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Adobe Elements (Version 15) SUX [1]

Adobe Elements is the $40-$80(?) peasant’s image editor product, as opposed to Adobe’s snooty elitist Photoshop et al. ... There are two parts to elements: (1.) the “paint program” image editor itself, and (2.) an image dis-organizer. ... And there are so many reasons Elements 15 sux but, basically, I didn’t have any fun battling with Adobe as their malevolent robots installed advertising on my computers. Especially considering the numerous alternatives, some free!

But if you enjoy pop-up ads from a program you thought you paid-for, or you like software freezing to utter stillness whenever your internet connection gets a little frosty — well then, Elements 15 is the product for you! ... Another compelling reason to purchase Elements 15 is the totally-unbiased unanimous opinion of the obviously disinterested photo magazines and web sites. Although they also universally conclude that you should really subscribe for life to the super-deluxe explicitly eternal-slavery Photoshop/Lightroom. ... Finally, your Adobe purchase will include all the fabulous features Adobe photo products contain, as opposed to the unbelivably tawdry ho-hum amateur-nite stuff like what’s in PSPX. And the Adobe features are certified as totally super by every single photo magazine and website, via totally unbiased tests. ... Well, excluding moi....

... But if you, like me, prefer cheap junk and not having your computer function as an adobe advertising kiosk, you could buy PSPX, or even maybe a cheapo old elements — elements is the kiddie-wheels photoshop anyway; does it really matter which version of the kiddie wheels you get? Particularly when there are so many useful free paint programs and of course the strange & beautiful free rawtherapee for those sensitive and totally-necessary raw effects. And if you have a Canon/Nikon DSLR with raw, you can probably get a free program from the manufacturer which can deal with its raw images, at least I could from Canon.

.... Despite unending irritation, I did enjoy my journey through Adobe flake and flaming menace — retrospectively, anyway — because in the process I’ve unraveled various mysteries which puzzled me when I saw throught the glass darkly. ... But in the end, Adobe annoyed me so much I uninstalled Elements 15 and blew my $40 like a man, or at least a hysterical geezer, and I consider the money well-spent on malware education. ... Since the entire hobbyist photography thing is largely a scam — particularly the magical DSLR flavor, but all the silly ridiculously-expen$ive cameras, the pictures taken with which cannot be distinguished — except by an expert — from the much cheaper ≤2012 (used) flavor, which I enthusiastically favor, my only pleasure in Elements 15 — and photoshop for that matter — is a priceless quantity of exhilarating scorn & ridicule. ... Which I suppose I’ve cashed-out already, as I hurl my impotent contempt at them here....

License Extortion

After a few weeks — maybe at a bogus 30-day period? — elements 15 started demanding organizer registration. The editor still ran, I think. ... These are such wonderful products. ... Click the picture => to see how wonderful — note that solutions provided by innocent idiots in the adobe forums didn’t work — in 2013!

But the solution was so EZ! ... All I had to do was uninstall my Elements version 10![1] And all these poor fools on the web, that’s all they had to do. Probably. Although Adobe’s not talking. ... So Simple! So Obvious! So Stupid! ... And of course the befuddled would-be monopoly isn’t comfortable with anybody running any program they can’t control or destroy. Which is one reason at least why I eventually reinstalled version 10[1] after uninstalling the version 15 malware.

Official Adobe: Standard Modern Mendacity

I actually tried asking Adobe, and despite the obvious previous history an official adobe rep knew nothing of mysterious license extortions — but this is the standard modern mendacity; all these companies know everything about their incompetent failure modes and it is one of the duties of the personnel to pretend otherwise, so it’ll always be a surprise. ... Disappointingly, the rep didn’t produce the “well I’ve never heard of that before” excuse, which I guess has gotten too well-known as a legendary mediocrity justification. ... But no; Official Adobe says “sometimes the licensing between different versions gets whacked. It’s not common, but does occasionally happen.” And observe my children: Official Adobe Officially Implies there are other reasons the licensing “gets whacked”. ... Cheers us up, doesn’t it?

... But on my weary way, I discovered I had seemingly trashed my Elements 10[1] CDs — which is unusual here in the laboratory — so I couldn’t reinstall it somewhere just to continue my joyous vituperation. It’s almost as if, contrary to all my traditional practice, I was trying to protect myself from a loathsome disorder. ... But Lo! It was just a mild fault, perhaps involved in the 1000s of miles journey to paradise, and the thing is found again in its product box, and all will be well. And I installed it again on a derelict crate.

... After “fixing” my elements 15 by uninstalling elements 10,[1] I asked the adobe rep if there was some way to install both programs on the same machine. He never answered, but I won’t hold my breath.

Pop-up Advertising!

Just in case there was any doubt about Adobe shoddiness, I got a pop-up ad! Just like the pop-up virii you get from a dubious internet site, you lucky customer! ... And like typical annoyanceware/malware, there was no “X” or “close” button, just an ominous “Later”, because surely you’ll want to buy whatever c--p Adobe’s flogging, if they pester you enough? ... But the pop-up did close with Elements 15, the obvious moral being: don’t run elements, and before that, don’t buy it....

Icky-Poo Image Management

The Lightroom/Elements Organizer approach to image file management / libraries / catalogs whatever they’re called is a lot like whatever picture junk Apple is flogging this week, the prime objective of which is, apparently, to hide any knowledge of where the things actually are, because the poor wittle user cain’t stand the terror.[15] And perhaps he’ll be less likely to notice he’s been signed up for the cloud — which, apparently, is the admitted raison d’être for the Win 10 Usux™ “Photos” product.

... I am basically opposed to this approach and love my directories, and so I integrated elements and my photoshop 7-day trial into the free faststone / irfanview / xnview directory-oriented image browsers — not to mention routinely using various image editors directly from my vast and menacing OwenShow.

Useless

The Adobe/Apple/Usux™ image organization style, with One Giant Catalog, works great if you’ve got 37 images. For 370, it’s iffy; for 3,700, it’s useless. That’s why the Deity gave us directories and subdirectories....

Your Directories, Your Images

Tragically, to really deal with large numbers of images the aspiring æsthete probably has to deal with computer directories, and use a file manager with the dreaded directory trees. My beloved OwenShow is probably not the best choice for that but is, of course, what I use, since I have insider connections. ... But one can use the more common photo management gadgets that just show the pictures in a directory, like the excellent and free IrfanView (if the file count’s not too high — 3,806 for instance, is too high for irfanview on my 2011/i7 machine[6]) and/or many paint programs come with such, including my beloved paint shop pros, pre- and post-“X”. And all the free image browsers I’ve encountered provide a tree view alongside the pictures,[15] which can, indeed, be used to navigate through your own directories without too much trouble. ... Faststone is another excellent free contender and is much faster than Irfanview but shockingly doesn’t display my beloved PSP images (somehow IrfanView does). ... And at last the free Xnview’s fast and shows PSP pictures! All three support installing — with varying levels of geeky difficulties — a desired paint program or two so you can browse a directory and then edit an image with wild abandon, just like a store-bought catastrophe.

Dubious Excuses for Image Disorganization

I suppose I should note extenuations for the repulsive image mismanagement of organizer & lightroom and doubtless many others....

  1. In days of yore, PCs were real stupid — along with the DSLR-worshipping senile boomer users, to be sure — and re-browsing a directory’d take a terrible long time. So caching schemes to save the thumbnails were developed.

  2. These things were contrived on the sacred Macintosh — notoriously, the creatives’ computer — so they were special. The creatives wanted EZ-does-it pictures and didn’t want to hear about directories. Which anyway were shy or nonexistent on early PCs....

The Mac was designed to be anti-competitive; Jobs didn’t want no stinkin’ competitors, and when he got back after the coup he killed-off the barely-breathing attempts to license the thing. So it was much less likely that stupid features developed on the Mac and worshipped by inspired creatives would be altered.

My beloved Windows-only antique Paint Shop Pros leave little files in the directory which contain the picture thumbnails, avoiding re-scanning, and without any stupid centralized crash-tropic catalog. (Later PSPXs store the thing somewhere else, and also provide an alternate catalog feature.) Probably sometime before 1990 this problem was solved on the mac in the wrong way, probably with some awful spaghetti code monstrosity in assembler. These unwholesome tendencies were enhanced no doubt by early digital camera image-PC-transfer schemes involving proprietary protocols over serial cables, or worse. ... And in those dark days, it probably wasn’t clear the deluge of digital images to come — people still thought in terms of the 24 or 36 exposures on a roll of 35mm film, and indeed an early photoshop appearance was in a 1988 slide scanner bundle. By the time PSP’s first browser showed-up in the 1996 version 4, the staggering abundance of digital imagery had become obvious & menacing.

