Adobe releases Camera Raw 6.1 update

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Date: Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010, 04:37
Category: News, Software

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Early Tuesday, software giant released version 6.1 of its Camera Raw plugin, a program which delivers access to “raw” image formats in professional and mid-range digital cameras from Canon, Fujifilm, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus and others. The new update, a 61.9 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), includes the following fixes and changes:

- This new version of the Camera Raw plug-in replaces the original Camera Raw plug-in that was installed with Adobe Creative Suite 5, Adobe Photoshop CS5.

Support has been added for the following cameras:

- Canon EOS 550D (Digital Rebel T2i/ EOS Kiss X4 Digital)

- Kodak Z981

- Leaf Aptus-II 8

- Leaf Aptus-II 10R

- Mamiya DM40

- Olympus E-PL1

- Olympus E-600

- Panasonic G2

- Panasonic G10

- Sony A450

Camera Raw 6.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Hulu confirms, quickly retracts, vow of HTML5 support for iPad

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Date: Friday, May 14th, 2010, 04:25
Category: iPad, News

Video streaming web site Hulu both posted and quickly retracted a blog post yesterday, the edited form stating that the web site doesn’t see using HTML5 in its immediate future.

Per AppleInsider, Eugene Wei, vice president of product with Hulu, said that his company’s contractual requirements make the transition to HTML5 too difficult. The current player on the website, built with Adobe Flash, does a great deal more than stream video.

“We continue to monitor developments on HTML5, but as of now it doesn’t yet meet all of our customers’ needs,” Wei wrote. “Our player doesn’t just simply stream video, it must also secure the content, handle reporting for our advertisers, render the video using a high performance codec to ensure premium visual quality, communicate back with the server to determine how long to buffer and what bitrate to stream, and dozens of other things that aren’t necessarily visible to the end user.”

The statement would seem to finally put to rest lingering rumors that Hulu might convert to HTML5 for an iPad-friendly site. But it does not mean that iPad users will not be able to access Hulu.

The company is still expected to bring its service to the iPad eventually, through software in the App Store much like the ABC and Netflix streaming players. It is believed Hulu on the iPad will be a pay-only service that would require a monthly subscription.

But the existing, popular ABC application shows programs like “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” for free, with ad support. And that free product has apparently caused concern for Hulu, which is rumored to introduce a US$9.95-per-month subscription plan later this month, on May 24th.

It is believed that Hulu will incentivize its subscription plan with Apple’s iPad, and also offer a “window” where content is available to subscribers, both on computers and the iPad, before it can be seen for free by the general public. Rumors have suggested Hulu’s business partners have pressured the service into subscription plans to “train” viewers that they should pay for online access to content.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple developing its own alternative to Flash via Gianduia

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Date: Monday, May 10th, 2010, 07:57
Category: News, Software

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When in doubt, roll your own.

As the multimedia wars continue between Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight, Apple is using Gianduia, a client-side, standards based framework for Rich Internet Apps that it introduced World of WebObjects Developers Conference last summer, to create its own production quality apps.

Gianduia, named after an Italian hazelnut chocolate, is “essentially is browser-side Cocoa (including CoreData) + WebObjects, written in JavaScript by non-js-haters,” according to a tweet by developer Jonathan “Wolf” Rentzsch. “Jaw dropped.”

After watching the NDA demo Apple gave for the new framework at WOWODC last year, Rentzch also tweeted, “Blown away by Gianduia. Cappuccino, SproutCore and JavascriptMVC have serious competition. Serious.”

Per AppleInsider, SproutCore is the JavaScript framework Apple uses to build the web interface for its desktop-like MobileMe web apps. Cappuccino is another third party JavaScript framework that works as a Cocoa-like API for web apps; it was used to deliver 280Slides, a web app designed to provide most of the functionality of Apple’s Keynote desktop application. JavascriptMVC is also an independent open source project used to develop rich apps within JavaScript for web deployment.

