CS3 Tour – Live in Seattle!

Great Crowd!

I’m at the sixth stop on the Adobe CS3: Creative License Tour here in Seattle at the Adobe University Room at the Adobe offices. We have over 200 people signed up for the event today. We actually saw the sun yesterday :-). Lisa Forrester is doing the Design Premium Suite, Abbas Rizvi is doing the Web Premium Suite and Kevan O’Brien is once again doing the Production Premium Suite.
This is the last of the one day cities so I hope to see you in LA or New York for the two day events.

I’m doing this post live during my keynote using Adobe Contribute CS3.

Just say no to HDD and MiniDVD camcorders

Just say no image

Life in the Digital Video space used to be simple. You would buy any Mini DV based camcorder you wanted, pop in a tape, hit record and when you were done, you could hook up that camcorder to your computer via its Firewire (IEEE 1394) port and edit away. Just about every editing app out there supports editing standard DV content from these camcorders. Life isn’t so simple anymore and consumers are paying the price of this new level of confusion. Not only are there standard DV camcorders out there, but there are HDV camcorders. These are still cool. Many pros will argue that HDV is an interim standard and something better is coming. So don’t buy these. I happen to think it’s OK to buy HDV because these camcorders still use regular mini-DV tapes, the video quality is better than DV and they have Firewire ports on them. Most current editing apps can edit in HDV format so life is still good.

If all you want to do is shoot video and then play it on your TV as is, you can stop reading here and have a nice day.

It’s the other two types of camcorders that are driving me insane: HDD and mini DVD. Consumers are getting confused an running out buying HDD camcorders thinking they’re getting HD (high-def). The HDD stands for Hard Disk Drive and that’s where the problem comes in. These consumer camcorders have hard drives built-in which is a REALLY COOL IDEA! However, the problem is the camcorder doesn’t record standard DV or HDV to these drives. It records in some super compressed MPEG format that for the most part is next to impossible to edit in. Most of the popular video editing apps don’t support editing in these formats. So you’re stuck using the lame software that came with the camera or finding a utility that converts the video to something usable. The other format mini DVD actually records the video onto a miniature DVD disc. This is fine for the person that just wants to shoot and watch and do NO EDITING! Again, the format is MPEG2 based which doesn’t lend itself to editing. Most apps don’t edit MPEG2 video. While the concept of having a hard drive built-in to a camcorder is appealing, the thought of recording directly to a DVD disc escapes me. Very rarely do I show people my raw footage. I want the ability to edit it down and spruce it up a bit. So why would I want a camcorder that records directly to a playback media?

Why I’m fried about this at the moment?

I’m working a project for a cousin of mine. Her family is having a rather large family reunion this summer and they had the idea of making a DVD and include videos from the various relatives scattered about the US. I’ll be the one creating this DVD and doing all the video editing. Sounds great right? Well it does until you realize you’re working with people that don’t know the first thing about video (good lighting and audio, let’s not even go there). They asked me to recommend a camcorder to one relative who was going out to buy one for this particular event. I should have been way more specific, but I said any mini DV camcorder they get should be fine. So weeks go by and I get the first package in the mail which was supposed to contain the tape so that I could start the editing process. I open the package and it’s a mini DVD disc. ARGGGH! Luckily I remembered the great app HandBrake and was able to convert the DVD into an MP4 format that I could edit with.

Last weekend the last of the relatives came over for the final shooting and one brought her camcorder that she used to video other relatives while she was traveling. At first glance it looked small and I thought it was a standard mini DV camcorder. Of course it wasn’t. It was a JVC HDD camcorder. The files were in a strange .MOI format. Luckily a quick search on Google lead me to a $40 utility that allowed me to convert the .MOI files into standard DV.

So yeah, I’m a little annoyed at where this industry is going and where consumers are getting caught up in the cross fire. Yes, I’m all for advancements in video and hard drive based camcorders make perfect sense. However, let’s make the hard drives removable (like tapes) and lets make it so that they have the option of recording in standard DV for editing.

OK, that’s the end of my rant. Time to get back to editing.

CS3 Tour – Live in Boston

I’m here in Boston at the Hynes Convention Center which is the fifth stop on the CS3: Creative License Tour. We have close to 500 registered for this event. I’m here with my colleagues: Sebastian Distefano – showing the Design Premium Suite, Kyle Thompson – showing the Web Premium Suite and Kevan O’Brien showing the all new CS3 Production Premium Suite. Boston is always a great crowd and we hope to learn a lot about Adobe Creative Suite 3 throughout the day.

I’m posting this blog entry live using Adobe Contribute CS3 during my keynote address. I hope to see you at one of the upcoming cities.

