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posted by martyb on Sunday December 06 2015, @01:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the rethinking-closed-source-software dept.

Akkana reports via the Shallow Thoughts blog

I went to a night sky photography talk on Tuesday. The presenter talked a bit about tips on camera lenses, exposures; then showed a raw image and prepared to demonstrate how to process it to bring out the details.

His slides disappeared, the screen went blank, and then ... nothing. He wrestled with his laptop for a while. Finally he said "Looks like I'm going to need a network connection", left the podium, and headed out the door to find someone to help him with that.

I'm not sure what the networking issue was: the nature center has open wi-fi, but you know how it is during talks: if anything can possibly go wrong with networking, it will, which is why a good speaker tries not to rely on it. And I'm not blaming this speaker, who had clearly done plenty of preparation and thought he had everything lined up.

Eventually they got the network connection, and he connected to Adobe. It turns out the problem was that Adobe Photoshop is now cloud-based. Even if you have a local copy of the software, it insists on checking in with Adobe at least every 30 days. At least, that's the theory. But he had used the software on that laptop earlier that same day, and thought he was safe. But that wasn't good enough, and Photoshop picked the worst possible time--a talk in front of a large audience--to decide it needed to check in before letting him do anything.

Someone sitting near me muttered "I'd been thinking about buying that, but now I don't think I will." Someone else told me afterward that all Photoshop is now cloud-based; older versions still work, but if you buy Photoshop now, your only option is this cloud version that may decide ... at the least opportune moment ... that you can't use your software any more.

[...] I talked to the club president afterward and offered to give a GIMP talk to the club some time soon, when their schedule allows.


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by VLM on Sunday December 06 2015, @12:41PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Sunday December 06 2015, @12:41PM (#272468)

    It turns out the problem was ... Adobe Photoshop

    Wrong tool for the job. Its like using MS word for your software IDE and then complaining its a crap tier replacement for powerpoint presentations. I mean, sometimes, with aggressive effort, if its the only tool you know how to use, it can be abused into working, but ...

    This is also the problem with the suggestion to use GIMP.

    You're not trying to remove redeye from portraits and make collages and meme pix, you're trying to do scientific data analysis.

    Note that the astrophotography market has good free stuff, and shittier pay stuff that comes with a contract. The free stuff is generally pretty awesome and "scientific grade".

    Search for deepskystack or whatever its called or FITS software in general. IRIS used to be pretty decent, although it suffered horribly from MySQL disease where RAW image support was added in like 2000 but to this day you'll get people insisting IRIS doesn't support raw, LOL. DS9/SAOimage, tons of stuff like that. Using real astrophotography apps is like using emacs to edit code instead of MsWord.

    Ironically real licensed legal photoshop is a horrorshow of a learning curve and very expensive, but the good astrophotography software is mostly free.

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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 07 2015, @10:50AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 07 2015, @10:50AM (#272843)

    Wrong tool for the job. Its like using MS word for your software IDE and then complaining its a crap tier replacement for powerpoint presentations. I mean, sometimes, with aggressive effort, if its the only tool you know how to use, it can be abused into working, but ...

    This is also the problem with the suggestion to use GIMP.

    You're not trying to remove redeye from portraits and make collages and meme pix, you're trying to do scientific data analysis.

    Umm, not necessarily. Sure, you want to use DSS or regim or somesuch to stack the raw images, maybe fitswork to flatten the background, but afterwards you may simply want to get a pretty picture - for which the use of GIMP (>= 2.9 to get more than 8bit/channel) or PS is indeed legit. The pro software here would be e.g. PixInsight, for which I've seen spectacular results, but which does come with a hefty price tag.

    If you want to get closer to a professional workflow, theli may fit your needs.

    Note, whichever workflow you want to use, it does take quite some practice to become proficient. As an amateur astrophotographer, I'm still trying to get past a beginner level regarding post-processing.

  • (Score: 2) by morgauxo on Monday December 07 2015, @05:17PM

    by morgauxo (2082) on Monday December 07 2015, @05:17PM (#272956)

    Was he trying to do scientific data analysis? In the middle of his presentation? I would think he had already done that and would now be simply showing pictures and talking. I agree, wrong tool. But... maybe all he needed was a simple image viewer. Probably the one that came with his OS would do just fine! I suppose since he was using Photoshop the photos were probably in Photoshop's format. So.. convert them before the speach! It seems like a very obvious thing to do.