Like Cappuccino, Gianduia takes a Cocoa-inspired name (Cocoa is itself a Java-inspired name) to describe its role as a way for Cocoa developers to bring their skills to rich online applications built using web standards, with no need for a proprietary web plugin like Flash or Silverlight.

While the emerging new support for Rich Internet App features in HTML5 is often pitted competitively against Flash, Gianduia, SproutCore and related frameworks demonstrate that sophisticated web apps are already possible using existing web standards and without web plugins.

Apple retails locations have been noticed using Gianduia to create web app clients (which plug into the company’s WebObjects-based services), for a variety of popular programs over the last several months, including its One-to-One program, iPhone reservation system, and its Concierge service for Genius Bar reservations and Personal Shopping (shown below) programs.

While it’s unknown as to what this will turn into, Apple may be able to work around Flash support for its iPhone OS devices in its own way.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Jobs goes bananas on Adobe Flash in open letter

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Date: Friday, April 30th, 2010, 05:59
Category: News

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In the wake of several weeks of back and forth between Apple and Adobe regarding Flash, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has posted an open letter explaining Apple’s position on Flash, going back to his company’s long history with Adobe and expounding upon six main points of why he thinks Flash is wrong for mobile devices. HTML5 naturally comes up, along with a few reasons you might not expect.

Per Engadget, here’s the breakdown:

It’s not open: “While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.” HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript, on the other hand, exist as open web standards.

The “full web”: Steve responds to Adobe’s claim of Apple devices missing out on “the full web,” with an age-old argument (YouTube) aided by the numerous new sources that have started providing video to the iPhone and iPad in HTML5 or app form like CBS, Netflix, and Facebook. Regarding the games argument, he states that “50,000 games and entertainment titles on the App Store, and many of them are free.” If we were keeping score we’d still call this a point for Adobe.

Reliability, security and performance: Steve states that “Flash is the number one reason Macs crash,” but adds another great point on top of this: “We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it.”

Battery life: “The video on almost all Flash websites currently requires an older generation decoder that is not implemented in mobile chips and must be run in software.”

Touch: Steve hits hard against one of the web’s greatest hidden evils: rollovers. Basically, Flash UIs are built around the idea of mouse input, and would need to be “rewritten” to work well on touch devices. “If developers need to rewrite their Flash websites, why not use modern technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript?”

The most important reason: Steve finally addresses the third party development tools situation by writing that “If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features.”

Jobs concludes in saying that “Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the feedback section.

Apple opens up video decoding APIs to Adobe, other developers

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Date: Monday, April 26th, 2010, 04:36
Category: News, Software

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Sometimes a well-publicized conflict between two large companies can actually lead to something good. Per Macworld, Apple has released information on how third-party developers can take advantage of hardware acceleration for graphics, a previously unavailable feature that’s been blamed for Flash’s poor performance on the Mac platform.

Traditionally, Flash hasn’t performed nearly as well on Mac OS X as it has on Windows, especially when it comes to video playback despite the fact that these days both platforms run on comparably-powerful hardware. Adobe has been adamant thatany performance issues in Flash are the result of Apple not making the necessary video decoding application programming interfaces (APIs) available to developers, thus preventing them from taking advantage of hardware acceleration on Macs that support it.

However, a recently released Apple Technical Note for Mac OS X 10.6.3 details a new Video Decode Acceleration Framework that may help developers. The framework seems to be a relatively simple and straightforward set of APIs to do precisely what Adobe wants: use hardware acceleration to decode raw H.264 video.

“We will be enabling support for hardware accelerated video decoding for Flash Player on Mac,” said Adobe spokesperson Matt Rozen. “Now that the required APIs are available, we are working on an additional Flash Player release to follow shortly after Flash Player 10.1 to include this functionality for the hardware configurations supported by the new APIs.”