News from Apple’s WWDC

Leopard disc

OK, I don’t think anyone is shocked by Apple showing a near final version of it’s next operating system Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard (with over 300 new features) at its World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), however, I must admit to being a little puzzled by the announcement that they’re bringing Safari (Apple’s web browser) to Windows. I’m not sure what the benefit to Apple is here? Is this just something to tick off Bill? Probably. I would have much rather they brought out iChat AV for Windows. Now that’s something that would be useful for both sides. However, I will download the public beta for both Mac and PC and give it a spin. It’s supposedly up to twice as fast as IE 7 on Windows and 1.6 times faster than Firefox. The real question is will Windows users download and use it? One benefit that we could gain from this is that more sites would support Safari if more users were using it. So maybe that’s Apple’s real agenda here. The next “Get a Mac” ad should be funny if PC is using Safari.

In other WWDC news the iPhone will gain 3rd party apps that are written in Web 2.0. Apple is trying to maintain this balancing act between allowing developers to add apps, but also maintaining security and stability. Apparently Web 2.0 gives them that. I’m not that familiar with the Web 2.0 development environment so I can’t speak to what’s possible and what’s not. However, I’m quite pleased that 3rd parties now can step in and hopefully fill some of the potential iPhone gaps. It’s all good.

UPDATE: You can watch the Keynote here

My Favorite Things…

FavoritesPeople ask me to recommend products and services to them all the time. Sometimes they take my advice, sometimes they don’t. But that’s besides the point. Rather than having to constantly go back and dig up a link to a product that I like, to send it to them, I’ve decided to put it all in one place, here on my tech blog. This way you will always be able to tell which products and services I’m currently recommending at any given time. The products and services listed here are the ones that I actually use (or have used in the past) and I don’t get paid to recommend them (other than Adobe products of course. Although I was using and recommending Adobe products long before I worked for the company.) Most of these companies don’t even know that I exist.

So the next time you’re looking for a hot gadget recommendation or you’re wondering what I use in any given category, you can just take a peek at "My Favorite Things" to find out. I’ll keep the page updated as I swap out my gear over time.

Adobe releases a new version of GoLive!

Adobe GoLive 9 CD Case

After the aquistion of Macromedia, people really questioned the future of certain products like Adobe GoLive and Macromedia Freehand. As far as the latter goes, Adobe did officially announce the end of the line for new Freehand versions. Adobe will continue to sell Freehand MX to those customers that need it. Adobe also promised that we would see a new version of GoLive. GoLive 9 is here. The difference (in policy/behavior) is that GoLive was/is an active product before the aqusition. Macromedia had already stopped development of Freehand before being aquired by Adobe. That’s why it never saw a Studio 8 upgrade.

Why two products?

That’s Simple. There are two types of customers that do web design/development. Dreamweaver CS3 is aimed at the code savvy developer high-end of the market. It is the industry leader in this space and that’s why it’s included in CS3. GoLive 9 is aimed at both code-savvy web professionals and non-coding graphic designers who need to create sophisticated, CSS-based content in an intuitive visual environment. I for one am happy about this (as I most closely fit the GoLive customer model). While I intend to continue getting up to speed on Dreamweaver CS3, all of my existing sites are in GoLive. So therefore it much easier to maintain them in a workflow and tool that I’m used to. GoLive 9 is also a universal binary and therefore runs faster on my intel based Macs. Yes, it runs on Vista too.

Can you switch over to Dreamweaver CS3?

Absolutely! If you want to move from GoLive to Dreamweaver, you can. It’s included in many of the CS3 suites. Also Adam Pratt and Lynn Grillo (GoLive gurus) have created an Adobe GoLive to Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 Migration Guide. There is also a GL2DW Site Migration Extension.

What if I want to stay with GoLive for now, what are my upgrade options?

The upgrade to GoLive 9 is $169 from GL 6, CS, CS2, or Creative Suite CS Premium or Creative Suite CS2 Premium. Education price on GoLive 9 is $79.

Will Adobe keep making GoLive forever?

Whether we see a version 10 of GoLive or not is quite honestly up to the customer base. If GoLive 9 is a hit, then Adobe will likely pay attention to that success.

What are the new features in GoLive 9?

Best to head over to the Adobe site and check them out there. You can also download a trial version and take it for a spin.

Is it really that hard to get up in the morning?

The new Runaway Alarm Clock is designed for those who hit the snooze button too often. OK, here goes: When you hit the snooze button on this alarm clock it rolls off your nightstand and "hides" (no I’m not making this up, that’s what it says in the description). It keeps sounding until you get up and chase it down to turn it off. I’m not a morning person either, but this is just silly. Especially since this puppy costs $50! Couldn’t you just put your existing alarm across the room?

I had to create a new category on my blog for products like this. It’s called "Wacky!" When I find something technically outrageous, I’ll post it there.

Apple Updates MacBook Pro

2007 MacBook Pro Line

I now know how to predict when Apple will update their MacBook Pro notebooks. It seems as soon as I upgrade to a larger hard drive in my MacBook Pro, Apple then goes ahead and announce a new model with the same or similar large drive that I just upgraded to (250GB @ 5400rpms) as an option on a newer, faster model that can hold more RAM. That’s exactly what they just did today! However, the 250GB drive that they offer as an option only spins at 4200 rpms and the Western Digital drive I just upgraded to is at 5400 rpms. So no envy here.

