Apr 112014

If you have ever wondered why Adobe chose red for the color of its logo it was to hide the blushes of embarrassment.

Yesterday, the automatic Adobe updater informed me that I needed to install two updates for Photoshop CS6. One was Camera Raw 8.4 and, since I planned to take some shots with a Fujifilm XT-1 in the afternoon, it seemed a good idea to get it installed right away.

The installation was straightforward. They usually are. It was only when I opened up Adobe Bridge that the scale of the catastrophe I had unwittingly unleashed became apparent.

First, the thumbnail dng files had lost their orientation. Second, when I clicked on a thumbnail, it remained a thumbnail in the Preview panel. When I double clicked on the thumbnail to open it up Camera Raw in Photoshop rather than the preferred Adobe Bridge.

My first reaction — Aaaaaarrrrrggggh!!!!!

Obeying the instruction to update had rendered my workflow of the past seven years redundant.

What followed was even worse. I spent three hours searching Google to see if anyone else had been affected by this update and whether a quick fix existed.

Oh I came across plenty of similar Photoshop problems regarding the display of thumbnails but they all related to earlier versions. I could find nothing relating to Photoshop CS6.

I even tried Google News to see if this Adobe-created cock-up had gone viral. Not a mention anywhere.

I kept trying different permutations of my Google searches – Camera Raw will not open in Bridge; unable to access Camera Raw preferences; I can only preview thumbnails in Adobe Bridge; thumbnails will not open in Adobe Bridge.

Each of these questions threw up links to Adobe forums but no answer to my problem was to be found.

Eventually, like I said three hours later, I stumbled across the Bridge General Discussion forum and a thread entitled: Camera Raw stops functioning in Bridge CS6 after software update. I was relieved to find other people had suffered a similar fate after installing the Camera Raw 8.4 update. Somehow a trouble shared is a trouble halved.

Scrolling down the posts it appeared quite a few people had suffered a similar fate to mine. I was not alone.

The first poster – Vexed — posted the problem on April 8, 2014, at 8.53am. In a subsequent post he detailed similar problems to those I was experiencing:

He didn’t see the ACR adjusted icon in Bridge;

He didn’t see changes made to photos in ACR in Bridge Preview;

He didn’t have the right-click option to open ACR from Bridge;

He was unable to rotate RAW files in Bridge – the commands were grayed out.

Another poster posted at 9.42am that he had contacted Adobe and engineers were aware of the situation.

A poster by the name of Ducks Design used Time Machine to replace the 8.4 plug-in with the 8.2 plug-in as a workaround and was good to go.

Some people obviously had deadlines to meet.

The last post on April 8, at 8.27pm, stated:

Is there a Red Adobe Help Box somewhere, where we can break the glass and press the red HELP button?

No posts occurred on April 9.

At 1.21 am on April 10, an Adobe staff member posted a link to fix the problem. It involved downloading the Camera Raw 8.4 plug-in and moving it into the File Formats folder.

I followed the instructions and Camera Raw functioned how it did before. I let out a sigh of relief or was it exasperation? I had spent three frustrating hours trying to sort the problem out.

My feelings were shared by another poster who stated:

If this was a known error, why should paying users spend over an hour (as I did) researching the problem?… Adobe should at least have sent out an email to users experiencing the ACR problem and giving details of the fix.

In fairness to Adobe, emails to all users is a bit over the top but the company could certainly have posted a message outlining the problem, and the fix, in a prominent position on its website.

So I was good to go to head to Wilkinson Cameras, in Southport, who kindly allowed me try out the camera everyone is talking about – the Fujifilm XT-1. My thoughts on the XT-1 will appear in another article but below is a photograph handled in Camera Raw 8.4 and subsequently processed in Viveza 2 and Silver Efex Pro 2.

Girl walking Pug dog on Eastbank Street, Southport.

Fujifilm 18-55mm f/2.8-4 and Fujifilm XT-1, courtesy of Wilkinson Cameras. ©Calvin Palmer 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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Dec 032011

Dark Entry Creek, St Marys, Georgia. Ricoh GRD III. ©Calvin Palmer 2011. All Rights Reserved.

The photograph above serves as an allegory of the early part of my week. I had a sunny disposition but it was under threat from the looming clouds.

The clouds in my case were my Mac Pro dying, a credit card transaction being refused and the temporary loss of my Internet access just as I was about to upload my entries for a photo contest.

My Mac Pro will be five years old next week, with a PC I would be braced for things to start going wrong but not with a Mac. You can imagine my shock, not to say disbelief, when it died. It would begin to power up but then stopped and the screen remained black.

