sound when I found the Sensitivity section. So it all worked out. However, not all Mac users have Windows installed on their Macs. Since APC bills their units as for both Mac and Windows, I would expect the same level of control over the hardware on either platform. APC you need to provide these same options in the Power Chute for Mac version.

I’m headed to Photoshop World – Vegas!

I’m headed out today to Photoshop World in Las Vegas! This year’s theme is based (loosely) on Star Trek (as you can see from the Orlando poster above). I’m a Trekkie so this is right up my alley. This is one of the few shows that I actually enjoy working. It’s a Photoshop Geek Fest! This is also a chance for me to meet and talk with many of the readers of this very blog. So if you see me, don’t forget to say hi. It makes my day!

I’ll be doing a session in the Adobe Booth Thursday on the CS3 Production Premium with a slant towards photographers. I’ll also be doing two InDesign CS3 sessions Friday on the conference track, not to mention taping a session for Photoshop User TV. You might also catch me doing a lighting session in the Westcott booth as well as some iPhone tips and tricks in the Kelby Training Booth (schedule conflics permitting) It’ll be a busy week and I’ll be exhausted by Friday, but hey-it’s what I do.

Look for my blog post on Thursday with updates from the Adobe Keynote address. I’ll also post video from the keynote on my Adobe Creative Suite Podcast if there is anything new and exciting (and most likely there will be). Johnny L and John Nack never disappoint!

Congratulations PhotoWalk Winners!

The Winner was this Amazing shot by Suhaimi Abdullah, SINGAPORE


I would like to take this opportunity to CONGRATULATE the Winner and the Runner-ups for the Scott Kelby Worldwide PhotoWalk. I know Scott had a really hard time picking not only a winner, but 10 runner-ups. The shots were amazing from all over the world.

I was also extremely happy to see that one of my Detroit photographers grabbed a spot in the top 10! Congratulations Jim Howe from Ann Arbor Michigan for your fantastic shot of the Ren Cen.


I hope that this becomes an annual event and regardless, I will be doing more photowalks here in Michigan. So stay tuned…

A Great Watch

There is one piece of technology that we pretty much all take for granted and that is our watches. Yep, most of us wear one, and I’m no different. As a matter of fact you might expect my watch (being a gadget junky) to be all techy and loaded with features. However, my watches are usually quite simple. They tell time and maybe they show the date. I don’t even own a digital watch. I do have a watch that has a USB connection to a built-in thumb drive, but I don’t like it as a watch, so I never wear it.

The one thing that drives me insane is having to constantly replace my watch batteries. There is a watch band store near where I live and it seems like I’m always in there getting a new watch battery. After my last one went dead in what seemed like a relatively short amount of time, I was fed up! As a matter of fact the watch store (which makes a good business selling watch batteries) had a huge banner add for Citizen ECO Drive watches. These watches NEVER need batteries. They are powered by light! According to Citizen they can even go for 6 months in the dark on a full charge. This Solar technology can charge from any light source. The engery cell is designed to last a lifetime.

So I ordered the Citizen Eco Drive Men’s Stiletto Two Tone Watch back at the beginning of July and it’s one of the best watches I’ve ever owned. It’s pretty freeing to just set it and forget it. Plus I like the style. Citizen has a complete line of Eco Drive watches for both men and women.

I do have one tip for those who have battery driven watches. You can prolong the battery life of watches that you don’t wear all the time by simply pulling the stem out (like you would to set it) and usually this will effectively turn the watch off until you push the stem back in. Granted you’ll have to reset the time when you’re ready to use it, but at least it won’t be draining the battery while it’s sitting in a drawer.

Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk – Detroit

The Detroit group for the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk. Photo by Joseph Grey


This past weekend over 8,000 photographers from around the world participated in Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk to promote his NEW Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers. Over 200 cities from around the world were included and I’ve seen some AMAZING photos already from various places.

Of course I used this opportunity to also give my new di-GPS Pro a workout. So you can click on any of the geotagged photos below to see where I was when I took them. These were all taken with my Nikon D300 and 18-200mm VR lens.

I lead the Detroit walk and we had an absolute BLAST! Everyone was in good spirits and we just had a good time hanging out on Detroit’s International Riverfront and walking up and down the Riverwalk. It’s always interesting to see what 40-50 different photographers shooting the same location come up with. Every one’s “eye” is different and therefore you get different perspectives. I saw photos of things that I said “wow, I wish I had thought to shoot that that way!” So it was a learning experience for me and I can’t wait to do more of these. What was even more amazing was that there were no Canon vs. Nikon fights. :) I’m just kidding, we did have to break up a couple, but at the end of the day they were hugging so it was all good. (OK, I’m totally joking, we all got along great)

I did manage to get some good shots and although I’m not eligible for the contest, I had fun shooting and posting my shots nonetheless.

I grabbed this shot of my good friend Chita. I couldn’t resist. There was something about her eyes that drew me in. :)

These kids were having a ball running up and down through the fountain. Some of the other photographers got some award winning shots of these two. Sadly, mine were just “ok”.

Here’s a shot of my buddy Housain who has that kind of face that just begs to be photographed.


Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 is an amazing upgrade that takes an already great app to the next level! I can’t wait to see Scott’s new book on it.


If you want to see the rest of the shots from the Detroit walk, check them out here. People are still uploading, so check back often.


If you want to see the shots from all the various locations around the world, go here.

iPhone App Wishlist and the 2.0.2 Update

On Monday I wrote a post listing My Top 10 Favorite iPhone Apps and I got a lot of good responses to that post including a couple of suggestions for Apps that I didn’t even know existed (I love iFlix, thanks!). One thing I thought about the next day was “what apps would I like to see?” So here are the Apps that I would LOVE to see on the iPhone and most of them I’d be willing to pay for:


Sling Player for iPhone

When the iPhone SDK was introduced the folks over at Sling said that they were working on a player for the iPhone. This player would probably only work over 3g and Wi-Fi due to the bandwidth requirements. I haven’t heard any official updates lately. How’s it going Sling?