... In summary, stuffing all your images into a stupid “library” was the way we did it in the old days, sonny, on real macs and, therefore, the best possible way....

Uninstalling Elements 15[11]

The way it was, I tried running the old Elements version 10 editor on one machine and Elements 15 on another, both on the same antique raw file — and I couldn’t tell which was memorex. ... I’m of course confident that elements 15 has so many things that I will miss — NOT; unless I develop an uncontrollable longing for scammy malware advertising copy-extortion. Or perhaps the legendary dehaze....

Of course, it seems to be one of these programs that lingers-on forever until you reboot or perhaps dynamite your machine. ... It certainly wouldn’t go away easy in the beloved Windows 7 crate, which I am now rebooting. ... It seemed to manage OK on my win8 machine — which figures. Although then again, I never installed the photoshop trial on that machine, so perhaps that’s like super-tainted.

... Over the Edge ...

But it was probably the advertisement that pushed me over the edge; with that evocative “later” button, but no “close”. I mean, I use malwarebytes’ (free!) scanner to get rid of things like that. ... But then there was also the adobe rep’s response, earlier, to my pitiful plea, when he used the phrase “we could probably have worked through correcting it” after I told him I’d fixed my difficulty by uninstalling Elements version 10.[1] I’ve seen that phrase “worked through” used by the criminals who sold me Delphi, when I told them I was going to dispute their credit card charge. It’s apparently what these kindly compassionate reps say to try and keep the mark customer dangling until he’s passed the point where he’s likely to dispute the charge, by “working” through it with lengthy email exchanges, although obviously the rep is going to know all about the amusing ways his scammy product fails. ... I suppose, even ’though I’ve paid my $40 elements stupidity tax, I’ve still managed to afflict Adobe’s bottom line in my unimportant little way, by depriving them of whatever profit centers they planned to install on my poor pwned machines....

... All Gone — quiet serene rapture....

After rebooting, the antique win7 machine seems to have disinfected itself. ... But now I will attempt to clean ancillary adobe infections, presumably installed with the photoshop trial. ... “Adobe Community Help” took a suspenseful while. And uninstalling the dreaded “Creative Cloud” whatever-it-is did another internet hit! ... But it actually disappeared from the windows uninstall menu, after a suitable frightening interval. ... Without rebooting. ... Then I purged Adobe from my firewalls and autoruns — so, I sincerely hope, that any further Adobe attempts will pop-up the firewall dialog and I can compassionately joyously forbid them — and I feel safe. ... Well, safer. ... It’s so sad when honest thugs can’t make a decent living from extortion ... idn’t it?

... For a brief barren time, I had forgotten my prime directive: fun. ... I’m not one of those imaginary would-be professional sensitive spirits who plague the magazine/internet world of puffy made-up expen$ive hobbies. ... But I do enjoy perusing/scorning the pitiful propaganda....

Elements 15 Edit

I vastly prefer antique paint programs, and when I want to correct a bad scan etc., I’ll go to my beloved 2004 PSP9, although occasionally I’ll consult a more modérne PSPX — all of which programs support “straightening” an image like the thing over there with a “perspective correction” tool: I place a 4-corner non-rectangular form over where the object seems to have four should-be-right-angle corners — dragging the non-rectangular form’s corners anywhere, whatever way it takes — and click a check-box and it’ll make it so the box is rectangular, rearranging the rest of the image to do it.[3] ... Aside from crummy scans, this is marvelously useful for straightening parts of everyday digital camera images, which rarely will have a rectangular perspective, either by accident or design. ... None of the adobe products had this useful feature until recently. And Elements still lacks it. I think; I may need the dehaze filter to see through the drifting puffery.[18]

... Darkness ...

... Tragically, out of simple boredom/curiosity/self-destructive tendencies I tormented myself with a 30-day trial Elements 15, after filling-in my retina scan and date of birth for the adobe robot. And to install the trial, once again I had to type my Adobe password manually: no sneaky pasting allowed you theft-minded miscreant! ... And the ~40’ installation brought my pitiful 2011 desktop to all but a standstill; programs loaded glacially, and the install routinely stold the focus — to nothing. ... I.e. a typical modern Winders™ install. But a 2012 forum q&a says I can install it on two machines, lucky me. ... So, compounding the horror, I bought it....

I ran the organizer first, and the cursor disappeared! ... But at least the escape key works on the rest of the computer (it doesn’t in version 10[1]). ... But it was all just a dark dream that faded away, once the program got permanently-connected to the internet & mother adobe. ... Until I uninstalled it....

Help?

... The editor help is online only — oh I lie; there is a pdf manual somewhere. But the online help is worse than useless; it actively misleads and does simple web searches. ... And the program constantly phones home about everything, which undoubtedly means when adobe is down — which of course never happens — your beloved Elements 15 is too — just like the eternal slavery photoshop itself. Or even if, heaven forfend, your internet connection is flaky.

$$$?

... Anyway, disdaining the ridiculous disorganizer, I integrated the Elements editor into my free dynamic trio Xnview & Faststone & Irfan. ... On the bright side, Elements 15 does have glorious raw processing, although it first advertises the superlative eternal slavery lightroom CC, whose raw feature has much more stuff. The elements raw feature is probably there to compete with PSPX; the $40 amazon price, too, presumably. Suggesting that ol’ Adobe’s not raking in the ducats out there, despite being puffed in every photo mag on earth and even recently MaximumPC, undoubtedly from entirely unbiased & disinterested motivations. ... But then @ 12/2/16 Elements 15 was $60!!! — and out-of-stock. $80 @ 12/8/16! ... Christmas pricing no doubt. But it makes the PSPX previous version all the more attractive — old version pspx8 ultimate was $25 at 12/2 — and current-version PSP X9 ultimate’s down to $50! ... Different spirit of Christmas pricing?

Elements 15 has the fabulous dehaze feature which I couldn’t find — but I realized that’s because I childishly searched the pdf manual for “dehaze” when I should’ve searched for “haze”, dummy. ... The help is useless of course. ... OK the “Enhance” menu has “Haze removal” but it was grayed — oh it was just honoring my read-only file and not telling me of course. ... And voila! It is there. ... I am so excited. ... While I’m groveling in the elements menus, “image / transform / perspective” is where that’s at, and of course as of yore it has only the sacred “Rotate Scale Skew” and it doesn’t even seem to be interactive although it’s true I cannot conceive how it works anyway and the help is useless. But the pdf’s got it, so I could toil away whenever. ... But it still doesn’t have psp’s perspective correction tool.

Installing Elements 15

So after my cognitive-impairment moment when I purchased the Adobe virus, I installed it. ... Elements 15 is superbly copy-extorted; even after entering the product serial number during the install, at two installations, mother Adobe still wanted the serial-number to “license” the software. ... And of course who knows what she’ll want next; the anticipation was fabulously exciting, until I uninstalled it. ... I hope. ... But the installed elements 15 menu froze-up, just like the organizer before. Dead as a dodo....

The Endless Internet & the Second Machine

But it was just the pitiful thing phoning home at every key stroke and mouse click and probably just for fun when it hadn’t done it for 10’’. Because it wants mother to know what you’re up-to, or else something bad might happen! ... But I could install it on a second machine, although supposedly that’s the limit — and mother will know, ’cause of the internet that knows when you’ve been sleeping/cheating. ... Same 37++ firewall hits there, all of which I serenely permitted since I learned to kiss the whip. ... And eventually it actually ran. Of course it takes minutes to start on my shamefully ancient 2011 machines. ... And it continues to hit the firewall as the world turns and I click something I haven’t clicked before or who knows.

Elements 15 (Dis-)Organizer

Even after I managed to calm it down with unlimited internet access, it’s still challenging to figure-out how to get stuff into the disorganizer. ... There’s a directory I made “AdobeTests” which has around 40 images in it; the organizer showed two. I tried in various ways to convince it to see the rest, but I failed. I assume the true Adobe fan is born knowing how to do this, but I, sadly, wasn’t, at least not in half an hour.

How to Get Images Into Organizer

Well it’s so EZ, and it’s just like lightroom. ... I clicked the prominent “Import” thing on the top, and I could paste a directory path name into it, and eventually I imported hordes of lovely images! And I was able to select an image — there’re no captions (?), so I had to click on the info panel or something to see the name, although I think I eventually found-out how to display the filenames — and then select “photo editor” and barge right into the elements 15 editor! With, to be sure, a few ads for superior permanent-slavery products. ... And the “watch” feature — right-click a folder in the organizer and click “watch” or something — works so the next time you enter the organizer, it’ll pop-up with the glad news that a new image has appeared (if that’s the case of course) and allow you to get it in, maybe. ... And, if I make my magical batch program give it a directory argument, it’ll import the stuff (just like lightroom!). ... And see my further spiteful complaints.

