Adobe Creative Suite 6 Kicks!

cs6banner.jpg

If you’re doing any­thing at all cre­at­ive with your com­puter, you’re likely aware of the excel­lent suite of cre­at­ive tools from Adobe (coin­cid­ent­ally called the Adobe Cre­at­ive Suite).

Well earli­er today, Adobe announced a huge upgrade to the suite, Adobe Cre­at­ive Suite 6 — CS6 — which con­tains a lot of new fea­tures to all products with­in the suite and is also designed to drive Adobe users to their new sub­scrip­tion-based (and also announced today) Cre­at­ive Cloud ser­vice

Aimed at the ser­i­ous cre­at­ive hob­bi­est or pro­fes­sion­al, Adobe Cre­at­ive Suite has long con­tained many of the industry-stand­ard cre­at­ive tools includ­ing Pho­toshop and Illus­trat­or.

Creative_Suite_6_Design_Standard_mnemonic_RGB_300px.jpgAnd if you’ve been using an older ver­sion of Adobe Cre­at­ive Suite, here’s some of the new fea­ture you’ll find in CS6.

  • Con­tent-Aware image retouch­ing tools
    Retouch images with stun­ning res­ults in Pho­toshop Exten­ded. Use the Remix tool to move a selec­tion with auto-recom­pose and blend. Con­tent-Aware Patch lets you con­trol patch samples.
  • Flu­id grid lay­out for mobile devices
    Design and devel­op con­fid­ently for mobile devices with advanced tools in Dream­weaver CS6, includ­ing CSS3-based lay­outs that scale respons­ively to vir­tu­ally all screen sizes and form factors.
  • Glob­al Per­form­ance Cache
    Cre­ate more in less time with unpre­ced­en­ted 64-bit Per­form­ance. This revolu­tion “under the hood” makes After Effects CS6 fast and respons­ive by tak­ing full advant­age of the power in your computer’s hard­ware.
  • Extraordin­ary image edit­ing
    Use the Mix­er Brush and Bristle Tips in Pho­toshop CS6 Exten­ded to explore life­like, nat­ur­ally tex­tured paint­ing. Add dimen­sion to your imagery with 3D extru­sions using Adobe Repoussé tech­no­logy, and make pre­cise image selec­tions with Truer Edge tech­no­logy.
  • Inter­act­ive doc­u­ments and present­a­tions
    Cre­ate mem­or­able doc­u­ments and present­a­tions with inter­activ­ity, motion, sound, and video in InDes­ign CS6. Enhance lay­outs with rich media using motion pre­sets and sup­port for FLV and MP3 audio file import to engage your audi­ences.

As with pre­vi­ous CS releases, Adobe has bundled tools into vari­ous con­fig­ur­a­tions and pri­cing. Accord­ing to Adobe’s news release, CS6 and Cre­at­ive Cloud will be avail­able with­in 30 days — we’ll update this post when we have pre­cise details on their arrival and pri­cing at Future Shop.

[ad#Future Shop Post Attri­bu­tion]

Taking a look at free online storage options

UPDATES Wow, anoth­er one today (Thursday, April 12, 2012). Log­MeIn has entered the ‘cloud stor­age space’ space by announ­cing the invite-only beta of Cubby — which gives you Drop­Box-like access to 5GB. I’ve reques­ted an invite and will post about it when I have some hands-on time.
Drop­Box has doubled the amount of free space they’re giv­ing out through refer­rals and Spider Oak is also in my test­ing suite. It starts out with 2GB free, and I’ve just opened my account so I’ve just star­ted test­ing, but you can expect I’ll write about it in a week or two. If you want to check it out, here’s an affil­i­ate link (which will get you one extra GB of stor­age!).

Cur­rently, the latest buzz is all about a pos­sible April launch of Google’s much-anti­cip­ated free cloud stor­age app called dubbed GDrive.

Reports say it’ll come with a loc­al, desktop cli­ent for most oper­at­ing sys­tems that will enable you to store and access about 1GB of files in the Cloud. Nice.

But it’s not here yet, and there are already oth­er excel­lent cloud / drive solu­tions that offer the same or bet­ter. While it’s hard to com­pare apples to apple (dif­fer­ent pro­viders offer dif­fer­ent stor­age and util­ity pack­ages) here’s my thoughts on the cur­rent lead­ers:

Drop­box
The cur­rent mar­ket lead­er, offers 2GB free, desktop and mobile cli­ents for all lead­ing hard­ware. Recently, Drop­Box has become more act­ive in the enter­prise space offer­ing solu­tions for groups and teams.
Affil­i­ate pro­gram allows you to expand your stor­age space by sign­ing up friends etc. Nice that it’s pretty seam­less. Install the app on your device, log in, and your files are instantly access­ible. I’ve writ­ten before about Drop­box here and here.

