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Professional programmers, located all over the world and distributing software globally, are using source code, libraries, tools, and services from all over the world, including China and Russia, for critical software that runs on Macs and everywhere else.
This is a perennial and well known problem. Developers that are acting responsibly should measure carefully what they deploy. While it is not always possible or reasonable to ask for source code, you can at least require that a component doesn't have any 'phone home' capabilities.

There is a problem with the app model that is serious. When apps can phone home (or even 'phone back' to Apple), it creates a hole in your security. If apps aren't hardened against network (wireless or otherwise) calls, it creates a hole in your security. Any subscription model is likely to carry similar issues.

There is an ongoing issue right now with Literature and Latte's Scrivener in which they released an update relating to their payment processor. Now many users are panicking because their software is threatening to turn off. If a connection isn't possible, a lot of software turns off. This sort of thing can happen to any vendor. But what if the vendor closes, or just cannot prioritize such a fix? At a minimum it is bad press any time you try to start the app. At the worst, suddenly a lot of people that are depending on an app for their work can be inexplicably be cut off from using it.

#security #development
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here’s an essential example of the whims and dangers of subscriptions and Internet authorization schemes...
Here's an update:
BleepingComputer said:
US Govt Grants Adobe a License to Continue Venezuela Business
Adobe will not discontinue its Digital Media services in Venezuela after the U.S. government granted the company a license to keep providing all of its services and products.

This follows a previous decision the company announced on October 7 to deactivate all accounts in Venezuela starting October 28 due to the U.S. government's Executive Order 13884 issued on August 5, 2019.

At the time, Adobe also said that it will also not issue any refunds after canceling all of its Venezuelan customers' subscriptions given that "Executive order 13884, orders the cessation of all activity with the entities including no sales, service, support, refunds, credits, etc."
 


Apple has an App Store “Story” about how Marc Edwards uses Affinity Designer to Create Icons in a Flash. (Note: “flash” here is a small amount of time, not Adobe's product.)

These videos convinced me it's time to learn Affinity Designer and replace Adobe CS6 Illustrator. The last time I used Illustrator, selecting and manipulating points on curves was unbearably dysfunctional.
 


One of the many odious manifestations of Adobe's approach to software lately is in the new Creative Cloud. No longer can you "pin" the app to the menubar. When it's working, it's a free-floating window.

I tried talking to them about this, but I got endless phone menus and, finally, some people who were clueless as to what I was saying. That's bad. What's worse is the disingenuous, deceptive message you get now when you try to quit the app. You get a floating window that says
If you quit now, the following processes will stop working:
Active installs and updates.
Hide Creative Cloud to keep working without interruption.
This is always displayed, even when there are no active installs and updates occurring.

I'm sure it benefits them in some way to have the app constantly running? Are they phoning home? Collecting data? I don't know, I assume the worst, which is what happens when a company repeatedly breaks the trust they had with their customers.

I was trying Affinity Photo but am leaving towards Pixelmator Pro more and more. The day will come, probably in 2020, when I kiss Adobe goodbye after 25 years of using their products.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here are yesterday's Adobe's announcements:
Adobe PR said:
https://news.adobe.com/press-release/creative-cloud/adobe-max-2019-empowering-creativity-all
Today at Adobe MAX, the world’s largest creativity conference, Adobe (Nasdaq: ADBE) announced the next generation of Creative Cloud—a release of faster and more powerful products spanning multiple surfaces. The company officially launched Adobe Photoshop on iPad and extended Adobe Fresco to Microsoft Surface, while also previewing the highly anticipated Adobe Illustrator on iPad and the all-new Photoshop Camera. Adobe continues to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation with the introduction of Adobe Aero, a new authoring tool for creating in augmented reality.

Adobe also released major updates to Lightroom, Premiere Pro, After Effects, InDesign and Adobe XD. With this Creative Cloud release, new Adobe Sensei-powered features were introduced across products including Auto Reframe in Premiere Pro, Object Selection in Photoshop, Auto Tone in Photoshop Camera and Live Brushes in Fresco as the company continues to enable creatives to work faster and smarter than ever before.
 