A few procedures aimed at restoring an ailing Mac all failed. The Mac message boards provided no instant solutions, in fact they compounded my concern with mention of logic board failure. Logic boards do not come cheap and it looked as if I was facing a bill in excess of $1,000.

The one ray of sunshine amidst all this gloom was the presence of an authorized Apple repair shop only four miles from my home. I called Mac + PC Tech Pro and was told to bring my Mac in. I figured I would not only be facing a large bill but also the loss of the computer for several days.

The deadline for the photo contest was Wednesday. Sorting through all my photographs for suitable images and getting them ready for submission looked to have been a wasted effort. It probably was a wasted effort in terms of actually winning but that is a totally different issue.

In the middle of the afternoon, Jake at Mac + PC Tech Pro called back to say that testing of my Mac had revealed that the memory boards were shot and one stick of memory had failed. He said he had everything in stock and I could pick my computer up in 30 minutes. The total bill was going to be several hundred dollars but a long way short of the $1,000 I thought it would cost.

Anyone in the Jacksonville area who has a problem with their Mac should contact Mac + PC Tech Pro. You are treated like a customer rather than a number by the helpful staff. I highly recommend the company and the service it provides.

The return of my Mac also meant I would be able to submit my photographs a day before the closing date.

On Tuesday, I found that AOL had decided to change the inbox of my e-mail. They call it a unified inbox. I call it a disaster. My inbox had e-mails going back to 2009. I much preferred the old system of new mail and old mail being kept in separate inboxes.

My first attempt to switch back didn’t work and I contacted the online help service. I was being given instructions on what to do when the phone rang. It was the fraud protection unit of my credit card company, asking about a couple of recent transactions. They kept referring to today (Wednesday) when the transactions had taken place the day before.

I had decided to take up Adobe’s generous Black Friday deal on upgrading Photoshop to CS5 but my credit card company had refused to authorize the transaction. When I pointed out that I had made the transaction and made it in good faith, I was told I would have to reorder from Adobe.

“Just a minute,” I said, “yesterday was the last day of the special discount. You can telephone Adobe and put it straight.”

Moments later, I had Eric from Adobe on the line informing me that they had no record of my order placed on Nov 29.

“Excuse me, Eric,” I said,” but how is it that I have record of the order in My Adobe.” I read out the details including the order number and ended, “If I have a record of the order and you do not, I think something must be dreadfully wrong with your computer system.”

“I am going to transfer you to someone else,” Eric said sheepishly.

I was put through to a sales associate who could not have been more helpful. I got the Black Friday deal discount during which he happened to mention that the billing address on the initial order was an address in Morrisville, North Carolina and different from my shipping address in Jacksonville.

Now I could understand why my credit card company had refused to the let the order go through.

A Google search revealed the Morrisville address was vacant office premises. I contacted my credit card company with this information and also Adobe. The former assured me everything was all right with my account, the latter were not the slightest bit concerned that a bogus address had been attached to my credit card while placing an order.

With that problem sorted, I turned my attention to uploading the competition photographs, a task I had intended to start some two hours earlier.

I clicked the computer mouse and noticed that all my e-mails were grey, gray for American readers. I clicked the mouse again and nothing happened. Glancing across at the modem, I saw that all the lights were out save for the power light. Great! It was beginning to look as if I was destined not to enter this competition. I unplugged all the leads to the modem and waited for a minute, plugged them back in again but the modem remained dead. I tried a second time and got the same result. I had no recourse other than to call AT&T – that paragon of timeliness and efficiency.

I gathered together the information in order to contact AT&T, knowing full well it would be at least a day before anyone could come round to investigate the problem. With that thought in mind, I decided I needed a cup of coffee and a cigarette to calm me down.

With a heavy heart, I climbed the stairs back to my office. I was in a state of disbelief at the events that had befallen me. Then at last, a piece of good fortune struck. From the top of the stairs I could see the modem and all its lights were lit up.

“You shall go to the ball, Cinders!”

I spent the next hour uploading my photographs. I am officially an entrant in the contest. The blue skies came back.

My upgrade to Photoshop CS5 should arrive next week along with a Mac OSX upgrade to Snow Leopard. I hope the learning curve is not a steep one and I can quickly get back into my workflow and make use of the new features the upgrade brings.

I am back on track.

St Marys, Georgia. Ricoh GRD III. ©Calvin Palmer 2011. All Rights Reserved.

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