Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Don’t Let the GREED of ADOBE Rob You of Income!

 A photographer has to remain vigilant if s/he is attempting to do Photography for Income. Adobe software has become one of the greediest companies in the software world. Their unmitigated greed led Apple to develop their own software alternatives to the bloated Adobe software offerings.

I have been a loyal Adobe customer for over 15 years. I started with Photoshop 3.0. Since I used both MAC and PC, I bought a copy of each software: 3, 3.5, 4, 5, 5.5, 6 (a crappy version, I might add), 7, CS, etc. I have paid these people a boatload of cash over the years. And my payback for being a loyal customer was to be kicked in the face and cast aside.

A few years back, Photoshop 7 quit working on my PC. Adobe said, gee, sorry, we are no longer supporting that version; you’ll have to buy a newer version. Thank god automobile companies don’t follow the same upgrade path:

 “Oh, your 2009 Corvette stopped running? We are so sorry, we stopped supporting that version. You will have to upgrade to a newer version and just throw away what you have now. Yes, we know you paid $55,000 for it, but it’s no longer supported. Sorry.”

Anyway, I bought the newer version. About 2 years after that purchase, my Dell desktop lost its mother board (bad capacitors), so I had to replace it. I loaded PS CS3 on my new machine. Less than 90 days later, the Solid State Drive (SSD) failed. Dell replaced the SSD. However, I had a problem: Adobe limits Activation to two instances. I could not deactivate the software due to hardware failures. So I called Adobe.

It was not a good experience.

After waiting an hour for online tech support, I had a rep. He admonished me that my User’s Agreement only permits me to run the software on two machines, one machine at a time. I told him I wasn’t trying to install it on multiple machines—I just wanted to put it on ONE machine. I explained I had experience hardware failures, etc.

He asked for my serial number. I gave it to him: MY PHOTOSHOP 3 SERIAL NUMBER WAS 1330-1615-0223-6773-3008-9278. He told me that this was not a valid serial number. I told him that I must beg to differ…it has installed my software each time. He asked if I could tell him where I bought it. I said no, I wanted to buy CS5 and contacted them, but they were out of business. He asked if I had the proof of purchase. I said, “For a piece of software I bought over 3 years ago? No.”

I told him I could take a picture of my serial number with my cell phone and send it to him (see images above). He said that did not prove it was valid! In other words, I paid the full retail price; I cannot reactivate it, too bad for me. As far as I am concerned, this is no different from theft. The only difference is that Adobe doesn’t use a gun.

Photoshop has always been an expensive program. Thank god the hardware cost has come down over the years, because the price of Photoshop has more than doubled. Now, they are moving to a Cloud based model that will cost you $50 a month to use the software.

I would advise every photographer to avoid patronizing this company at all costs. Corel has a photo editing package, but it is not very responsive. It is workable, but I think there are better choices. Aperture, ChocoFlop, Seashore, and Pixelmator are a couple of Mac only options. Some PC choices are PhotoPlus,Pixlr  Editor,  Inkscape, Xara, and Pixia. Here are some other alternatives:

Splashup (formerly Fauxto) http://www.splashup.com/

A couple of photo editing programs were bundled with Epson and other printers, and may still be found on the internet.

The last option is to use pirated software. A Google search will lead you to may sources. I have been a vocal critic of pirating software ever since I started using a computer. But if greedy software companies like Adobe are going to steal from us, we might as well return the favor.
I know that I will NEVER pay for another Adobe product ever again.

What are your thoughts? Let me know here.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Don't be Swallowed Up by the Social Media Monster!

I have a friend who will remain nameless (But David in Flint, you know who you are) who spends as much time on email and Social Networking as he does taking photographs. I think he's addicted, although he is much better than he was 10 years ago. Now granted, some of this is actual business, and there's nothing wrong with promoting your business on linkedin and Facebook. But be careful: too much twiddling and not enough effective promoting can seriously impact your income!

Many photographers find themselves drowning in email, Twitter messages, and Facebook posts. After all, one comes along at the rate of about 1 per minute. By day's end, you start to feel the urgency--imagined or real--of having to read and/or answer all of these messages! Does this sound like you--(be honest!)? If so, you can be sure it's killing your productivity, ergo your business.

With over 35 years of business experience, I had to make time management a top priority--because I am not an organized person by nature. I found to keep on track I had to filter all of the time demands that existed. So here are the top 3 tips from time management experts that can help you get control of that Social Media Monster:

1. Set aside specific times to answer messages. Preferably first thing in the morning, right after lunch, and right after you have quit for the day.

2. Turn off instant notifications. Let's face it, the constant reminder of  incoming messages a distraction. And honestly, how many times are they so important you HAVE to act on them immediately? Not that often, right? Do yourself a big favor, shut off the instant notifications on your computer or tablet and on your smart phone. Check them during down time or a missed appointment, or at the same time you check your email.

3. Don’t read a message without doing something with it immediately. Email (and other messages) come in 3 types: junk, reference, and action items. Delete the junk right now. If you feel a message has information you’ll need to reference later, drag it into a folder. You can save even MORE time if you set up filters in your email program to have these messages placed in their folder automatically. For example, if I get a message from PayPal, I have a label (folder if you are using Windows Mail) set up in Gmail that sends that message to the "PayPal" label. This leaves action items. Pay close attention to this: answer them immediately and delete them! If you feel a message will take more time to complete, or if it has the potential for being a profit maker (like an email from me), create a "TASK" and set a "COMPLETION DATE." As part of your daily message review, review your tasks. Here's the kicker--you are going to discover that on average 50% (some time management experts say 80%!) get old and reach the Completion Date without any action being taken. If this happens, delete it.

These tips, in addition to keeping you on task and prevent time wasting, has the added benefit of keeping your inbox tidy. My wife chides me about how many messages I have. She shouldn't throw stones! Truth be told I think AOL sends her warning messages about having so many emails in her inbox it's slowing down their system! Sorry baby, you know I love you!

Make sure that if you are doing Photography for Income, that you will actually earn an income! As always, your comments are welcome!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Canon New Repair Policy Worrisome?

Sorry to be so long between posts: I have a 4½ year old granddaughter who is affectionately known as "The Princess." And The Princess insisted on having a special room just for her at Grandma's castle. She said, "The next time I come here, I want it to be done, I want it to be pink, and I want it to be perfect!" So Papa was busy constructing The Princess' domain.

To all of my xBox friends, I PROMISE MrPicture will back on soon to help to kill the bad guys and talk smack to our opponents! Anyway, back to Photography for Income:

At the PhotoPlus Expo held at the Javitz Center in NYC, the Teamsters distributed leaflets and held banners protesting Canon's new repair policy. In the past, photographers in NYC could drop their cameras at local repair shops and often get same day or next day turnaround. But that is over: Canon now has customers ship their equipment to out of state facilities. And that can lead to long wait times.

In contrast, Nikon retains its 20 authorized repair shops across the US...including NYC.

Now to be sure, Teamsters Local 210 is upset because this move hurts its members, who are the repairmen. It is destroying local, skilled repair techs' jobs. To add insult to injury, Canon provides a much higher standard of customer service. The Teamsters have employed numbers of photographers to demand that Canon rescind this policy and restore access to independent authorized local repair service.

Here's the thing: if you are doing Photography for Income, this should not be a concern. Why? Because if you don't have at LEAST two bodies and at LEAST two lenses and at LEAST two flash units, you shouldn't be doing Photography for Income.

By not investing in your business, you put your customer at risk, AND your reputation at risk. A good reputation takes a long time to create...and just one bad experience to destroy. Make sure you are doing it the right way.

As always, your comments are welcome.