Coincidentally, the day before the news about 7.5 million Adobe Creative Cloud Accounts being exposed to the public, I went to install Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements on a new laptop, but the installer wouldn't proceed without an Adobe ID. Thank you, but no. (Actually, I said something less polite than that.)
That's been the case with the Creative Cloud apps for some years now. On the plus side, creation of an Adobe ID requires nothing more from you than a working email address, any name that you care to furnish, date of birth (usually serves to establish that you're of legal age to accept the EULA), and a password of your choosing....

Note that in this latest Adobe data exposure (by no means the first), the following information was exposed for about a week:
  • Email addresses
  • Account creation date
  • Which Adobe products they use
  • Subscription status
  • Whether the user is an Adobe employee
  • Member IDs
  • Country
  • Time since last login
  • Payment status
The data did not include payment information or passwords. This wasn't the result of a breach by a bad actor, but rather an egregious error at Adobe that allowed the file in question to be accessed via the internet.
 




One result of that update is that Suitcase Fusion no longer works with the Adobe CC suite. That's normal. What isn't is that Extensis just announced that they are moving to a subscription model, so that you'll have to pay an annual fee to use the software and to make sure it works with Adobe products.

Quark is still a holdout against subscriptions, though their new business model pushes Quark Advantage, which is a subscription that guarantees you the latest software but allows you to cancel without invalidating the last version of the program you had.
 


One result of that update is that Suitcase Fusion no longer works with the Adobe CC suite. That's normal. What isn't is that Extensis just announced that they are moving to a subscription model, so that you'll have to pay an annual fee to use the software and to make sure it works with Adobe products. Quark is still a holdout against subscriptions, though their new business model pushes Quark Advantage, which is a subscription that guarantees you the latest software but allows you to cancel without invalidating the last version of the program you had.
Yeah, but with Quark, they update each version annually (2018, 2019...), so with $295 for one year vs $695 for 3 years, they are herding users into a revenue stream. I have some users who are still on Quark 11... and cringe when they will need to replace their computers and apps with subscriptions (their income doesn't justify the costs to feed the likes of Adobe, Quark, Extensis, etc.). Wow... Suitcase Fusion is $85/yr. Why do we need font managers again? Can't we just use the Font Book?...
 


I think companies like Adobe, Quark, Extensis, et al justify high subscription rates based on their target demographic (whether that target is perceived or real). If their target is medium and larger companies, they can charge more, since the software expense per seat is small compared to wages and benefits. This hurts small companies and individuals/freelancers who can't absorb that cost. Now that I'm semi-retired, I don't spend money on software that doesn't significantly contribute to my vastly reduced income. I dropped Adobe CC, Apple Developer, FileMaker Developer, et al.
 


Keep in mind that Suitcase is not your only option for managing fonts. Version 7 of FontExplorerX Pro was just released recently. The upgrade from v6 is $59. I have pretty much phased out Suitcase, although I still have Suitcase 5 and Suitcase 6 on a couple of drives.
 


In addition to FontExporerX, which costs $119, there is FontAgent, which costs $99, and, like FontExplorerX, $59 for upgrades.

I have been using FontAgent for many years (perhaps as long as it has been available). To answer the question of Ed S. regarding just using Font Book, if one has many fonts (with the expectation that more will be added), it is good to be able to turn them on and off on the fly. It is not unusual for a graphics designer to need access to thousands of fonts; that would tax any system. A good font manager will also verify any new fonts coming into the system, and with Adobe integration, can automagically turn on fonts used in a previously saved project.

I do use Font Book to disable system fonts for languages I don't speak; it lets me know which ones will disrupt the system if I turn them off. To be honest, I've never tried using Font Book as a font manager, so I don't really know its strengths.
 