My affil­i­ate link is here, if you want to check out Drop­box.

Sug­ar­Sync
Sug­ar­Sync ups the ante a bit by offer­ing a free 5GB account. They also have a nifty desktop cli­ent, great web inter­face, and the abil­ity to extend your stor­age capa­city through an affil­i­ate pro­gram (sign­ing up your friends, blog­ging about it, etc). Here’s my affil­i­ate link if you feel so inclined to check it out:

Box
Recently made the news by announ­cing Box OneCloud — a col­lec­tion of mobile apps designed to work with Box’s cloud stor­age sys­tems:

Sign­ing up to Box gets you an ini­tial 5GB of stor­age, but they often run pro­mo­tions with prizes up to 50GB.

While Box does offer free cli­ents for mobile devices, if you want to have the seam­less integ­ra­tion of Drop­box or Sug­ar­Sync, you’ll have to upgrade to the $15/month Box busi­ness plan.

Microsoft Live Sky­Drive
This is the big sur­prise — Microsoft is offer­ing 25GB of stor­age, Mobile apps, online MS Office integ­ra­tion (and you don’t need to have Office installed loc­ally), group col­lab­or­a­tion, and pub­lic file shar­ing.

For example, here’s a pub­lic link to an Empire Aven­ue pro­mo­tion­al video, stored in my pub­lic Sky­Drive space.

Cur­rently there isn’t a desktop cli­ent avail­able, so you will need to use the web inter­face (which is quite slick, even in Chrome and Fire­fox) to man­age your files. But a Win­dows and OSX desktop cli­ent is rumored to be avail­able shortly.

One or many?
Well, for me, I’m actu­ally using a mix­ture of these. Drop­box is my daily go-to stor­age solu­tion, simply because I’ve been using it for so long.

Sug­ar­Sync I’m using to keep some backup files stored safely. Box, well, I’m not con­sist­ent in my use of it, and Sky­Drive, well that’s my new darling. I’ve neg­lected it for a while but now will be try­ing to integ­rate it into my work­flow wherever I can. And yeah, you’ll here from me if there’s prob­lems.

So, did I miss any­thing? What’s your online stor­age solu­tion look like?

Have you backed up your data today?

backup.jpg

Today is World Backup Day, I’m told, but to be frank, every day you should be think­ing about the safety of your data, there’s just too much of it that’s irre­place­able.

So, today, I’m going to take a quick look at some of the backup sys­tems I use and have in place. Yes, I said sys­tems. No one backup sys­tem is infal­lible, so redund­ancy is import­ant.

And, of course, this is my think­ing on the sub­ject. You may have dif­fer­ing opin­ions, which is great, as long as you are back­ing up :smileyhappy:
Con­tin­ue read­ing “Have you backed up your data today?”

Keeping your holiday photos safe

fz50.jpgThe hol­i­day sea­son is upon us, which means that we’ll be enjoy­ing time spent with fam­ily and friends. Many of us will grab our handy cam­era-enabled data phones and snap price­less shots that we’ll want to share, and keep for pos­ter­ity.

But that’s where the tech can get a bit tricky. Sure, we’ve tried shar­ing to our vari­ous Face­book, Flickr and Picasa accounts, but what about the ‘sav­ing for pos­ter­ity’ part.

Pho­tos in the Cloud
Well, two of those three ser­vices men­tioned above are a great start. Here’s the four that I’ve seen and used that will offer sol­id photo ser­vice over the hol­i­days and into the future:

  • Flickr offers a Pro level account (about $25 per year for unlim­ited photo and video stor­age) that will keep all your pho­tos online and avail­able. Free gives you unlim­ited stor­age, but only your most recent 200 pho­tos are view­able. Online image edit­ing provided by Pic­nik.
  • Picasa has a free account that offers 1GB of free photo stor­age and basic image edit­ing tools.
  • Smug­Mug is pri­ci­er, offers three levels of ser­vice, and is geared toward the more ser­i­ous pho­to­graph­er.
  • Adobe Pho­toshop Express gives you access to basic online photo edit­ing and organ­iz­a­tion tools, and 2GB of free photo stor­age. Addi­tion­al stor­age space can be pur­chased annu­ally.

flickr.jpg

So, what’s so great about stor­ing your pho­tos online any­way?