... So we will conclude our elements 15 scenic tour with the calm reflection that, once connected to the internet intimately, Elements 15, the editor and the organizer, don’t routinely hangup.[1] But PSPX, particularly the “last-version” cheapo offering — pspx8 was $30 @ amazon 11/13/16 — is obviously preferable, and can run without constant internet hammering; although it likes to put up an annoyanceware screen but I’ve just learned to dismiss it, and I run my PSPX without any internet connection at all! ... Totally firewalled! ... Of course sadly Corel may learn from adobe, and who knows how PSP X9 or subsequent versions will behave.[19] ... But I, at least, am prepared to live in the past.

Photoshop!

Still in a fey mood, I went and did a 7-days trial photoshop/lightroom. ... Be still my beating heart — I experienced all the thrills and degradation of photoshop slavery without my credit card. ... Oddly, while the desktop fan roared for photoshop, it didn’t roar as much as it did for Elements 15. ... But there are still the Adobe-standard endless firewall assaults.

... And there was no way to start the program again after I exited. It gave me an “Adobe Creative Clod” icon and maybe there’s some mystery secret way to start photoshop with it ... oh yes the “Apps” icon. So I immediately concocted my geeky batch files to actually run these silly programs without the creative clod icon. ... And it can see my pitiful Kodak raw files! Like elements 15 — and the PSPXs and the free rawtherapee.

... And the icons amazingly are a lot like other paint programs, & the thousands of features, of course, totally different. ... I’m almost willing to believe that some Photoshop features are superior to my beloved PSPs — but definitely not eternal-slavery-worth superior. And in the interface between the squshy human and the machine, it’s not unlikely — based on my limited experience with this and other Adobe products — that PSPX does things easier than Photoshop. ... And despite appearances, I’m trying to have fun here — and I must concede that trolling the features of a 7-days photoshop/lightroom trial isn’t fun. ... The totally unbiased fanatic foto fans in the magazines and online will of course aver that in every single particular photoshop towers above all competition. ... But I’m an atheist.

You say Warp, I say Correction

Apparently, like elements 15, photoshop has useless online help only — and once again, I lie; it has a pdf manual.[8] And probably the elements manual also shoots you up to the glorious web for the more advanced features, from links in the pdf.

... And Photoshop didn’t have the EZ “perspective correction” tool that paint shop pro has had since non-X 2003 version 8! — no, it’s got some wacko “perspective warp” thing and since there’s a photosop help deficit, it took me quite a while to figure it out.[8] This page explains how it works, and eventually I think I got it; but the psp version is much easier — particularly after I realized I had to uncheck the pspx8 “crop” box. ... Although still, the photoshop rendition preserved noticeably better proportionality, so the photoshop result might have been more usable — I used a crummy fisheye image to torment things, and pspx left it “squashed” which I could fix some other way but I forgot how.[5]

... But photoshop or at least lightroom might have the guided upright feature which is almost as good....

Other Silly Features ...

Magic Select: The photoshop/lightroom durance trial was over when I looked-into the feature, but the Elements 15 magic select and presumably the others’ seemed superior to PSPX8 at least in one or 2 random attempts. That’d be the Paint Shop Pro “Smart Edge”. But there’s also the PSP “edge seeker” which works pretty good. And PSP’s easier, and no pop-up ads or eternal slavery. Even my antique PSP9’s got the edge seeker, and I prefer PSP9 because it’s easier than PSPX. ... But then again, PSPX8’s also got the “smart selection brush” which I hadn’t encountered yet in my jejeune travails, and it seems to work pretty good — as good as the Elements 15 “quick selection tool” (and adobe 10’s[1]). Also there’s an “auto selection” which worked OK once I guessed how it was supposed to go. And PSPX8’s got “magic fill” which I think is equivalent to photoshop’s “Content-Aware Patch”.[12]

And oh yeah, photoshop/lightroom/element15’s got the incredible newdehaze” effect, which’ll spruce-up your hazy photos like nobody’s business, and all the internet reviewers & mags are ecstatic in a totally-impartial unbiased way over its unspeakably brilliant effect. ... Although I thought hazy photos were the acme of æsthetic photography; indeed, some of my pitiful flatulently faithful photo mags get all poetical about hazy pictures in recent issues, obviously not getting the adobe dehaze fax in time. ... But PSPX8 doesn’t have it and I hang my head in mournful shame....

But PSP’s got the “multiplyblend option, just like the big rig. Even PSP version 5’s got it! ... Of course all the help files, online examples, manuals, and even my beloved stupid book refused to disclose its whereabouts, and/or actively mislead — presumably because it’s so obvious, you dummy — but eventually I tracked it down and some day — maybe not tomorrow ... maybe not ever, if I should tragically lose interest, which is not unlikely — I’ll be able to make those magical artificial lowering skies just like a fotoshopping fool. ... Although I must admit that so far the AE15 rendition of the stormy sky has outdone my other pitiful attempts; which is another ridiculous reason I idiotically bought AE15, so I could stay in touch with the photo magazines and website puffery. ... But it turned-out elements 10[1] was equivalently talented in that department.

... But I so looked forward to uninstalling the photoshop/lightroom trials and it was indeed wonderful when I truly had zero days left and could return to my quiet unenslaved paint shop proing habits, leavened with occasional elements diversions / malware. ... Photoshop shows its age in many ways, and is less-convenient than my pitiful PSPs and PSPXs. ... For instance, photoshop doesn’t honor the all-but universal mouse-wheel zoom; it has control-plus & minus in large chunks — and I see, “Z”, then drag (hold-down left button) mouse and it zooms in smoothly; +ALT to zoom out. But it’s still not as easy as the mouse wheel, and for my eternal slavery dollars I expect EZ convenience features — although I understand this is against the whole spirit of the cult. And maybe it’s that mouse wheels are trayf on the Macintosh, Adobe’s spiritual homeland....

Lightroom Disorganizer

There’s a “bridge” program which the Adobe “cc” menu thingey downloaded without asking me, which is supposed to be a file/image manager (I think). It wasn’t so hot; faster than irfanview or the 1998 PSP5, but much slower than PSPX8’s file manager, which is slower than FastStone.[6] The obvious alternative is the astounding Adobe Lightroom, a manager + picture fixer, functionally equivalent to Irfanview/Faststone/Xnview, but many more features & mysteries. ... I concocted my secret batch file with a current-directory argument — I can do that, it’s one of my super powers — which immediately flung me into the “import” dialog with no menus or any nonsense.

... So lightroom’s an ur-Library thing, one Library to rule them all — Apple-esque — and I’m supposed to import my pictures into the library. I assume it’ll randomly explode from time to time as is typical (252,000 google hits for “damaged lightroom libraries”). ... Which is also probably how the equally-mysterious & astonishingly-reliable Elements Organizer is supposed to work. ... Lightroom took a while its magic to perform, while I trembled in fear lest it taint all my pictures; fortunately I actually have backup. ... Oh look it just stold the focus! ... Don’t want to be using more than one program at a time oh tricksy foto fan. ... And it claimed a bunch of my antique TIF files were “unsupported or damaged”. At least one of which popped-up fine in psp9. And PSPX8. ... And the fan roars....

Well here’s a fellow who’ll explain everything. ... I thought the “copy” option was selected by default? “Move” destroys the originals he says. “Add” just references the originals. But maybe the “copy” changed to “add” when I wasn’t looking? ... Probably. And the total count seems to be mysteriously changing — oh after the import it shows just that count until I clicked a dropdown list and change it from “current import” to “all photos”. ... And apparently there’s no option to not import video files — gotta get you gettin’ Adobe Premiere — oh, excuse me, that’s Adobe Premier Creative Clod eternal subscription....

Note that the “Library” tab in lightroom means “show the catalog pictures” if you’re in, say, the “Develop” tab. It’s called “Library” instead of “Catalog” because it’s more confusing....

The Guided Upright in Lightroom Develop[18]

But Lo! a Digital Camera 11/16 issue p 73 puff describes a perspective correction tool at least half as good as psp’s: you can put these two should-be vertical lines on an image, and Lightroom Develop’ll straighten ’em out as necessary. Which’d be the same as the psp feature with the two horizontal lines of the should-be psp perspective-fix rectangle along the top and bottom of the image. Adding two additional horizontalish lines in the Lightroom feature’d achieve the same effect as the psp perspective fix. ... But still no photoshop rendition, or at least Digital Camera didn’t tell. ... Although then again, it’s in “Lightroom & Camera Raw” so I guess you can do it in lightroom or with a raw picture in Photoshop? ... Anyway, the thronging Adobe slaves will at last get this 2004 PaintShop Pro feature. ... I’ve noticed that the totally-impartial etc. photo mags etc. pretend sometimes that getting absolutely level pictures is an important pro fotog skill (it isn’t), so maybe Adobe’s so slow with perspective correction as a snoot thing....