Other envious enhancements include: Intel Santa Rosa based Core 2 Duo processors up to 2.4 GHz on the 17 inch model, LED-backlit displays which are power efficient and contain no mercury, the ability to go up to a native resolution of 1920-by-1200 pixels on the the 17" model (High Def?) via the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT card which has a Dual-Link DVI port, and of course now being able to upgrade to 4GB of RAM on both the 15 inch and 17 inch models. This should be one smokin’ notebook!

Here are the complete specs:

Quoted from http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2007/06/05mbp.html:

Apple Updates MacBook Pro

Pricing & Availability
The new MacBook Pro models are now shipping and will be available through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

The 2.2 GHz, 15-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of $1,999 (US), includes:

  • 15.4-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1440-by-900 LCD display;
  • 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor;
  • 2GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 4GB;
  • 120GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
  • a slot-load 8x SuperDrive® with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 128MB GDDR3 memory;
  • DVI-out port for external display (VGA-out adapter included, Composite/S-Video out adapter sold separately);
  • built-in Dual Link support for driving Apple 30-inch Cinema HD Display;
  • built-in iSight video camera;
  • Gigabit Ethernet port;
  • built-in AirPort Extreme® 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR;
  • ExpressCard/34 expansion card slot;
  • two USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, and one FireWire 400 port;
  • one audio line in and one headphone out port, each supporting optical digital audio;
  • Scrolling TrackPad and illuminated keyboard;
  • the infrared Apple Remote; and
  • 85 Watt Apple MagSafe Power Adapter.

The 2.4 GHz, 15-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of $2,499 (US), includes:

  • 15.4-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1440-by-900 LCD display;
  • 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor;
  • 2GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 4GB;
  • 160GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
  • a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB GDDR3 memory;
  • DVI-out port for external display (VGA-out adapter included, Composite/S-Video out adapter sold separately);
  • built-in Dual Link support for driving Apple 30-inch Cinema HD Display;
  • built-in iSight video camera;
  • Gigabit Ethernet port;
  • built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR;
  • ExpressCard/34 expansion card slot;
  • two USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, and one FireWire 400 port;
  • one audio line in and one headphone out port, each supporting optical digital audio;
  • Scrolling TrackPad and illuminated keyboard;
  • the infrared Apple Remote; and
  • 85 Watt Apple MagSafe Power Adapter.

The 2.4 GHz, 17-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of $2,799 (US), includes:

  • 17-inch widescreen 1680-by-1050 LCD display;
  • 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor;
  • 2GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 4GB;
  • 160GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
  • a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB GDDR3 memory;
  • DVI-out port for external display (VGA-out adapter included, Composite/S-Video out adapter sold separately);
  • built-in Dual Link support for driving Apple 30-inch Cinema HD Display;
  • built-in iSight video camera;
  • Gigabit Ethernet port;
  • built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR;
  • ExpressCard/34 expansion card slot;
  • three USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, and one FireWire 400 port;
  • one audio line in and one headphone out port, each supporting optical digital audio;
  • Scrolling TrackPad and illuminated keyboard;
  • the infrared Apple Remote; and
  • 85 Watt Apple MagSafe Power Adapter.

Additional build-to-order options for the MacBook Pro include the ability to upgrade to a 160GB (5400 rpm), 160GB (7200 rpm), 200GB (4200 rpm) or a 250GB (4200 rpm) hard drive, up to 4GB DDR2 SDRAM, Apple MagSafe Airline Adapter, Apple USB Modem, glossy widescreen display, 17-inch 1920-by-1200 high-resolution display and the AppleCare Protection Plan.

CS3 Tour – Toronto – Live!

Toronto CS3 Audience

I’m here in Toronto at the Carlu which is the fourth stop on the CS3: Creative License Tour. We have over 500 registered for this event. I’m here with my Canadian colleagues: Sebastian Distefano, Abbas Rizvi and Colin Smith. They’ll be doing the Design and Web Premium spots. Kevan O’Brien is here once again to wow the audience with the CS3 Production Premium Suite.

I’m posting this blog entry live using Adobe Contribute CS3 during my keynote address. I hope to see you at one of the upcoming cities.

Terry White giving the keynote and CS3 Master Collection Demo

Colin Smith and Sebastian Distefano

Colin Smith and Sebastian Distefano came out to there own theme music “White & Nerdy”
"Weird Al" Yankovic - Straight Outta Lynwood - White & Nerdy (Parody of "Ridin'" By Chamillionaire featuring Krayzie Bone)

Abbas Rizvi, Kevan O'Brien, Beatrice Noble

Abbas Rizvi, Kevan O’Brien and Beatrice Noble

The iPhone is coming June 29th

iPhone coming June 29th

The most anticipated gadget of 2007 is coming June 29th. Apple has announced the ship date of the iPhone in the US via 3 New TV Ads. No idea yet on the final feature set or quantities that will be available, but you can bet that sales will be brisk on day one. So now I’m just waiting to see who will be first to start camping out at their local AT&T or Apple Store to be first in line to get one?

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