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adobe camera raw annoyance

I do understand that its not always cost-efficient for a software product to endlessly update its support for newly-released hardware products. I usually stump up the extra cash to get the latest version of the software to resolve that issue – particularly if its software that I use a lot and like a lot and originally paid for – a lot.

However, I’ve hit a bit of a financial impasse when it comes to Adobe Creative Suite. I recently replaced my sadly broken Sony A300 with a nice new not broken Sony A500 and was looking forward very much to running some photos through my evil post-processing mangle of doom. However, when it came to importing the photos with Adobe Bridge, I was a little surprised that they weren’t previewed, as they are normally, in the import window. Not a problem. Probably something I did wrong myself. Carry on. But no, after upload, when trying to preview in Adobe Bridge, they file type wasn’t recognised, even though its the same file type as was produced by my A300. Except, of course, it isn’t.

If you’ve read this far, then you probably know how this goes. Suffice to say, the RAW file output by my A500 are not the same as the RAW files output by my A300, at least, they’re different enough that Adobe Camera Raw requires an update to be able to read the files. Which is fine. I just updated Adobe Camera Raw. Except I couldn’t now use it, since I’m still on Adobe Creative Suite 3, and the Adobe Camera Raw update only runs in CS4 or higher. In other words, if I want to use the version of Abobe Camera Raw that supports my new camera, I have to upgrade my version of Adobe Creative Suite. Which is fine. I want CS5 anyway. Let just take a look at…HOW MUCH?

There is a clumsy workaround, which is curiously via another Adobe software product – Adobe DNG converter. I just have to import my RAW files, convert then to Digital Negative file types, using ACR 4.6 compatibility (last ACR version that works with CS3), and there they are, RAW and DNG files, using twice and much disk space and taking 10 times as long, but hey, they’re there, and I can use the DNG files as I would normally use RAW files. The annoyance really is that it cost a ton of money to get CS3, and I don’t really need to upgrade, but since my workflow is dependent on a number of bundled Adobe products as part of the suite (like ACR), if any one of those products is effectively unsupported, the whole suite gets compromised. If upgrading from 1 version of creative suite to another wasn’t cripplingly expensive, I’d probably just do it. But it is. So I won’t. So there.

Creative Suite: Au Revoir, Bonjour

As all good designers know these, you need lots and lots and lots and lots of hardware and software to do your job properly. I first started using Adobe Photoshop professionally at version 2.5, which I guess was about mid-nineties. Sun being Sun of course, back then, a Mac or a Windows PC was anathema, no, worse, the antichrist or something, so the version of 2.5 we had was actually the port that ran on Solaris. which was probably also version 2.5. Actually, that port was pretty good, I thought. Especially as you could run it on a Sun box. I think we had it installed on a few Ultra 2s with 1GB of memory, which was immense in those days, and so everything moved along very nicely. Mind you, without layers, there was only so much you could do at a time. You just needed a huge filesystem to hold those 50 saved versions of each file. Luckily, everything was networked to the nth and so that wasn’t a problem either.

Fast forward to 2008 then, as I sit in my home office, on a slightly creaky Windows PC, and I’m hitting some problems with my design tools. I’m still with Photoshop, of course, except now its part of Creative Suite 3 Design Premium, and all the good stuff that comes with that. What I also still have, though, after 4 years in this room, is a single-core processor, 1 disk, and only 2GB of memory. Doesn’t sound too bad? Ever run Adobe Bridge? Anyway, since installing CS3 a while back, things have not run smoothly. Most recently, I’ve had nasty problems with failure to boot or shutdown, and my suspicions have been aroused by the network activity icons blinking away in the corner as everything else fails to start.

As most good designers know, poking around in the innards of your operating system is never really a good idea, but some self-diagnosis was definitely in order. After an afternoon of software removal and starting and stopping of services, I, not surprisingly, could not find a cure. How serendipitous, then, that I should receive and email from Adobe, inviting me to join their user-to-user (“this is NOT adobe support you MORON”) forums, to share and collaborate with my designer community. I thought I might see if anyone was sharing my ‘Adobe Bridge 3 CPU 100% hang crash metadata read’ problems, when I stumbled upon multiple threads about something called the ‘bonjour service’. I had seen that in the services manager in XP and thought it was something to do with XP ordering croissants for me. I mean, its in Program Files, not under Adobe or (as it turns out it might well should be) Apple.

It seem that the bonjour service is installed as part of CS3 and is responsible for initiating network connections to Adobe Version Cue servers. Bonjour is Apple software and is also part of the iTunes installation, by the look of it, which is why it appears to be installed as a standalone product. This might be very helpful is you are actually using Version Cue, especially in a large organization with distributed servers for DAM. Its not particularly helpful if you’re not using Version Cue. Its spectacularly unhelpful if its actually hanging your computer and using shedloads of resource when its up and running. There are a number of ways to stop bonjour, if its causing problems. I found the most effective thing was to actually remove it. Since I have done so, I’ve had no problems with hanging startups or resource draining. I’m yet to try and use iTunes (which I hate anyway), to see what problems might lie there, but for now, I don’t really care. I can get on with crafting comps for category pages. Oh, and writing huge, sprawling blogs.

Listening Post: Bloc Party: Flux (Rev Terry’s Drone On You Flux-uating Diamond Mix)

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