But still not in Elements....

Photoshop versus Lightroom

So this fellow confirms my observations, that lightroom is a picture manager with various picture enhancement stuff, all of the latter of which is probably contained in Photoshop, and so much more. That is, people might buy one or the other, or lightroom first and then photoshop — assuming, in the current era, you’re a Creative Clod fan or, even, when the guy’s column was written in 2011, fabulously wealthy — but the point is, they’re not designed to work together as a happy team, like PSP’s built-in browsers.[6] You can get from lightroom to photoshop, or to even a non-Kosher picture editor like my beloved PSPs, but you have to be careful if you’ve enhanced the picture in lightroom, because you won’t get the edits in the external editor unless you specify copy-with-adjustments in the external editor dialog. And presumably you can get back from Photoshop to Lightroom somehow, but it’s too boring to think about. ... That is, the whole arrangement is basically amateur night dumb.

Update?

And then, weirdly, Adobe wanted to update a bunch of programs, warning me it’d take a long time — uninstall, install — when I had zero days remaining in the trial! ... I never was great with math — well, I did master octal long division — but I’m pretty sure there’s something wrong there. ... My immediate suspicion was they’d update me to the non-working version, to punish me for my CC signup-aversion syndrome. ... Oh well I suppose I’ll let it update and see what happens. ... The amazing outcome was photoshop has changed from the “2015” version to the “2017” version, for which I get another 7 days of inspiring grueling depressing trial! Along with the usual flurry of firewall hits. And lightroom is still there. ... I am so enthused. ... Of course my photoshop batch file got gershtunk; I mean, Adobe could do no less. ... And these programs take so long to start, I’m never sure if they’re there or not — oops photoshop stole the focus, present and accounted-for. But it doesn’t whine about the trial anymore; is it sick? ... But eventually lightroom informed me it’s got limited functionality, and so it has: no “develop” no more; no external editors of course. ... Which I must admit does not stir my unquenchable grief.

CS?

Before Creative Clod there was the mysterious “CS” as in photoshop cs5 etc., which meant “Creative Suite” as a grateful world will doubtless be relieved to know....

Lightroom for Sale?

It took me years to notice, but the Lightroom product is actually for sale — “lightroom 6” it’s called @ 8/17, and amazon’s got it for ~$150. It still sux, with its disorganizer and internet addiction just like Elements 15, and the for-sale version used to be far more obscure — but this means that poor ol’ Adobe is on the ropes, being forced to sell at least the second of their ridiculous premiere photo products without slavery! ... Cruel world. ... Actually this might explain a curious dichotomy in the totally-unbiased foto fan mags, where there will be two entirely separate instructional pufferies about Lightroom and Photoshop — the pitiful foto fan can perform miracles in both of course, but why the separation? ... Obviously, the unwillingness of even slavish foto fans to enter into lifetime agreements with a dubious software entity might have something to do with it....

What’s So Bad About Eternal Slavery?

Some foto fans may not appreciate my aversion to Adobe photoshop’s Creative Clod subscription racket — well, actually, probably very few, really. The pretend fans in the magazines and internet puff sites however would be deeply puzzled ... if they actually existed. ... So it is the money of course, at least; the lightroom+photoshop deal is $10/month which, it’s true, would add up to the retail $700(?) olden photoshop price in six years, although even a year @ $120 is more than I want to pay — but that, my children, is not the root problem....

The root problem is I’ll waste my precious time learning a product whose terms of ownership are not fixed and can change at any moment. ... Whereupon, if I don’t pay, it won’t play. ... For instance when, shockingly, Adobe is acquired by General Tractor. Or perhaps just quietly departs in the night, and no amount of money will calm the absent afrit. ... None of which can of course can ever happen with a top-drawer software firm like Adobe. ... Or for that matter the immortal Corel whose CorelDraw X8 I discovered requires at least monthly internet check-ins. ... What could go wrong? we may ask ourselves....

So let the pro photographers, the vast herds portrayed in the rapidly-evaporating photo magazines who all wildly puff Creative Clod just because of unbiased enthusiasm, let them live in trembling fear of reckless vendor swerves as they pursue their alleged daily pittance. ... I won’t.

Ever-Updating New Version Swerves

An ongoing Adobe swerve fans can delight-in today is annoying in ways that normally only accompany an explicit purchase of a new product/version. ... All software is required, whenever revised, to move/change functions so they won’t be usable by someone who knows the last version — I don’t know why this is, although I suspect it has something to do with conspiracies in restraint of trade, but it definitely is an absolute requirement, and with the eternal slavery model you don’t have a choice — you can’t stop them updating, or use a preferred older version. ... Mother will beat you if you try.

Some pitiful pilgrim in the vile Shutterbug magazine (“Tools / ask a pro” p 28, 1/17) was supposedly agonizing over how, since the beautiful free google “Nik” collection is free, it won’t get updated anymore, i.e. when Photoshop etc get updated. The Q&A puffster suggested the pitiful foto fan buy some alternative package, agreeing that google wasn’t likely to update a free thing — which is true — and that Photoshop will probably steam-roller it at some point, also likely. ... We rational people over here in the free world, on the other hand, would just save the program within which the installed nik worked — i.e. in my case PSP X8/9 — and then we could use it until Usux™ Windows updates/destroyes it, which’ll hopefully take considerably longer. ... But the Adobe slave can’t do that; he must upgrade, or all the money he’s invested in endless slavery will disappear....

Sign-in my pretty....

So I actually have an Adobe signon from some ancient video (?) catastrophe, and I thought, as a gesture of farewell when in the rolling years ago I took leave of Elements 10,[1] I’d cooperate with the obviously bereft adobe robot so pitifully begging for sign-on — I could run Elements 10 without ever falling before Imperial Adobe in adoring internet intimacy — but the Adobe Giant Geniuses made it so I couldn’t paste my ID or password from my password program! — and still do to this day. ... This is the very tip-top finest in security For The Rest of Us Slaves — it’s like the government requiring the paper form filled-out in triplicate, no carbons, with quill pen. And a handy indicator of extreme corporate software hyper stupidity — the only reason they want you to sign-in is so they can steal from you! ... Well, some recent aberrant/alternate adobe signons did let me paste-in the email address and password, so I guess they’re like snowflakes each so unique and beautiful in its own way....

Grand Conclusion

I am not going to subscribe to Creative Clod for $30/month — well look, I could enjoy eternal slavery for only $10/month it says. ... And there’s a picture of a cute girl in a lake. ... But I will not be tempted; and I also will not be learning the ins and outs of Photoshop & Lightroom in the 7(?) days allotted to me. But I know without doubt that Lightroom+Photoshop versus PSPX8 or even the alte-PSP will not make the difference between good / bad pictures. Indeed even the ridiculous puffsters will occasionally concede such, and aver instead that the big value is in “workflow” or something, i.e. for the tough professional fotog getting the job done most efficiently, pretending that there is an actual substantial class of professional fotogs who must produce their work efficiently, and not just play such people in magazines and movies and of course on the web, and no doubt there are at least a few, but I am certainly not one of them, nor are the rest of the millions of amateur photographers / camera phone users. ... So I will stick with cheapo software that does not require a lifetime sign-up. ... I think I can live with that.

... It’s like Pro Tools in the music biz. Many supposed would-be rock stars use the costly/priceless product because it’s the “professional choice” if they wanna break into the hot producer / artist celebrity world. Which is obviously non-existent; unlike the wildly-successful & active professional fotog/magazine creative world, which doesn’t even have the interoperability excuses of Pro Tools....

Stealing

Well, I suppose I should admit a major motivation for my scorn @ internet-dependency syndrome is my desire to steal software. ... When the EULA says somewhere I will present myself at adobe headquarters with my first born — well actually I never read the EULAs so it may well say that, but what they often insist-on, or at least so I gather, is I shouldn’t install the software I paid my precious ducats for on more than a single machine. Of course I install it on my constellation of pitiful antiques & even modern crates, and I don’t “register” the software or allow it to talk to the internet in any way. ... Because I don’t want it to. ... In conscientious compensation, I never use the company’s support — well, hardly ever; usually just to be annoying.

So that’s it; I’m a hardened criminal, and expect the software I pay-for to do what I want....

