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  • You need a backup plan before you move to macOS Catalina

    I use Time Machine with two backup drives. I keep one at the office for “disaster recovery” and the other stays hooked up to my Mac doing TM’s regular backups. On the first Monday of every month I swap the drives out. That way I have the convenience of a local time machine backup, with an off-site disaster recovery drive that is never more than 30 days old.
  • Back to school 2019: should you choose Apple's Mac or an iPad

    We supplied my daughter with a MacBook and iPad mini. Most universities today handle class work through web portals. You usually get your assignments and turn them in through these portals. They are frequently poorly built and barely work right on a PC or Mac, nevertheless an iPad. Just accessing the school’s student portal (so I can pay the bills, check on registration, sign up for dorm rooms) on my iPad Pro was an huge exercise in frustration as the frames didn’t work right. Students also frequently have to put files on flash drives so they can use them on a school computer or give to a friend who has a PC when they are working on group projects. MAYBE you could consider an iPad Pro after iPad OS comes out with it’s desktop class browser and the ability to use external drives, but until that proves itself a Mac laptop is the only way to go in my opinion. YMMV

    EDIT: Another thing I just thought of. My daughter had to complete some projects in InDesign for a technical marketing class. They had a school computer lab setup with Adobe CC that they could use so she didn’t need it on her laptop. However one weekend we wanted her to come home for a family event, but she said she had to stay on campus to use the school lab to complete her InDesign project. Since I have a CC subscription I told her that I would install it on her MacBook, and she could complete the work at home. Obviously not possible on an iPad.
  • Former Apple retail head Angela Ahrendts upset 'finely tuned balance'

    The fundamental problem A=A was trying to solve is that as the iPhone exploded to unprecedented popularity, the Apple Store became overcrowded with people seeking service to the point where no one wanted to step foot in the store unless they had to get a repair. The only way to turn the store into something other than an iPhone service center was to somehow reduce the number of people going there exclusively for a service-related problem. Thus, they ended walk-in Genius Bar support and finally even got rid of the eponymous bar itself, which had the goal of eliminating the lines of people doing nothing but waiting their turn for a seat at the counter.

    The other way to reduce service-related foot traffic was to discourage people from bringing their broken devices in to begin with by emphasizing online support for anything that was not explicitly a hardware failure. But if they had to bring their device in, try to reduce that visit time to as little as possible by discouraging on-site repairs which of course reduced the number of people just hanging around the store waiting for their device to be fixed. If the problem couldn’t be quickly fixed, it would go to a service center and they would let you know when you can pick it up.

    The other way to reduce foot traffic is to of course discourage in-store sales at all. It seems counter-intuitive, but if they wanted to turn the store into a pleasant shopping experience and a place where you learn something new, there had to be less people in the stores. So emphasize online sales, and turn the store into a place where you can try out new hardware before making a decision, and learn something new with their classes and such.

    These were all logical business decisions, but the problem is that all of these steps designed to discourage walk-in support traffic failed, so we ended up with the worst of both worlds: An Apple Store that was actively trying to discourage you from walking in to get support, but you were doing so anyway out of necessity. No wonder people are dissatisfied with the result.
  • No, Adobe did not cancel its popular $10 Creative Cloud Photography plan

    Are there any professional photo editors here? Graphic artists? Not necessarily photographers, but people who manipulate images for a living. Things like removing backgrounds, creating composites, retouching models, adding people and things to scenes -- in other words, lots of masking, cutting, pasting, reshaping, resizing, etc.

    If you're in that group, have you used Pixelmator or Affinity Photo? Are they viable substitutes for Photoshop? I constantly hear or read that they do "almost everything Photoshop does, but at a much better price." It's the "almost" that makes me nervous. What do I lose if I move away from Photoshop? I'm also concerned about the QUALITY of the tools. When I switched to Photoshop in the mid-nineties I was amazed by how much better the colour conversions and anti-aliasing were than the app I'd been using before. The difference wasn't in the feature set, but how the results of certain features looked much better in Photoshop. Do Photo or Pixelmator hold up for real work?

    The only way to tell is to complete every project at least twice -- once in Photoshop, then again in the substitute candidate -- and compare the results. That's time consuming (and boring) so I hope someone will have already made some assessments and can offer an opinion. I'd like to get off the Adobe Express, but I'm afraid I'll regret it and wind up paying even MORE to get back on.
    I’m a professional photoretoucher and have done work for major companies for nearly 30 years now. I spend more time managing than retouching nowadays but still get plenty of mouse time in Photoshop and Bridge. I have tried Pixelmator and Affinity Photo only because Adobe doesn’t have Photoshop on the iPad yet and I was looking for something that I could do at least some photo editing on my iPad Pro, which is now my constant companion.

    I cannot give either product a thorough review because I did not try either very long. At least on my iPad I found the interfaces somewhat clunky and nothing that I would want to spend any time in. Affinity's "personas" really get on my nerves, for example. They remind me of the old Lightroom “modules” which I didn’t like either. (Big fan, however, of the new Lightroom CC.) But after decades of working nearly exclusively in Photoshop for complex editing some of this comes down to me simply not wanting to invest time in learning new software simply to edit on my iPad. Which is why I was thrilled to see the new Photoshop for iPad previewed at last year’s Adobe Max.

    That is in fact what convinced me to finally pony up a personal subscription to the Adobe CC $20/mo. Photography Plan. Though I will say I am eagerly awaiting the actual introduction of Photoshop for iPad at this point, I am extremely happy using the new Lightroom CC to do basic color and minor editing on iPad.

    To answer your question on could you do “real” work on Affinity or Pixelmato:, I am sure the answer is yes both because they seem to be fairly robust software and because the definition of “real work” is very use-case specific. However, from a “professional community” point of view, Photoshop is a monopoly and you might as well get used to that fact. I use a number of other photo software packages (I’m a big fan of Luminar, for example) but no one is going to be able to walk in the door at any shop I know and get a job saying that they exclusively know Affinity Photo or Pixelmator as an editing tool.
  • The best apps for editing and redacting PDFs on your iPad or iPhone

    I can affirm that PDF Expert is an excellent tool. I use Acrobat Pro at work, but for home use PDF Expert is what I use. It is actually superior to Acrobat Pro in several ways and works great on my iPad Pro 10.5” 2018. I have a personal Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC subscription, which does not include Acrobat, so PDF Expert is a much cheaper alternative to upping my subscription.