Until now, the only way to take advantage of hardware acceleration when decoding video was to use Apple’s QuickTime APIs, which only work with video that is stored in a “traditional” H.264 container, such as an MP4 file. By letting developers use the raw hardware-decoding capabilities of the graphics processors available in many Macs, Apple allows decoding video that is stored in any format, even if it’s not considered “standard.” By communicating directly with the hardware, an application can now decode video regardless of where or how it’s stored.

Unfortunately, the Video Decode Acceleration Framework has its limitations in that it can only take advantage of hardware video decoding with those GPUs that support that functionality. These GPUs include NVIDIA’s GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M, or GeForce GT 330M graphics chipsets and, because they require Mac OS X 10.6.3, the new APIs are only available on Intel-based Macs.

Even with these limitations, Apple may be lending Adobe and other developers the access they need to help improve Flash on Mac OS X or even bring it to the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad somewhere down the line…

Apple replies to Adobe’s plans to stop iPhone Flash development

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 22nd, 2010, 04:04
Category: News

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Sometimes you just wish that the incredibly successful, multi-billion dollar companies you rely on would just say they’re sorry and make up.

Per Macworld UK, Apple has responded to Adobe’s announcement the company has no plans to continue developing iPhone application building technology after Adobe Creative Suite 5.

The decision is blamed on a change in Apple’s iPhone Developer Program License Agreement wherein section 3.3.1 that bans “applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited,” including those tools offered by Adobe.

Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller responded in a statement yesterday: “Someone has it backwards – it is HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and H.264 (all supported by the iPhone and iPad) that are open and standard, while Adobe’s Flash is closed and proprietary.”

Mike Chambers, Principal Product Manager for developer relations for the Flash Platform at Adobe, earlier said the Apple 3.3.1 clause had: “Has the effect of restricting applications built with a number of technologies, including Unity, Titanium, MonoTouch, and Flash CS5.”

“While it appears that Apple may selectively enforce the terms, it is our belief that Apple will enforce those terms as they apply to content created with Flash CS5. Developers should be prepared for Apple to remove existing content and applications (100+ on the store today) created with Flash CS5 from the iTunes store.”

Chambers added that Google’s Android OS was the platform of choice for future development, having become frustrated with Apple’s iPhone restrictions. “Personally, I am going to shift all of my mobile focus from iPhone to Android based devices (I am particularly interested in the Android based tablets coming out this year) and not focus on the iPhone stuff as much anymore.”

Adobe announced Adobe Creative Suite 5 earlier this month, with major updates for a range of creative tools including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver and Flash.

Amidst harsh words, Adobe cancels Flash port work for iPhone OS

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 21st, 2010, 03:39
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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A lot can change in two week’s time.

Per Mashable, in that span of time, Adobe has gone from touting its technology for building Flash applications that run on the iPhone to canceling future development of that technology.

When Apple altered the terms of its iPhone 4.0 software developer kit license, it effectively blocked Adobe’s move. But in his Tuesday announcement that Adobe will cease future development of the Flash-apps-on-iPhone technology, Mike Chambers, Adobe’s principal product manager for the Flash platform, offered the following quote outlining the conflict between Adobe and Apple:

“As developers for the iPhone have learned, if you want to develop for the iPhone you have to be prepared for Apple to reject or restrict your development at any time, and for seemingly any reason,” Chambers said. “The primary goal of Flash has always been to enable cross browser, platform and device development. The cool web game that you build can easily be targeted and deployed to multiple platforms and devices. However, this is the exact opposite of what Apple wants. They want to tie developers down to their platform, and restrict their options to make it difficult for developers to target other platforms.”

The company also disclosed in a regulatory filing that its business could be harmed if the iPhone and iPad don’t support Adobe technology with one report stating that the company could be considering legal action against Apple, too, according to one report.

Recently, Adobe also gainded an ally in competing against Apple: Google.