Our Beloved Toys

And so I uninstalled[11] the Elements 15 malware. ... And thus our beautiful software tools evolve from beloved toys to copy-protected advertising scams. ... I suppose that’s like Woody Allen’s joke about the food being so awful and the portions so small. But I’m not going back for more — well, unless I have a sudden uncontrollable lust for dehazing or something. The elements 15 photoshop-level internet intimacy suggests that one of these dark nights they’ll spring the subscribe-or-die copy-extortion trick on their pitiful cowering hordes of users — undoubtedly, they can. ... And all the pundits and savants report Adobe’s making a fortune with it — although a site which had a graphic of Adobe’s astounding succe$$ was copy-extorted so I couldn’t see it! ... But sadly, camera sales are still sinking....

... Of course I stand alone. Every totally-unbiased photo web site & magazine agrees unanimously that photoshop & elements & the beautiful astonishing cameras are all the best things ever. ... And Pro Tools, too....

The Competition: Usux™’s “Windows Photo Gallery” Malware

Well, at least it’s not advertising malware. But then I didn’t get that far. ... Some web site claimed there were two free programs that’d search the hard drive for your images: (1.) Picasa — presumably offed @ 3/16 as promised by google — and (2.) Windows Photo Gallery, part of the grand Microsoft Windows Essentials or some such ancient menace to humanity. ... Tragically, Windows Photo Gallery did indeed scan my entire hard drive without hours of churning and crashing (like elements 10[1], when I foolishly tried that) — but it also “fixed” all the image files it encountered: the archive bit just screwed-up my backup system, but other permissions mangling made the image files and directories disappear from other computers on my network, no doubt an inspiring Usux™ attempt to keep us helpless wittle foto fans extra safe — and gently extort pricele$$ Usux™ server product acquisition.[2]

... And lookee here! It seems that one great mish-mosh of pictures, exemplified by the dead/moribund Picasa and Photo Gallery, didn’t fly — yet that’s what these pitiful organizer/lightroom/apple products are still doing, although they won’t/can’t do the whole hard drive! ... So not only are they annoying, but even the peasants didn’t like the picture mish-mosh what was supposed to protect them.

Digikam?

A mournful FOSS offering is “digikam” which, apparently, works exactly like lightroom. Although not even that yet, but it didn’t crash in my brief excursion. Never got to see a picture with it, since the import stuff doesn’t seem to work yet and, like lightroom, that’s the only way to get stuff in there. Apparently. ... But it’s free....

Gimp + Nik

I never used the free Gimp so much, but one thing I know: recent versions can be beaten into a 1-window presentation by checking “Windows / Single Window Mode”. ... And it doesn’t really work with the wonderful free google nik filter collection although as usual you will find much web obfuscation on the topic, since being FOSS & free, Gimp must be perfect, or the Ministry of Truth will be Angry. ... But I made it work as much as I could with the following doubtlessly hazardous steps:

  1. Install Gimp of course.

  2. I had already installed nik somewhere and used it with PSP X8 and X9. Using it with Gimp involved shooting off parts, so I copied the entire NIK directory somewhere else so I could mutilate it in peace. ... You do have gazillions of gigabytes free, don’t you?

  3. A requirement is this guy’s free “PSPI” plug-in; he describes what to do with it, but I think his single executable winds-up @ somewhere\GIMP2\lib\gimp\2.0\plug-ins\pspi.exe, which should produce “Filters / Photoshop Plugin Settings ...” inside the restarted Gimp.

  4. So I clicked that, and then I clicked the little “new document” icon on the upper left of the resulting window, and just pasted the path of my copied sacrificial NIK into the field on the right — in my case “c:\tempjgo\nik\”.

  5. I exited and restarted gimp, and PSPI produced numerous startup errors — well, sadly, a maximum of three at a time. These all identified some offending file with an “.8bf” extension. Whereupon I wandered through my tempjgo\nik, found the errant file, and renamed it, like “c:\tempjgo\nik\Analog Efex Pro 2\Analog Efex Pro 2.8bf_xgimp” — i.e., changing it from a proud robust “8bf” photoshop-compatibl PSPI-gimp-incompatible filter to a nothing “8bf_xgimp” file....

  6. After no more than 10 (?) Gimp exits/restarts & PSPI error “resolution” in my crude hurtful way, Gimp’d start without any PSPI errors, and voila! — “ Filters / Nik Collection” will be populated by a pitiful subset of the Nik collection. ... I don’t know if they all “work” or do anything, but the first one — dfine2 — seemed to, or at least didn’t crash.

And there you have it! EZ-Peasy. ... And please note that Mr. PSPI is in no way at fault; he’s giving away something that probably makes many photoshop filters work in Gimp, and probably some of the ones he wanted, and he can hardly be expected to toil away making everybody’s filters work. ... And then again, these filter effects, even the holy cherished Nik’s, are really quite tawdry — once everybody could do them on their phones, the whole thing became yesterday’s paper. ... Although of course you can still fake those otherwise tremendously expensive black & white effects....

The Cloud?

While I’m blithering, I should note that the relentless efforts to get everyone including foto fans onto the “cloud” makes money for Mr. Meretricious Product Flogger and does nothing for you. Local storage — those giant $75-or-less USB drives — are much better for backing-up/storing anything. You can use two or more of them, and hide some away in your garage or somewhere. Whatever you do, it can’t possibly be slower than storing/retrieving the stuff on a cloud server. ... As for reliability, everything decays — except those fly-by-night cloud vendors, who of course are reliably immortal....

Dxo Optics Pro 9

The admirable dpreview alerted me to a free old-version copy of the raw photo product, sadly expired 2/28/17, but I will provide this exciting summary of its marvelous features, such as they are.

... Right-off the bat its organizer showed only 29 images in my sacred AdobeTests directory; Xnview says 41. It ignored my beloved Kodak KDC files, and the psp junk. Oh and the Adobe PSD & DNG images, both of which even PSPX can see and process, when the wind is right....

It also flashes parts of selected other program windows every second or so on a random basis, a fault of many “advanced” photo programs probably associated with my USB 2nd screen. ... But it installed on a second machine without complaint! The new version’s something like $150 but the old version, for free, is amusing, consorting as it does with my other antiquities. ... But I had a hard time figuring-out how it worked. DxO’s main image is always labelled “Correction preview”. In the “customize” panel I can set it to additionally show “Before correction”, but the correction image was always already-corrected. Until I went through all the fixit things and set them off, including the unextended hidden ones at the bottom. Then the before/after looked the same. And I conclude the point of the program is to tart up pictures the EZ way....

PSP X[19]

I’ve been a lifelong Paint Shop Pro fan — well, since the 1992 psp shareware version 1! — and I’ve bought a few cheapo older versions of PSPX @ amazon — “PSPX” being the latter-day Corel-degraded ridiculously dubiously-enhanced series, initiated when Corel bought the “Jasc” product in the time of the 2004 psp9. ... But then I foolishly broke with tradition and bought PSP X8 Hyper Ultimate for $60 while it was still new,[19] and although it hasn’t wrecked all the permissions on my hard drive yet, it still seems to follow the proud Corel tradition of being noticeably inferior to previous versions — PSPX6 for instance, doesn’t seem to have the beautiful annoyanceware startup window, nor does it pause for 30’’ every now and then to run the desktop’s fan furiously while the program freezes. ... PSPX6’s “raw lab” just starts-up, almost like it was Corel Aftershot 2[16] (which came with pspx8 and also mysteriously avoids monstrous delays; but despises my Kodak raw files). ... And to be sure, PSP X has been known to run the occasional advertisement, ’jes like the wicked Adobe — although it seems my beloved firewall inhibits that process — an option forbidden with compulsory-internet Adobe products. ... So compassionately I won’t deride the pitiful Paint Shop Pro X series even ’though it undoubtedly deserves it, but I do suggest that one of the ~$30(?) “previous version” PSPX cheapo deals @ amazon would be far superior to the annoying Elements (or of course the extravagant lifetime slavery Photoshop[12]).

... If you click PSPX8’s “Manage” tab, and then the “Computer” tab, you can see your disk drives with the usual rotating arrows and view your directory trees — well, at least after I’ve started the program a few times — which works OK for wandering directories with pictures in them. Select a picture and click the “Adjust” tab or the exciting “Edit” tab to perform picture-mutilation activities. And just in case it works too good, you can click the “Collections” tab instead of “Computer”. This is easily as good as the pathological Adobe competition. ... But what I can’t do is beat it into submission with my fabulous batch files and registry necromancy; either me or the program are too cranky....

Free Free Nik Filters

If you insist on Elements anyway foolish fotofan, as it is said of old, beware of the man with one paint program — two are always better, & etc. ... And I should note that one of PSPX8’s endearing talents not shared with its previous versions is the ability to install the vast & free-at-last Google “Nik” filter collection. ... Which, apparently, is not the case with elements 15, although maybe with elements 12?