TiVo Scheduler

Now that I have a couple of TiVo HD’s which can be “scheduled” via the web, I’d love to have an iPhone app that would make this easier and faster than using the TiVo website. The app would have to show me my Guide so that I could pick upcoming shows and it would also have to allow for searches. Once I found the show I wanted to record, it would also have to allow me to choose which TiVo box that I wanted to record the show onto.


Sirius/XM Player

Rumor has it that a Sirius/XM Player is under development. This would totally rock! Right now I have Sirius in my car and I’d love to be able to listen to my favorite stations also on my iPhone via a native app. I imagine that this would be a streaming service. However, it would be killer if the stream could be buffered to the iPhone’s internal storage. That way I could listen to this content while on a flight.


Reunion Mobile

I use Leister Pro’s Reunion software to do all my genealogy tracking. Now I know they are working on an iPhone app that will work with the desktop client. So here’s what I want to be able to do with that app: I’d like to be able to look up and make changes on the fly. I’d want my changes/additions to sync to the desktop client either wirelessly (perhaps through a MobileMe connection) and/or via the USB cable. I’d also want the ability to use the iPhone camera to take pictures and add them to the family member’s record.


Nearest Apple Store

I wrote about this a little while back, but I’m floored that Apple hasn’t developed a Location Aware, “Find Your Nearest Apple Store” app. Seems like a no brainer. This App would show you the closest Apple Stores to your current location, hours, class schedules, etc. Take it a step further and let you schedule your Genius Bar appointment. Once you decided on which store you were going to visit, you could tap one button “map” and it would route you directly to the store. I already have an Apple Store POI (points of interest) file for my Garmin Nuvî GPS that can do much of this, it would be great to have it on my iPhone.


Delicious Library

I can’t think of a more Pro Apple developer than Delicious Monster. I love their media cataloging app, Delicious Library. I’d love to simply be able to take my catalog with me on my iPhone. Take it step further so that If I’m out and I buy a movie on DVD/Blu-ray that I could add it to my catalog right then and there while I’m in the checkout lane. This app would need to sync to the desktop client as well.


iPhone 2.0.2 Update

iPhone 2.0.2 update

By the way, I didn’t really cover anything about the iPhone 2.0.2 update because I wanted to give it a day or two to see If I noticed a difference. Most reviewers post an immediate post saying that things are faster. Well that could be due to the fact that they just rebooted their iPhones after the update was applied. So I wanted to really see if there were any improvements. Apple has been really quiet with the 2.0.1 and 2.0.2 updates simply stating “bug fixes” in the description. So they are leaving it up to us to try to speculate what’s better and what’s not. That’s really frustrating and It would be nice if they posted a list of “areas” that were addressed. Anyway, for 2.0.2 the ONE area that I definitely see an improvement in is stability in Safari. I haven’t had a single Safari crash since applying the update. If they fixed nothing else, I’ll take that fix! I was getting kinda tired of going to websites that were somewhat complex and then moments later being returned to the Home screen because the browser crashed. Other than that I haven’t noticed any other specific improvements, however I would say that the iPhone 2.0.2 update has made the iPhone less crash prone overall. Again, this is speculation on my part after a couple days of use. No real issues with the update, although I do have a minor thing happening in that when I’m home on Wi-Fi, the display still says 3g. Wi-Fi is on and connected (because I can use the Remote app), but the display doesn’t always update. No big deal, but hey it was working properly before the 2.0.2 update.


Has the iPod touch Killed Rapid iPhone Feature Updates?

When Apple first introduced the iPhone, Steve promised us feature updates along the way. For the most part we were getting those updates every couple of months (1.1.1 – 9/27/2007, 1.1.2 – 11/12/2007, 1.1.3 – 1/16/2008, 1.1.4 – 2/26/2008). Each update brought us a few new features and fixes. However, once Apple introduced the iPod touch (which runs on the same OS as the iPhone), the feature updates slowed down quite a bit. The problem with having both devices share the same OS is the way Apple recognizes revenue from the sales of each device. For example, the iPhone revenue recognition is spread out over the year. This allows Apple to add features to the iPhone for FREE without having to restate revenue. However, that is not the case with iPod sales. So that’s why when Apple introduces the same new features for the iPod touch they have to charge something for the update. The last update to 2.0 was free for iPhone users, but cost iPod touch users $9.95.

Here’s the problem: If Apple were to release new features for the iPhone AND iPod touch every couple of months like they had been doing for the iPhone last year, then iPod touch users would really start to feel nickel and dimed because Apple would have to charge them “something” for each update. Now it is possible for Apple to release new feature updates that only affect the phone side of the iPhone. This way they could release the same update for both devices with fixes and phone features that were specific to the iPhone. However, this means that we probably won’t see frequent feature updates for the overall device (the iPhone) like we were seeing last year. Maybe this is a moot point now that 3rd party apps are here. Food for thought though. I think Apple has its hands full at the moment working on bugs. So we’ll see what happens.

CS3 Government Briefing in DC

I’m here in Washington DC at the Grand Hyatt Hotel for the Creative Suite Briefing for US Government. We have over 500 people registered for this event. I’m here with my colleagues: Dave Helmly, Steve Whatley, Jerry Silverman, Tim Conrad and Clint Funk – showing the Creative Suite 3 Master Collection. This full day event started out with a really enthusiastic showing of Acrobat 9 and Photoshop CS3 and then breakouts this afternoon for Web and Video.
I’m posting this blog entry live using Adobe Contribute CS3 during my keynote address.

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