  1. Backup — you don’t have to worry about keep­ing your images safe; the ser­vice you’re using does that.
  2. Shar­ing — easy to embed the images into blogs, email and twit­ter mes­sages. Each photo usu­ally has a pub­lic URL that’s shar­able (or private, if that’s your thing).
  3. Print­ing — a few of the ser­vices are offer­ing part­ner­ships with pro­fes­sion­al print­ing labs which lets you pro­duce pho­to­books, cus­tom prints etc.
  4. Integ­ra­tion — some of the more pop­u­lar ser­vices are already integ­rated into your iPhone cam­era applic­a­tions (such as Instra­gram). Push a but­ton and your latest shot is uploaded to the ser­vice, ready for you to edit and share.

Loc­al stor­age?
Yep, you can keep your pho­tos on your own com­puter, but you do run risks should your com­puter crash or worse. I do keep the major­ity of my images at home, stored on a net­work attached stor­age device that’s got two drives, one a mir­ror of the oth­er. So if one should die, I’ve got a copy of my data on the oth­er.

Also, I backup my pho­tos weekly, and move the backup drive to an off­s­ite loc­a­tion for even great­er safety. Yeah, a house­fire would ruin a lot of things, but I know my pho­tos and oth­er import­ant data would be safe.

Your needs?
It depends. Take a sol­id think about what you plan to do with your pho­tos, how you want to share them, and how import­ant they are to you (can you afford to lose them?). I’ve likely giv­en you some ideas to try and exper­i­ment with as we head into the hol­i­days. I’d love to hear what you’ve tried and how it worked (or didn’t).

Online backup one of Time’s top 50 websites for 2007

Odds are, if you’re read­ing this, you’ll have read one of my pre­vi­ous art­icles about Mozy, a free (and sub­scrip­tion based) online backup ser­vice.

Well, Time magazine has selec­ted Mozy as one of their top 50 web­sites for this year. Now, which pos­i­tion is actu­ally up to you and me. You see, Time has this nifty vot­ing gad­get that lets you select the spot you feel Mozy should be in.

Now Time is ask­ing users to rank the top 50. If you like Mozy, this is a great oppor­tun­ity to give us some props by vis­it­ing the Time web­site and giv­ing us an appro­pri­ate rank. So here’s how to help: when you get to the web­site, just slide the slider to some­thing like, say, 100, and click the sub­mit but­ton. We really appre­ci­ate the kudos!

Cool idea, and yeah, I like Mozy so I turned the volume up to 11, so to speak.

Tech­nor­ati Tags: , , , ,

Free online backup to the rescue

Recently I had to rebuild the c: drive of my main desktop com­puter. Yes it was a pain. I had many pro­grams installed there, and am still slowly rein­stalling all the ones I use as I use them.

One thing that made the pro­cess easi­er was my online backup. Mozy stored all my pro­gram set­tings and con­fig­ur­a­tion files (you know, the ones that live in c:Documents and Set­ting­suser­name
etc…) safely in their online backup struc­ture. It was an easy mat­ter for me to login to my Mozy account and retrieve them.
That saved me hours of rebuild­ing my set­tings for vari­ous applic­a­tions and games.

Now, the free ver­sion of Mozy isn’t inten­ded as a full sys­tem backup, you only get ~ 2GB of online stor­age. Mozy only backups loc­al drives, so a remov­able or net­work drive will be skipped, but the fact that backup is auto­mated, intel­li­gent, and con­fig­ur­able make it a win­ner.

I’ve also been look­ing at Xdrive (from AOL) recently. It’s 5GB of free online stor­age, but it doesn’t seem to have an auto­mated backup facil­ity. You just drag and drop whatever you want saved there, and gets saved there. It’s more of an online stor­age solu­tion than a backup. Kinda cool if you need to keep your 4GB iPod Nano music where you can get at it online (provided you’re not fire­walled at work or any­thing).

Xdrive allows you to store any file that your com­puter can see, so that does include net­work and remov­able media drives. And with Xdrive, you can share your files or folders, and man­age access to them if need be.

I’ve just star­ted play­ing with Xdrive, but if they just added the back­ground backup func­tion to Xdrive, I think it would chal­lenge Mozy.

Tech­nor­ati Tags: , , , , , ,