The Stories of Ancient PSPs (versions 5-9)

And now my attentive & wildly enthusiastic audience, let us venture into the golden age of Paint Shop Pro. ... I have a particular fondness for the 1998 version 5, but that’s no doubt the usual mind-share / stubborn-geezer problem, and so around 10/16 I’ve been toying with a radical upgrade to the 8/04 PSP 9! Which of course I got in the archives, because I got all the updates until the dreaded “X” days of Corel — and many of those, too. Although PSP5 still impresses with its superior speediness, compared to the stodgy version 9, although the latter browses much faster, at least with numerous images.[6]

... You who also wish to indulge in the legendary antique experience might try this fellow who seems to have various dubious free copies of old PaintShop Pros, and the 5.01 version I downloaded @ 5/26/16 seemed unmalwaresque. But it could be a sneaky 30-day trial or something — but at 7/9/16 it’s still going although of course your mileage etc. ... He’s got versions up to 12.something, but everything above 11.20 was AWOL. And 11.20 turned-out to be a trial of X1, requiring internet registration. ... Likewise his PSP9 is the copy-extorted Corel version which requires internet groveling with your bank routing number (also the 102Mb version 10 I tried). ... And naturally there are totally-unrelated free paint programs....

PSP8 & 9[10] and My Beautiful Setdef Program

Anyway for those who have trod my path, perhaps — all three of you — the non-x ancien PSP8 and 9, at least, have a peculiarly brilliant defect: you can’t change printers — i.e. from your bizness b&w default laser printer to the cheap-as-dirt color job — at least I couldn’t on super-modern OSs like Vista and all the brilliant usux™ successors. Which used to stop me in my tracks — along, to be sure, with numerous other ingenious pointless changes just to make it impossible for someone used to the old program — particularly the text tool, which seems to be devoted to producing invisible text. I thought all I had to do was reverse the “materials” pallet there, but one glad morning that didn’t work and my text was still invisible so who knows.[9] “Create as selection” will definitely be invisible. ... Perhaps I will break down some day and read a book. ... And Behold! The “Dummies” book told me to uncheck “All tools” on the materials palette, which at least keeps the text at the same setting, after I managed to print non-invisible text by some fluke. ... And then in the fullness of passing months, eventually I find I can use psp9’s “floating” text just as if it worked the way it used to! ... I must be confused somehow.

... Anyway, I stole some Delphi code from the internet and produced setdef.zip which contains setdef.exe and complete stolen delphi 7 source! It has no installation program or anything; run it and you can change the default printer that stupid Paint Shop Pro can’t — which, after all, you can just do by leaving the Windows “Devices and Printers” thing open, but setdef’s got features and is cuter. ... If you run it like “setdef /?” it’ll print an incomprehensible summary of numerous remarkable options, which might be explained in the readme.txt. ... With the trusty setdef beside it, my beloved PSP9 has a sophisticated print dialog with convenient resizing features & everything! ... Of course your computer and your printer and all your precious photography will explode in a fiery catastastrophe from just downloading setdef, so BE WARNED....

And I suppose if anyone should be foolish-enough to somehow use my beloved relic psp9 they should know it seems to have a difficult time with the lovely & gracious Windows 8 — as does practically everything, including my beautiful setdef. Particularly in the mornings, when what with the cold cold electrons win8’s so arthritic....

Regedit & 6 & 7?

PSP6 and seven I believe start-up with a box or two complaining about how it can’t get to the registry and idiotically advising you to use the dangerous and frightening regedit command, but not saying what on earth you’d do with it. You’re better-off just clicking the psp boxes off, although some things like remembering directories probably won’t work until you fix it — which can actually be done by running psp as administrator only once; it’s probably a very bad idea to run any graphics program, or any program for that matter, as admin all the time (although MaximumPC mag thinks everybody should, always!). I use the command-line elevate for this glorious purpose, which I just discovered is a .NET program when Microsoft insisted on downloading .NET for it on a new computer. ... Googling for it found a few dubious (?) alternatives....

The kosher Windows GUI way to do it is to right-click the program icon, “properties”, “compatibility” tab, “privilege level” box, check “run this program as an administrator”, “OK”, and then when you run it it’ll ask the ominous security question and you’ll go right ahead. Immediately exit the program and uncheck that box.[4]

PSP9 Bogus Overwrite Warnings?

When I saved an image in PSP9, and then trried to save something else, it would give a bogus overwrite warning. I can reproduce the bug like

  1. Paste a picture into psp9.
  2. ^S (save), enter “stupid1” and set the file type to jpg.
  3. Paste a second picture into psp9.
  4. ^S, set the type to jpg, and then use the save dialog file list to select the previously-saved filename, and then modify it to “stupid2.jpg”.
  5. The bogus warning appears, with the filename from step #2. But when I save it, it doesn’t overwrite the warned-of file.
  6. The basic thing seems to be if you select a name from the save dialog list, the program will remain convinced until forever that you’re trying to save the original name, however you modify it. If I just go “save-as” and enter a new name, that seems to work fine. So the obvious work-around it to just stay away from that dialog filename list no matter how tempting....

Although I suspect there’ll be other slight variations that’ll show-up when I least expect it. And if I dismiss the bogus warning, it definitely will overwrite any existing file that happens to have the specified name. ... Two random psp9 updates did not cure it — but uninstalling those two PSP9 updates did! ... That is, PSP9 works better entirely unupdated. ... Perhaps something else horrible will bubble-up, but it hasn’t in a few months. ... Except of course hanging-up/crashing in win8, but then everything does that. ... Seemed to work marvelous in Win10, with setdef of course....

PSP8 et al Bad Browsing

Many of my beloved PSPs keel over trying to “browse”[6] files they can’t or shouldn’t, and a particularly likely failure is their jejune attempts to read Corel Draw “.CDR” files, which over the years I’ve crushed by replacing the existing “cdr32.flt” in the PSP program directory with a zero-length rendition of the same name.[7] ... Now if only I could figure-out how to force it to stop taking-forever / crashing while reading PDF files, a talent my beloved psp5 has naturally. ... And gee, in a stirring upholding of tradition even pspx8 browses pdf directories real slow. ... But Behold: the antique PSP9 “file / preferences / general program preferences / browser tab / file format exclusions button” lets me exclude PDFs! Oh rapture. ... In my PSPXs it’s in the “manage” something. ... But corporate skulduggery no doubt still suppresses CDR suppression, so I will continue with my cdr32.flt zeroizing strategery. ... But I note that PSP8 is particularly virulent in this fault, and seems to keel over @ CR2, PSD, DNG images — anything with a taint of raw, or who knows. ... Its sucessor PSP9 abandoned such attempts although even it gets bogged-down in larger pdf-filled directories the first time for a few minutes — apparently it takes a while to ignore all those PDFs....

Uplifting Conclusion

So all the beloved PSPs have numerous bugs. I’ve used PSP9 for a few months and the worst so far is the can’t-change-printers thing which I knew of yore — they probably did something Usux™ told ’em to, but then Usux™ changed its mind — but finally in my golden years I’ve crushed it to my satisfaction with my glorious setdef program. Which, to be sure, still has its own beloved crotchets. And PSP9’s cunning text obfuscation and, at least on one of the computer herd, inability to close itself in the morning — the lovely & gracious windows 8 perhaps (I’ve crafted a KILLPSP.BAT file for that) although as the days go on, it’s been doing that less — but it makes it all so interesting, and the older PSP5, following tradition, still works better[17]....

... PSPX6, 7, and 8 of course have no such difficulties; or at least in the limited time I’m willing to spend with the giant slow things I haven’t encountered anything beyond occasional ridiculously slow operations — always worse in later versions — which a naïve person might think were hangups. And they don’t insist on constant internet connection. ... Unlike the wondrous Adobe products, including the eternal-slavery photoshop, which have no annoying bugs or ridiculously slow operations of course or obvious pitiful stupidities, other than the obviously-desirable malware advertising....

Books?!

So I’m fond of my cranky 2004 PSP9 — and content-enough with the PSPXs. All of which are better than the Adobe products. ... So I finally bought a PSP book, what I’ve never done before! ... Used, of course, for $8 @ amazon, but there are the most amazing things in there I’ve never done — actually avoided, for fear of the dreaded terminal infuriation eruption. ... The PSP8 book had sloppy examples with missing steps, not unlike the camera books, although those favor non-existent buttons/features. ... So then I bought the superior dummies book for $17!

... And just to show how I got no hard feelings, I went and bought a dummies book for Elements 10![1] $7 used at amazon! ... Thus I will be up-to-date on all the latest golden-age-of-digital-phography trends and pretensions. Although I must report it’s near the shoddy end of the paint program books — in the bin with the psp8 zero-to-hero thing! ... Shocking! ... But ... color pictures! And the authors warn the elements 10 pilgrim to use & learn his directories, good but ridiculous advice considering the product’s misfeatures[15] and target dummies.