“Fortunately, the iPhone isn’t the only game in town. Android based phones have been doing well behind the success of the Motorola Droid and Nexus One, and there are a number of Android based tablets slated to be released this year. We are working closely with Google to bring both Flash Player 10.1 and Adobe AIR 2.0 to these devices, and thus far, the results have been very promising,” Chambers said.

The upcoming Flash Player 10.1 and related AIR 2.0 programming foundations are currently in private beta testing stages for Android and the software, which is scheduled to arrive this quarter, will work on a variety of other phone operating systems, including Windows Phone 7, the BlackBerry OS, Symbian OS, and Palm’s WebOS.

“I think that the closed system that Apple is trying to create is bad for the industry, developers, and ultimately consumers, and that is not something that I want to actively promote,” Chambers said. “We are at the beginning of a significant change in the industry, and I believe that ultimately open platforms will win out over the type of closed, locked-down platform that Apple is trying to create.”

The Adobe technology for bringing Flash-derived applications to the iPhone is now effectively irrelevant at the very moment when Adobe is bringing it to market in its CS5 product line.

“There is no technical reason that Flash can’t run on the iPhone,” Chambers said.

Adobe formally announces Creative Suite 5, will ship in 30 days

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Date: Monday, April 12th, 2010, 04:00
Category: News, Software

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Software giant Adobe formally announced the release of its Creative Suite 5 product on Monday. The software, per AppleInsider, features integration with online content and digital marketing measurement. For the first time, Creative Suite 5 products include access to Omniture technologies, to capture, store and analyze information generated by Web sites and other sources. The suite also includes a brand new component, Flash Catalyst, joins the Creative Suite, which allows users to design interactive content without writing code and improve the collaborative process between designer and developer.

Creative Suite 5, which is due to to ship within the next 30 days, also enables the creation of content and applications for Flash Player 10.1 and Adobe AIR 2.

This release line-up includes the following Creative Suite 5 editions:
Adobe Creative Suite 5 Master Collection (US$2599)
Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Premium (US$1899)
Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Standard (US$1299)
Adobe Creative Suite 5 Web Premium (US$1799)
Adobe Creative Suite 5 Production Premium (US$1699)

Included with the various suite editions are 15 point products, associated technologies and integration with new Adobe CS Live services: (CS Live online services are complimentary for a limited time.):

Photoshop CS5
Illustrator CS5
InDesign CS5
Acrobat 9 Pro
Flash Catalyst CS5
Flash Professional CS5
Flash Builder 4
Dreamweaver CS5
Fireworks CS5
Contribute CS5
Adobe Premiere Pro CS5
After Effects CS5
Encore CS5
Soundbooth CS5
Adobe OnLocation CS5
Adobe Bridge CS5
Adobe Device Central CS5
Adobe Dynamic Link
Comparison Tool

Among the suites major new features are:
Truer Edge technology in Photoshop CS5 Extended offers improved edge detecting technology and masking results in less time. Photoshop CS5 Extended also lets users remove an image element and immediately replace the missing pixels with Content-Aware Fill.

InDesign CS5 powers the transition to digital publishing with new interactive documents and enhanced eReader device support.

Native 64-bit support in Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects enables customers to work more fluidly on high resolution projects.

New Text Layout Framework in Flash Professional CS5 provides professional-level typography capabilities with functions like kerning, ligatures, tracking, leading, threaded text block and multiple columns.

New stroke options in Illustrator CS5 allow users to create strokes of variable widths and precisely adjust the width at any point along the stroke.

The NVIDIA GPU accelerated Adobe Mercury Playback Engine allows Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 users to open projects faster, refine effects-rich HD sequences in real time and play back complex projects without rendering.

The new Roto Brush tool in After Effects helps users save time by isolating moving foreground elements in a fraction of the normal time.

Dreamweaver CS5 now supports popular content management systems Drupal, Joomla! and WordPress, allowing designers to get accurate views of dynamic Web content from within Dreamweaver.

