Digital Advent Calendar: The Christmas Experiments
Posted by Rebecca Blake on December 20, 2013
Now in its second year, the Christmas Experiments continues to showcase the quirky, fantastic holiday musings of coders and digital artists. Christmas Experiments functions as an online calendar, with a new offering revealed every day up through Christmas Eve. The submissions range from fun animations, such as “The Christmas Playlist” by David Donut, to winter landscapes, dancing Santas, interactive games, and a singing moose. Each project is a unique creation showcasing the talents (or providing a canvas for some experimental work) of the coder or artist.
One forewarning: some of the projects do not function well in Firefox or Safari. For the best user experience, we recommend downloading the latest version of Chrome – it’s worth your while.
Below: December 9-12 offerings on the Christmas Experiments website. Image © Christmas Experiments.
Adobe Reports Cyber Attack Breached Information for 2.9 Million Customers
Posted by Rebecca Blake on October 04, 2013
On October 3, Adobe reported that cyber attacks enabled attackers to download the customer data of about 2.9 million customers, including customer names, encrypted credit or debit card numbers, and expiration dates. Adobe does not believe that decrypted credit or debit card information was removed from the Adobe systems.
The attacks also permitted the removal of source code information on Adobe products, including Adobe Acrobat, ColdFusion, and ColdFusion Builder. While Adobe isn't aware of any "zero-day exploits" targeting Adobe products, they recommend the use of only supported versions of the software.
Adobe is resetting the passwords of affected customers, and has sent an email notification to those users with instructions on changing passwords and Adobe IDs. Adobe is also contacting customers whose credit or debit card information may have been compromised, and has notified banks processing Adobe customer payments. Federal law enforcement has also been contacted by Adobe.
Mixed Reactions to Adobe’s Creative Cloud™ Subscription
Posted by Rebecca Blake on August 22, 2013
In the three months since Adobe® announced it’s discontinuing its boxed version (and perpetual license) of Creative Suite® products in favor of a cloud-based subscription service, reactions from professional creatives has been mixed. The move provides both a deterrent to the rampant piracy of Adobe® software as well as a more stable revenue stream, since currently many users are unable or unwilling to pay for costly upgrades. Adobe® has bundled significant additional features in with the Creative Cloud™ software sets, including integration of a personal portfolio site via Behance® Prosite, integration of Typekit® webfonts, syncing of personal settings, tutorials, and more.
A cost analysis of the individual plans show that for Adobe® product users who purchase upgrades frequently, the cloud subscription service will lower costs initially. CNET calculated that the Design Standard boxed set would cost $1,648 for the initial cost and one upgrade, versus $1,800 for three year’s worth of Creative Cloud™ – and that would include eight additional software packages (such as Premiere Pro®) and online services.
For those users who skip version upgrades as a savings tactic, the new model will be more expensive. (This savings tactic may have been on the way out. Adobe® attempted to offer upgrades to CS6 only from CS5 and 5.5, but after a firestorm of criticism, changed the policy in January to permit upgrades from CS3 and 4). Digital Arts calculated that the tipping point on Cloud subscriptions – the point at which the monthly subscription becomes more expensive than a perpetual license – is 26 months for a CS6 Design Standard and 38 months for the CS6 Design and Web PremiumCS6 Design and Web Premium. Students are impacted the most; the tipping point for CS6 Design and Web Premium Student and Teacher Edition is just 20 months at the student subscription rate.
The backlash against Adobe® resulted in an online petition asking Adobe® to “Eliminate the mandatory Creative Cloud™ subscription model.” Protesters have a number of concerns beyond the pricing structure, including worries that Adobe® will hike up the monthly fees at any moment, and concerns about Internet connectivity, access to files, etc. (Adobe® has addressed many of the misconceptions about the Cloud model in their “5 Myths about Adobe Creative Cloud™.”) As of mid August, the petition had gained 38,000 signatures. Some users have been turning to alternatives to Creative Cloud™ and Adobe® products.
Adobe®, however, has been on track with their projected subscription levels since the release of Creative Cloud™. In a mid-June MacWorld article, Adobe® reported a total of 700,000 subscribers, and expected to reach their target of 1.25 million subscribers by the end of 2013. So far, Creative Cloud™ seems to be a success as a pricing model. But as a solution for piracy, the jury is still out; one day after the official release of Creative Cloud™, a torrent link to a pirated copy was uploaded to The Pirate Bay. Reports are that the copy works fine.
To This Day – Collaborating to Combat Bullying
Posted by Rebecca Blake on June 24, 2013
Canadian poet Shane Koyczan's childhood experience of being the target of relentless bullying led him to write his spoken word poem, To This Day. The poem is a moving recount of the pain and isolation bullying causes, and a call for those who've experienced it to live their lives as "a balancing act that has less to do with pain and more to do with beauty." Shane partnered with animation studio Giant Ant in Vancouver to create a collaborative animation of the poem. Overwhelmed with the quality and creativity of the submissions, Giant Ant incorporated the work of 86 artists to create multiple versions. The final animation was published in February of this year, and quickly went viral, garnering over 5,000,000 views in one week.
To This Day continues to educate on bullying and provide resources to victims. Their microsite publicizes an anti-bullying hotline and educational resources and recently released a free iPad app. The app includes the multiple versions of each segment of the animation, so that repeat views result in a different animation each time. The app also permits users to record their own version of the poem, and includes translations in Spanish and French.
Below is a selection of frames from the animation. (Images courtesy of Giant Ant. © Giant Ant)
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