... This is one of those books — I’ve encountered a few in my tawdry career — which makes its subject less intelligible the more I read it. This is because it’s a stupid book obliged to promote a stupid product. Many of the intricate features it goes on about are the wonderful things you can do with the elements organizer database which will infallibly turn on you sooner or later (5 million google hits for “adobe elements broken catalog”). The features are supposed to make up for the stupid organizer breaking, so they’re splendiferous and extensive and intricate as all get out, lucky foto fans! ... One of the book’s major unnecessary challenges is pretending, along with Adobe and all the other software mediocrities of the universe, that a rag-bag of programs, in this case the useless organizer + the editor, are, in a kind of hermetic truth only perceived adequately by those of sufficient faith, one program ... so they keep referring to the “Full Editor” “workspace” or some such inherently-confusing term.

... So I’m skimming. And as I wander into the nuts & bolts, particularly the layers, it’s apparently the same as the 2004 PSP9 with slight differences — presumably both derived from the ur-photoshop features along the weary years, but with elements obviously crippled so as to enhance the allure of photoshop. ... Then I realized I was harmlessly assuming ae10 and ae15 were equivalent, which would be a terrible bad thing even ’though they undoubtedly are mostly, but I bought yet another stupid book, the ae15 dummies thing for $22 — a scandalous luxury expenditure. ... Already I noticed in the amazon “read-inside” that they’ve stopped pretending the rag-bag is one program. Although the photo magazines still engage in the “module” fairytale to avoid frightening their innocent victims readers....

Best Foto Feature Ever

That would be the PSP9 “adjust / one step photo fix”. I laughed, I cried. ... Well sometimes it’s nuts, but then I just ^Z it away. It for instance recognizes if you’re trying to adjust a small image, and goes overboard on it, in an attempt I assume to make it legible/visible. ... But often, it’s right. With medium size and larger images from life, it seems to be infallible. ... I mean, I assume there’re 1-step fixits not known to me yet to amaze, but I tried Irfanview’s for instance, and it wasn’t as reliable. Nor PSPX8’s....

But PSP Version 5 is Still Better

It’s easier. ... It’s some kind of rule of mortal life, that things cannot be improved without being made worse. ... I noticed it this morning when I was trying to make a “white out” layer on an image, where I could selectively put white squares where I wanted stuff shown faded — by making the white-square layer 50% transparent/opaque. The layer part worked great. But along the weary way, PSP9 had decided that one should always make shapes as objects which, to make the short story, screwed my scheme up the kazoo. Of course there’d be a way to work around it,[14] but why oh why he begged the empty ceiling, must it be so!?!?! ... And the empty ceiling answered not. ... But I’m keeping my antique paint shop pro 5 readily at hand....

— the seen-it-all done-it-all savant, 2/17


1. This page used to be filled with my diatribe disparaging the 2011 Adobe Elements 10. ... But that was before Elements 15. ... When elements and I first met @ version 10, I mistakenly assumed its disorganizer was supposed to find all the images on my system — because it is designed to discard all directory organization, and I foolishly figured, why would they do that otherwise? .... But I was wrong. The elements disorganizer and Adobe lightroom and the Apple Photo thing-of-the-week — I’ve lost track — all operate in the same directory-oblitering way, presumably so the poor wittle user won’t be frightened or something, but at least the elements organizer isn’t supposed to find all your images. Or maybe it is, but it can’t: when I tried that in 2011, it ran for hours and hours and crashed — more than once, heaven help me. ... So you still have to tell it where they are, once; and then I guess you’re supposed to forget forever.

... So I reinstalled Elements 10 on a derelict win7 crate @ 12/16, and the organizer seemed to work without whine, when informed of a few decorous image directories. It’s true there was a service or two installed which I swatted down, but it didn’t seem to make much difference — well, actually, trying to do “Files / Watch folders” in the version 10 organizer elicited a complaint about the service not being present, and that just made me feel good. But then I turned the apparently-harmless service back on; it’s still firewalled and cannot consort with its evil twisted mother Adobe. ... And I can’t type the path into the watch box! — gotta click-click-click; suggesting that nobody ever uses it; it’s just one of those things so the adobe reps can explain-away how come the squalid adobe bogus organizer products don’t do what other directory-oriented file browser do by default, which is automatically recognize new pictures in the directory you’re visiting. And that of course is because the apple/adobe icky-poo model is so superior....

So Elements 10 is actually indistinguishable from version 15 and for that matter the photoshop/lightroom duo, except in each case, from elements 10 to 15 to photoshop/lightroom, there are more (mostly-undetectable) treats and more (very annoyingly-detectable) internet malware. I made my firewall entirely deny Elements 10 any quarter, and yet it still runs as well as ever, although still suggesting occasionally I should buy something more expensive. ... As noted in my endless lamentations above, this is not true of elements 15 or photoshop which require constant internet connection.

... More random bullet points:

  • On a 2nd elements 10 install, the organizer never really worked, although the editor worked as well as it ever does. ... And after all, the only people who ever use the organizer or lightroom are the totally impartial unbiased super-knowledgable photo experts in the puffy magazines and web sites. ... So along my weary way I found a bunch of old catalogs at “C:\ProgramData\Adobe\Elements Organizer\Catalogs\” and deleted them. ... And then, in my relentless pursuit of running junky software to its uttermost, I uninstalled, and then used the wonderful “Everything” file-search tool to find lingering elements directories and annihilate them, and similarly search-and-destroyed the registry, and then the reinstall worked great! ... Or at least organizer ran twice without hanging-up ... three times! ... Before my purge, the hard drive was of course littered with the junk left behind by elements 10 and elements 15, not to mention the trial photoshop/lightroom, so it was very likely some little stupid file or ancient or too-new catalog gave it heartburn. ... But all copacetic now!

  • TO IMPORT STUFF INTO ORGANIZER 10 from WITHIN: “File / Get Photos and Videos ...” “From Files and Folders”. I pasted into the “File name:” field “c:\b\MyPix\AdobeTests\” and added a “*” and pressed ENTER. Then I clicked one of the images and selected it, and then typed control-A for “select all”. And then clicked “Get Media”. After various errors — I tell it to do whatever it wants — eventually I had a wonderful page of images, and that’s how you do it, in elements 10 and 15, and CC lightroom. ... As I’ve noted relentlessly, I prefer a batch file from xnview/faststone/irfanview to invoke the elements editor on a picture. ... Finally, giving the organizer a command-line path as an argument stirs it into importing images from there, just like lightroom.

  • DON’T try to “get” “c:\” like I did the first time lo these many weary years past. Elements will probably try for hours until it crashes.

  • “Edit / preferences” is where that’s at. And “View”, check “show file names” if for some reason you’re so nosy you want to know the names of the files the thing is displaying.

  • Most of my drivel above concerning organizer 15 and lightroom for that matter — excluding all the latest super features — applies to the version 10 organizer.

  • The elements 10 editor’s got raw, although it occasionally complained about an obsolete something — which with my antique cameras at any rate is not a problem. ... And the various little fixit things seemed to perform admirably, and the editor is indistinguishable from the version 15 rendition. Until you look for dehaze....

  • I feel a serene sense of mulishness as I delve about in my reinstalled elements 10 and my firewall fires and I tell it to “disable all”. ... Elements 10 is just as sleazily promotional as elements 15, tempting us to sign-up and take advantage of all the wonderful online treats, but presumably in 2011 a product as internet-addicted as elements 15 would’ve been unsaleable. ... And gee the beat goes on: elements 15 is $80 @ 12/8/16 amazon! Lucky internet-addiction-prone foto fans....

  • It may actually be possible to buy an un-internet-addicted cheapo elements 10 even today, although Adobe obviously doesn’t enthusiastically approve. Googling elements 10 gets some hits, including dubious ebay offers for <$20, so who knows? There are also the usual scurilous downloads and non-existent products. ... Please note that you do need some magic serial numbers that are printed somewhere in the product packaging or it won’t go. ... But basically elements 10 is almost the same as elements 15, without internet addiction, but minus a few bogus features like dehaze. ... And all-in-all, as I keep repeating, the previous-version PSPX is an immensely-better deal....

  • The elements 10 editor still steals the ESC key from any other program running. ... Compared to the ceaseless internet hammering and malware advertising of version 15, it just seems cute....


2. While I’m lambasting vile paint programs I certainly should give honorable mention to the vile Serif PhotoPlus, a 2011 copy of its X5 version I got for $20 just for fun, which it wasn’t. Instead, it appears to be a copy-protection vehicle with accouterments of a paint program which I never got to investigate with the constant hammering of the registration virus. And in my deathless diskette records there’s at least one previous offense where the malware was offered as a “free” treat on the brit PCPro DVD which, after a month, presumably so the victim could get addicted, triggered the registration psychosis. ... And it occurs to me that its demand for phone registration was not some artifact of my firewall defenses and/or ancient days; the “free treat” also demanded it, and they’re doubtless a telemarketing scam masquerading as a paint program! The helpful operator will almost-certainly upsell the heck out of you if you should be so foolish as to actually attempt the phone registration.