Keep in mind that Suitcase is not your only option for managing fonts. Version 7 of FontExplorerX Pro was just released recently. The upgrade from v6 is $59. I have pretty much phased out Suitcase, although I still have Suitcase 5 and Suitcase 6 on a couple of drives.
Just a caution… I have both FontExplorer X and FontAgent. I switch to one or the other depending on which serves me better. Recently I turned to FontExplorer X because they just issued an update right around the time when Catalina was released.

But with the latest release of Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps—InDesign 2020, Photoshop 2020, and Illustrator 2020—the respective FontExplorer X plug-ins no longer work. Automatic font activation does not work, and it seems to break whenever the CC apps are updated. Why they don’t coordinate with Adobe to minimize disruptions like this is a mystery.

I changed back to FontAgent and without its plug-ins installed, automatic font activation is still in effect! In fact, automatic font activation works with requests from other apps, e.g. Safari. I’m running version 9.5.1, updated September 2019, way older than the current version of FontExplorer X. As a matter of fact, FontAgent kept working all throughout the beta-testing phase of Catalina since July of this year.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Notes from OWC about Adobe's updated Creative Cloud (desktop) apps:
OWC blog said:
Adobe Creative Cloud 2020
Earlier this week, Adobe launched the latest version of the Creative Cloud suite, CC 2020. While we plan to offer a more detailed look at a later time, including the possibility of a couple competitive reviews (think Affinity apps), this article provides a quick overview.

Overall this release is more about the improvement of existing functions and added stability and less about headline features. While that’s not as exciting to the average user, this approach is not a bad thing. For years, many long-time users complained that Adobe fell victim to the “feature bloat” trap. They perennially released new features that were designed to wow people (i.e., were easier to market) but which were either not often requested or not fully “baked.” In the meantime, many existing, commonly used features were not evolving. Note that this article is focused on the desktop version of the applications.
Notes on new mobile versions of Adobe's apps:
The Verge said:
Adobe deals with ‘painful’ early reviews of Photoshop for iPad
At the kickoff keynote for Adobe Max, the company’s massive annual creativity conference, 15,000 designers and creatives cheered as Photoshop on the iPad was unveiled onstage. The long-anticipated app had been teased since last year’s conference, and the air in the Los Angeles Convention Center was filled with excitement as attendees finally got to try it out in between workshop sessions and panels hosted by inspirational speakers. But online was a different story, as negative reviews poured in on Twitter and YouTube, confirming early reports that the app was missing key features and felt unfinished.

On YouTube, the first search results for Photoshop on iPad populate videos calling the app “disappointing” and “bad for colorists.” One gets straight to the point, with the title, “RANT: Photoshop for iPAD SUCKS”. The sentiment is the same on Twitter, with artists questioning why the app is missing features that competitors like Procreate and the Affinity suite already offer on the iPad, and for a one-time fee, no less.
 



I prepare various panels/pages for placement in our club magazine. The person who produces the magazine uses Quark on a PC. I prepare my contribution in InDesign CS6 on my iMac (High Sierra). I distill the pages and view them in Acrobat in order to crop if required. Then I email the PDF to the layout man.

He has complained recently that he cannot place my PDFs. After much thought, I opened the PDF in Illustrator and saved it as a PDF from there. Bingo, he now can place the PDF.

Now, any ideas what is causing this? This week, a page that placed fine two months ago was rejected until sent through Illustrator. I would be greatful [for suggestions] as to why this is happening.
 


I prepare various panels/pages for placement in our club magazine. The person who produces the magazine uses Quark on a PC. I prepare my contribution in InDesign CS6 on my iMac (High Sierra). I distill the pages and view them in Acrobat in order to crop if required. Then I email the PDF to the layout man.

He has complained recently that he cannot place my PDFs. After much thought, I opened the PDF in Illustrator and saved it as a PDF from there. Bingo, he now can place the PDF.