Adobe CS Live:
Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Premium also integrates with new Adobe CS Live, a set of five online services that accelerate key aspects of the creative workflow and enable designers to focus on creating their best work. CS Live online services are complimentary for a limited time and currently include:

Adobe BrowserLab, a tool for testing Web site content across different browsers and operating systems.

Adobe CS Review, which enables online design reviews directly from within Creative Suite 5 applications.

Access to Acrobat.com services, such as Adobe ConnectNow Web conferencing, to enhance discussion and information exchange with colleagues and clients around the globe.

Adobe Story, a collaborative script writing tool that improves production and post-production workflows in CS5 Production Premium.

SiteCatalyst NetAverages from Omniture, which provides Web usage data that helps reduce the guesswork early in the creative process when designing for Web and mobile.

Pricing and Availability:
Adobe Creative Suite 5 and its associated point products are scheduled to ship within 30 days, with availability through Adobe Authorized Resellers, the Adobe Store and Adobe Direct Sales. At 11:00 am ET (8:00 am PT) today, Adobe will offer a live streaming preview of CS5 through its website.

ABC, CBS to have iPad-compatible content ready for iPad launch

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 2nd, 2010, 03:11
Category: News

Per a Wall Street Journal report, the ABC and CBS television networks are ready to offer iPad-compatible content prepared in time for the device’s launch on Saturday.

Both CBS and Walt Disney’s ABC have planned for episodes of their TV shows to be viewable on Apple’s forthcoming iPad in time for its Saturday launch. Streaming episodes of TV shows will be available from CBS via its Web site, while ABC will offer a downloadable iPad application from the App Store.

While the initial offerings are expected to be limited at first, both networks plan to have identical content available both for the iPad and on their Web sites.

“Putting streaming video on the iPad would sidestep Apple’s iTunes content store, where Apple has been trying to juice anemic sales of TV episodes in advance of the iPad launch,” the report said. “So far, several media companies have rejected Apple’s push to lower the price for downloading shows from iTunes to 99 cents each, according to people familiar with the talks.”

Last week, it was revealed that Apple was testing HTML5 streaming video on an iPad-specific version of its Web site. Apple’s lack of support for Adobe Flash on its iPhone OS devices has forced networks like CBS and ABC to seek alternatives for their streaming solutions.

Apple is also looking to offer TV episodes for 99 cents from major networks, though the Journal reported Thursday that it is unknown whether any network will agree to that pricing by the Saturday launch. Episodes of TV shows typically retail for US$1.99 or US$2.99.

Rumor: Hulu may offer “all-you-can-eat” subscription model for iPad

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Date: Thursday, April 1st, 2010, 04:07
Category: iPad, Rumor

With the iPad’s release a mere two days away, Hulu will reportedly embrace the platform with an iPad app that may offer an all-you-can eat subscription service to challenge Apple’s al a carte model.

Per the New York Times, four sources has stated that they ‘believe’ Hulu may test a subscription approach to its catalog of streaming TV shows through the forthcoming app, which wasn’t given a release date.

A joint venture of NBC Universal, the News Corporation and the Walt Disney Company, Hulu has seen its ad-supported, browser-based streaming service generate revenues of more than US$100 million and triple monthly streams to 903 million over the past year.

According to the article, many of Hulu’s content suppliers who are now pressuring the company to increase their share of the revenues and open doors to better monetization techniques, such as a subscription service that asks consumers to pay a monthly fee to gain unlimited access to a broad assortment of shows.

Apple held similar aspirations in the lead-up to this weekend’s iPad launch but was forced to table its own US$30 per month subscription efforts due to opposition from its network partners, which were said to have concerns that this could ultimately hurt their business and jeopardize “the tens of billions of dollars in subscription fees they are paid by cable and satellite companies for their traditional TV networks.”

Rumors of Hulu’s plans for the iPad have been circulating since the company was reported to be developing an Apple-friendly version of its website that would operate without the need for Adobe’s Flash video format, which isn’t supported on Apple’s mobile devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.