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2012, A Spring & Summer of Change
5/9/2012 10:10:12 PM

As I sit here writing this post in mid-May, I can only say that 2012 has presented some of the biggest changes for me personally and professionally since my arrival in St. Louis in 1988.  Perhaps the only larger change occurred in 1993 when I retired from the Army and had to get a "real job" :^).  This year has presented changes in family life, work life, and even in the things I do to relax.

On the work front, we are seeing major personnel changes at the office.  The Dean of our libraries, along with two of her Associate Deans, is retiring this summer.  Over the next several weeks we will be assisting them wherever we can in their departures while at the same time getting ready for her replacement to arrive, complete with a new job title.  As might be expected, there is some concern about what the new person's expectations and goals will be yet we cannot stop our day-to-day work awaiting new guidance.  In addition to the senior management changes, we are losing a key person in our office this summer who will be very difficult to replace.  We aren't sure how soon we will be able to recruit for this position (because of the senior management changes) so everyone is having to pick up new tasks and pick her brain on how best to accomplish these things.  We are also seeing the departure of another person whose job was indirectly related to our office and seeing many of her tasks transferred to us, some temporarily and some permanently.

On the family side, unfortunately this will be the first full summer that my wife will be in a long term care facility.  This presents all sorts of new challenges and reduces the opportunity to do things that had become habit in the past like long trips around the US.  We also lost a couple of close family members earlier this year who will be missed greatly.

Obviously, the limitations on travel have affected my photography.  In the past, I concentrated on photography associated with the vacation trips and really didn't place a lot of emphasis on things that are available locally.  This year that has been reversed and, strangely, the total number of photographs taken within about 50 miles from home has outpaced the total number of photos taken by this time each of the last seven years (the time my photography has been fully digital).

There were also a couple of changes to the way I process photos, one expected and the other less expected.  The expected change was the upgrade of PhotoShop Lightroom to version 4.  The change was relatively seamless although using the beta version before the final release presented a few challenges.  The unexpected change was the upgrade of PhotoShop to CS6.  I had expected at least one more year before this upgrade.  As a result, I had just purchased Scott Kelby's extensive reference on PhotoShop CS5 just a few weeks before the new release was announced (there went a few dollars down the drain).  I really like both of the new software releases and am starting to expand the number of features that I use but I expect the learning curve will be longer than I like.

I also started an Image of the Day page, elsewhere on this site, to share some of my favorite photos.  Some of the photos there were taken as recently as a few days before they are displayed while some are scans of slides, negatives, and photos dating back to 1974.  I hope those who view these photos enjoy them as much as I enjoy selecting them.

Hopefully the number of changes will slow for the rest of the year -- I could really use a break :^).

Adobe Creative Cloud
5/3/2012 10:02:23 AM
Along with the recent release, or planned release, of their new Creative Suite 6 applications and PhotoShop Lightroom 4 Adobe also announced a new product called Creative Cloud.  As the name implies, this product offering is different to Adobe’s traditional software distribution method where users purchase individual products or suites of products as either Option 1 -- boxed software or Option 2 -- a download.
At the same time, Creative Cloud doesn’t fall into the category of most “cloud” applications that are seen in the business world where the software runs on a remote computer with your local desktop only serving as an entry device. Instead, Creative Cloud is a subscription service that allows you to download selected software to your computer and run the application on your computer (doesn’t sound that different from option 2, above, so far).
What does Creative Cloud include?  All of the applications in Creative Suite CS6 (PhotoShop 6 Extended, Illustrator, Acrobat Pro, DreamWeaver, Premiere, Flash Pro, In Design and others), connectivity to Adobe TouchApps, and, in the future, PhotoShop Lightroom.
There are, however, some major differences. First, Creative Cloud includes 20 GB of storage that can be used to connect your traditional desktop applications like PhotoShop with Adobe’s touchpad applications like PhotoShop Touch. Second, while individuals who purchase traditional products typically wait about two years for major software upgrades or improvements, Adobe plans to release these upgrades to Creative Cloud users on an ongoing basis. The third big difference is the potential for long-term cost savings for some users.
Let’s assume that the first two differences described above are of minimal interest to you. The question then becomes can I save money by using Creative Cloud? And the answer is, “It depends.” For illustration purposes, I’m going to use the one year subscription price of $49.99 per month for Creative Cloud (if you choose a monthly subscription, you will have different results). Here are some examples:
Scenario 1 -- I only use PhotoShop CS6. I purchased PhotoShop several years ago and now I upgrade with each new version. I don’t us Adobe Illustrator, Acrobat Pro, or any other Adobe application. A subscription to Creative Cloud would cost $599.88 for one year or $1,199.76 for two years. Upgrading your current version of PhotoShop would cost $199.00 every two years. Even if you were using PhotoShop CS6 Extended, the upgrade cost would only be $399.00 every two years. So, in this case, it’s unlikely that you would have any savings.
Scenario 2 -- I plan to purchase PhotoShop CS6 and upgrade with each new version. I don’t us Adobe Illustrator, Acrobat Pro, or any other Adobe application. A subscription to Creative Cloud would cost you $599.88 for one year or $1,199.76 for two years. Purchasing the full version of PhotoShop will cost $699.00 and each upgrade will cost about $199.00. If you were purchase PhotoShop CS6 Extended, the initial cost will be $999.00 and each upgrade will be $399.00. In either case, some savings in year one but these savings do not extend into later years.
Scenario 3 – I use a number of different Adobe products regularly. I purchase and upgrade each of them individually. The two products I use most often are PhotoShop CS6 Extended and Illustrator. I would also like to use other products occasionally like DreamWeaver and Actobat Pro but have not purchased them. In this scenario, you could purchase PhotoShop CS6 Extended ($999) and Illustrator ($599) separately and upgrade them about every two years (PhotoShop $399; Illustrator $249) or you could purchase them as part of a suite (initial cost $1,899 or more, upgrade $375). Either way, you will save money immediately by subscribing to Creative Cloud. While the savings drop in subsequent years, you still get a good deal. What makes this even better is that you can now also use other products like DreamWeaver (purchase price $399; upgrade $125) and Acrobat Pro (purchase price $449; upgrade $199) at no added cost.
So the bottom line is the more Adobe products you use, the more attractive Creative Cloud becomes plus you get the benefits of more frequent upgrades, remote storage, and the flexibility to add more applications when you need them.
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