Now, any ideas what is causing this? This week, a page that placed fine two months ago was rejected until sent through Illustrator. I would be greatful [for suggestions] as to why this is happening.
Have you looked at the PDF output settings between the two apps? I confess there are quite a few options there that I've never needed. I have just used the default CS6 settings and the printers are happy.
 


I prepare various panels/pages for placement in our club magazine. The person who produces the magazine uses Quark on a PC. I prepare my contribution in InDesign CS6 on my iMac (High Sierra). I distill the pages and view them in Acrobat in order to crop if required. Then I email the PDF to the layout man. He has complained recently that he cannot place my PDFs. After much thought, I opened the PDF in Illustrator and saved it as a PDF from there. Bingo, he now can place the PDF. Now, any ideas what is causing this? This week, a page that placed fine two months ago was rejected until sent through Illustrator. I would be greatful [for suggestions] as to why this is happening.
Unfortunately, Distiller is a fairly antiquated method of creating PDFs. Short of having a high-end RIP do the work for you, the best practice for years now has been to export PDFs directly from InDesign or to save them out of Illustrator. The fact that he can place the ones you save out of Illustrator indicate that Distiller is likely adding something that's no longer supported to the file. You may be able to save an optimized version out of Acrobat and accomplish the same thing.
 


Now, any ideas what is causing this? This week, a page that placed fine two months ago was rejected until sent through Illustrator. I would be greatful [for suggestions] as to why this is happening.
We have created our own custom PDF presets for InDesign, but if ever we have issues with a PDF, the first thing we try is Adobe's default "Press Quality" preset. Give it a try and see if it resolves the issue.

We haven't used Distiller for about 10 years - I doubt it's getting much love, given how virtually everything can generate PDFs directly.
 


From an email from GraphPad regarding Prism (a statistical program for science and we've use it since forever)....
Hi there,
You asked, we delivered. Prism 8.3 introduces one of the most frequently requested features, the ability to perform logistic regression. Stay up to date with the latest versions of Prism as they are released by upgrading to a subscription*.
 


Unfortunately, Distiller is a fairly antiquated method of creating PDFs. Short of having a high-end RIP do the work for you, the best practice for years now has been to export PDFs directly from InDesign or to save them out of Illustrator. The fact that he can place the ones you save out of Illustrator indicate that Distiller is likely adding something that's no longer supported to the file. You may be able to save an optimized version out of Acrobat and accomplish the same thing.
Many thanks. I used the Export option out of InDesign CS6, and the layout man says it's fine and places in Quark on his PC. So, many thanks for the tip, which I had not used for ages. Some years ago I used the Export option, and another printer could not read the output. Anyway, we don't use that printer now, and all is hunky dory now, so again thanks for your tip.
 


Speaking of PDFs, in my migration from Photoshop to Affinity, I am losing an ability that is essential to a certain part of my workflow: that is, export to PDF – specifically, the ability to combine a number of graphics files into one PDF.

In Photoshop, one can choose Automate, then choose PDF Presentation, and choose to either add unopened files or simply add already-opened files to the list and create a multi-page PDF.

Does anyone here know of an alternate method of easily creating a multi-page PDF from a number of photos? I realize I could make a book in Publisher, but that would not really qualify as an "easy" solution. Thanks in advance.
 


Does anyone here know of an alternate method of easily creating a multi-page PDF from a number of photos? I realize I could make a book in Publisher, but that would not really qualify as an "easy" solution. Thanks in advance.
I use Adobe Acrobat Pro, an old version (10.1.16) to combine PDFs.
 


Does anyone here know of an alternate method of easily creating a multi-page PDF from a number of photos?
This works for Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and PDF Expert:

In the Finder, select the photos you want to combine into a PDF file. Drag the selected photos onto Adobe Acrobat Pro DC or PDF Expert. You'll get a dialog asking if you want to combine the files into a single PDF. Answer appropriately. After some processing you'll have a single PDF with all of your images.

Note: Acrobat may first ask if you want to run OCR on the files. Just say no.
 


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