Friday, January 28, 2011

Crash Report

Adobe has detected that the application Photoshop has unexpectedly quit.

Problem description:

I deactivated a used font and switched to PS then slected the text to change the font to something else and PS crashed hard. I had been doing the same thing several times before but instinctivly changing the font first to a placeholder in PS before deactivating it, but I thought, "Thats silly its 2011 PS can handle such things in an elagant way by now"...

: )

But more importantly I have other problems with PS...
My first copy of PS came on floppy, I have owned PS for close to 2 decades and dutifully upgraded it over and over. As you look into this problem, Please also consider doing something about the fact that anyone with even a casual interest can acquire a cracked copy of PS, learn it, never purchase it, compete with a small business like mine by using it, and yet I see little benefit from my long time loyalty, sometimes paying three times the going rate of any functional PS replacement just to upgrade.

Speaking of those modestly priced PS replacements, most have come and gone over the years not because they were necessarily inferior (although admittedly not as feature rich) but they likely failed because adobe has such a lock on the category and sets the price purposely high completely aware that it will encourage piracy on the low end of users and thus making any such alternatives redundant to a "free" copy of PS acquired from an acquaintance or online. Adobe wins in the long run from lack of viable competition and selling expensive licenses to businesses that can easily afford them. Meanwhile, independent people like myself who want to own the tools they use find it increasing illogical to continue paying the somewhat outrageous upgrade fees and feel tempted to search for pro level alternatives.

When someone pays such a premium for a product (the most expensive piece of software many individuals will ever buy) it should come with an expectation of added value. In my oppinion you should have been tracking us long time users all along and finding ways to keep us happy, but something tells me you don't even know or care who we are. I certainly expect to have more value from my sizable expense over the years than the people that I believe you expect to steal (while inflating my price) the product. Largely my value using PS is the same as someone that never pays for it. None of which would be grating to me except for the fact that I strongly believe your company is aware of all this and that it is part of your business model.

I would guess that an honest internal breakdown of your customers would look something like this:
Corporate accounts: 90% of users purchase a license (actively enforced I would bet)

Medium sized: business 50%-60% of users purchase a license ( not worth enforcing, guilt driven I imagine)

Small business: maybe 25% of users purchase a license (a small percentage will pay even if the price is too high out of a sense of honestly. Being in this category makes me feel like you see us as "suckers")

Enthusiasts: 2% of users purchase a license (so many people "have" PS that it is dominant, and thats the way Adobe likes it. God forbid people refer to editing images as something other than "photoshoping".

Students: 30% of users purchase a license (hell even with healthy student discounts I doubt most non graphic design students purchase PS, but I bet a huge number of them have a copy).

So, every time Photoshop crashes and I lose even a few minutes of work these are the sort of things I think about. So thats the "bug" I would prefer your company address before anything else.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Proudly Owning Your Identity Seems To Be A Lost Concept

I recently read this article about unique internet ID's Americans.

I am not completely opposed to such a system but I wish wholeheartedly that the internet had evolved in such a way that made it feel less nessasary. For years I have argued that people needed to "be themselves" online and act the same way as you would in ANY public space. The alternative, I argued, would be that "the powers that be" (corporations and governments) would use the various forms of rampant bad behavior as an excuse to bring down the hammer on the open system we have enjoyed. The amusing thing is just how many people assume that because they use a "nick" (as we called them in the old days) that they would be forever separated from their actions online. I won't go into the detail, but I have always believed that data mining was too tempting to let much of ANY data that may be useful now or in the future vanish or ever really be erased. I assume that every digital bread crumb I have ever dropped is stored SOMEWHERE and that it is simply a matter of time before all that data is sold, traded, stolen, and eventually collected in one place to be de-anonymized with frighting accuracy.

Some reading on that...

microsoft de-anonymize

Fear the ubercookies!

Geo location data in uploaded pictures is FUN!...

The bottom line is...
I believe that for the vast majority of users, being anonymous online is an illusion. I am not saying that rare people might be able to cover their tracks, but I would bet that many people that THINK they are good at it, are actually not that great. My guess is that a good, modern private investigator could pinpoint most online posters with some ease.

What is surprising to me is how different my feelings on this seem to be in comparison to so many people.

Reading the comments attached to that article are mind blowing...
"I have a right to anonymity. It's the same as the right to privacy."
" There's no F__KING way in hell that he or anyone else in the government is taking away my RIGHT to anonymity"
"Anonymity is what drives the internet."
"Just cause it's not in the Constitution doesn't mean it's not a right."
"Quit living by a piece of paper and make your own rights based on being a living, thinking, feeling human being with good sense!"

Yeah those last two get me. People are making up their own "rights" and treating them as if they were law. Now I agree that basic rights may go beyond everything we have thought to right down... but no way does going by mrfluffypants69 on a forum count as a basic human right. That is just a strange idea. Yes I am aware of the political uses of being anonymous, but I don't think that people reporting human rights violations from some hellish dictatorship consider it a "RIGHT". I think they are just glad that their oppressive governments have not yet found a way to stop it. Did a guy in the 60's broadcasting on a ham radio about how terrible things were in Eastern Crapistan see it as a right? No, I think he was just glad that he didn't get caught.

At what point did people feel it was a right to be anonymous online? Clearly it's a culture and society based thing that has shifted dramatically over the last couple of decades. Not many older people expect to be able to say any crazy or hurtful thing you want in a public place and get away with it.

Say for example you threatened to kill someone in an ad you took out in the news paper, The police would likely be at your door asking you a few questions regardless if you posted your name or not. (The paper would never print it in the first place but lets say it slipped by...) Our culture would never get mad at the newspaper or the cops for maintaining the right to expose a person who did such a thing was. I don't even think anyone taking out such an ad would expect to remain anonymous, unless they were kinda dull witted.

Do you have the right to shout whatever you want in a crowded park? If you said loudly that you thought some under age person was sexually attractive, or that you planed to do harm a specific person, or even property, would you not expect to face some reprisal?

Here is an experiment. Go about your daily routine one saturday. Go to the store, take the kids to a park, go see a movie, shop around at the mall for a while, hit a few bars if thats your thing... but do it all wearing a mask and REFUSE to take it off claiming its your right to be anonymous. THAT should be fun. Personally I don't see much difference

So even though we have clearly defined rules of civilized behavior, people ignore those rules online and expect impunity as if it were a RIGHT! In fact many people clearly state that they feel being anonymous online IS, without question, a right as if it was granted by some recent legislation or covered under some existing privacy law. *blink* *Blink* Is it me, or would privacy laws (if they applied at all) only make sense if you didn't POST the information in the first place. In other words you were the one that said or did the crazy thing online. You MADE it public! Perhaps I am naive about the law (It would not surprise me) but this seems to be common sense.

So... As I see it, you are linked to what you say and do by thousands and thousands of years of tradition and developing laws. Pretending you can be a virtual version of yourself and do whatever you want is just fantasy. The only reason that people have gotten away with it up to this point is that it wasn't cost effective to control it. Now that computing power is cheap enough, peoples behavior is altered beyond any hope of putting the genie back in the bottle by decades of false belief that they were "magically invisible", and databases are full to a point of glut from people believing they are not exposing themselves, its time to start locking down the system and cashing in. People will think they are having freedoms removed... no sorry I really don't think anyone in a position of power ever intended to let you keep those privileges.