Another contender in the copy-extortion malware advertising sweepstakes is Serif’s macintosh “photoshop-alike” “Affinity”, and the latest “Affinity Photo 1.5” is also available for Windows but I’m not willing to spend the $50 to find out just how DRM-encumbered it is. It isn’t for sale @ amazon — only at Affinity, probably because amazon accepts returns for undisclosed defects, which is what I did with the wily Serif PhotoPlus. Maybe Affinity demands phone registration too! — or worse. ... But really, after my delightful experiences with Elements 15 and the eternal-slavery Photoshop, Serif’s just an innovative pioneer in paint program scammery, blazing a trail Adobe merely follows....

3. Both the perspective tool and the deform tool in PSP9 have complicated demands, which in general include operating on an entirely separate layer. I think I have to select the thing I want to deform/correct, “promote” it to a layer, and then I’m allowed to do the horrible things I so enjoy. But I could be wrong. ... But do remember to uncheck the stupid “crop image” box! That may’ve been only one of my many problems with the playful paint programs....

4. I run all my paint programs and many others through intricate batch files, one of whose duties is to modify various registry entries so the program will “see” the directory it was started in, which of course is otherwise forbidden in modern software. This in aid of using my beloved OwenShow directory/file browser effectively.

5. I thought I could “fix” my PSP-perspective-correction but the requisite “deform” tool was AWOL — oh see, I had to select a thing in PSP, convert it to a layer (selections menu) and then the arrow tool magically becomes the deform thing. ... Which does reflect traditional ancien régime PSP usage, where the deform tool was just grayed-out unless you were using it on a layer. ... Anyway, the photoshop “perspective” interpretation does not inspire assimilation into the eternal slavery cult.. ... I would have to say, in a totally unbiased completely fair judgment, that PSPX8 wins this one ... after I figured it out. ... And then I realized the photoshop warp performance depends on how one positions the 500 lines, and I probably just positioned them good by accident. ... Natural talent. ... And apparently I could’ve “shift-clicked” the unwanted photoshop perspective lines to laboriously simplify and make it like the psp easy perspective tool; maybe....

6. The speed of various image browsers is often only apparent but still no less desirable. The otherwise admirable Irfanview, for instance, will not let you do anything with the browsed images until they’re all checked-in, while PSPX/PSP9 browse in a presumably-separate thread, and as you scoot about the browser list they’ll start reading the images you’ve gotten-to — in my case, usually the later sorted-by-date ones — before bothering to go back and fill in the rest. The Adobe products probably work that way, at least the Bridge browser probably did; the Adobe interface is so bolixed I’d need to spend lots more time to figure-it out and I’m not going to do that....

Browsers & Directories: I should explain that even my beloved PSPs would require click-click-clicking through a directory tree to get to the desired directory to browse — if I hadn’t jiggered my super-geek batch files to supply them with a full-path directory argument in the “browse.bat” file, whereupon they all spring into action browsing the specified directory. Just like adobe lightroom and elements organizer — except that the default adobe behavior is to stick all the imported images into the same catalog so they’re all stuck together. PSP and the free browsers treat each directory individually, and the browser displays a directory tree next to it, indicating where you’re browsing at, and supporting changing directories. Making Adobe behave that way[16] would undoubtedly be a whole lot of trouble which I wouldn’t advise. ... My latter-day PSPXs don’t take directory arguments well, so my magic batch files do no good, although PSPX works OK using their image/directory browser....

7. My CDR32.FLT zeroizing strategy is difficult/impossible in modern Windows OSs, if your psp is installed in the default windows stupid program directories. Which is why I always install everything I can, especially paint programs, in user directories like my beloved “c:\pgmjunk”. Most install programs let you do that, after weary years of Usux™ treachery, although sometimes you have to select the super-sophisticated expert install mode or something. Indeed, my ancient PSPs might not work at all in the default Windows directory, what with usux™’s unending concern for our welfare. ... Any directory you want will do, although I make my special root-ed pgmjunk so it’ll be easy to find. ... The point of the Windows-default program directories is to protect your software from you the wittle stupid crazed user, who might want to do crazed silly things like zeroing CRD32.FLT. ... Which is why I install even the up-to-the-minute PSPXs in my pgmjunk directory. And elements....

8. Adobe Help: I must concede that whenever I can get an accurate name for one of the menacing would-be monopoly’s features, googling it has led me to a well-written description of the thing + useful pictures. It’s too bad they couldn’t get the program’s help to work that way. ... And the magic isn’t as good for the lesser Elements 15 which hasn’t the eternal slavery distinction. ... But the adobe products do have a pdf manuals. ... Lightroom; Photoshop; Elements 15; Organizer?....

9. In the fullness of time, and after reading a book (!) I concluded that Paint Shop Pro 9 Text (a.) should have the foreground “material” transparent, with the background set to whatever you want the text to be, and (b.) should be of the vector flavor. Which can be resized later, or even right-clicked into amazing changes. ... Or something like that; it’s still not easy. ... And actually I should note that the “Paint Shop Pro 9 User Guide” available for a pittance used at amazon was actually readable & useful!

10. My “old” Paint Shop Pro 9 turned-out to have dubious provenance. Consulting my extravagant archives, it seems that my $25 amazon edition is obviously bogus, the DVD-box graphic being apparently copied at too-low resolution. ... Although I suppose it could’ve been a legit manufacturing-debacle thing....

11. Elements 15 Redux: after uninstalling the Adobe advertising robot + a soothing cooling-off period, I installed the frolicsome malware on my derelict HP win7 crate where I had previously put my test elements 10. At its new home, Elements 15 continued to impress, with its fabulous aprés install missing organizer mouse cursor, consequently stuck at full-screen. As before. ... And I never heard the fan on the derelict HP in the past! Very impressive. ... Since at that time my beloved cranky HP seemed headed for its last round-up, it seemed a not inappropriate resting place for my Adobe quarantine. Although now that I’ve resurrected the thing, I’ve decided I’ll live with the monster, for a while, although I may regret it. I like keeping a copy around just to satisfy occasional wonderings. ... And now that I’ve finally given-up on the HP at last, the adobe advertising kiosk has a fitting receptable....

Anyway, after the AE15 install on the derelict HP crate, a reboot didn’t arouse the organizer mouse pointer. Eventually it showed-up briefly when I went to the organizer from the Elements 15 editor, but the organizer gave-up the ghost again, with an alarming white screen. ... Somewhere around the 10th try I got the mouse, and was able to resize the stupid window. Along the weary way, the windows task manager appeared to crash or at least get cranky, and a desperate user log-off attempt brought-up typical complaints about programs o’erstaying their welcome — isn’t it the truth? — but eventually I somehow got organizer 15 to stop terminal white screen flashing — which happened a few times after I got a mouse cursor but foolishly tried to move the organizer window, whereupon a few more white screen flashes were followed by a permanent white screen. But at long last it settled down, again. ... I note that when organizer 15 comes-up, there’s an info screen with many developers’ names, with the bottom line incompetently sliced-off.

12. An amazon review of (the current version) PSP X9 suggested that Adobe was buying copies of PSP X9 to produce “verified purchaser” bad reviews. Which sounds ridiculous, but I had noticed that a one star review explicitly recommended buying Photoshop instead. Which of course is impossible — you can only rent it, for life, and that does suggest a partisan scam....

13. I think it was in the days photoshop’s “content-aware-patch” puffery campaign that I first encountered the Adobe product, apart from vague rumor, in some online thing — where it was obvious that it’d work great in a perfect demo, maybe not so good with real pictures. ... Whenever one uses one of these magic things, it often won’t do what you want when you want it, no matter how clever. This is made obvious by occasional ads in some puffy photo mag for a “select” service which’ll do the tedious magic selection work for you for a few bucks. ... Although surely one must occasionally encounter pictures that need some little thing erased with “magic fill” — although I can’t remember one. But it’s fun to watch it up to its deviltry =>.

14. What I was supposed to do was make a new psp9 vector layer as transparent as I want, and use the object white boxes with unchecked borders. The resulting image will of course be incompatible with the beloved fast & less-cranky psp5. Or I can just keep using psp5, which I think is a pretty good solution. ... Or I could make raster boxes in PSP9 with selection frames and the pour tool, which works OK too. And it’s so wonderful learning all these new things whenever you want to do anything in under half an hour. ... And actually what I was really supposed to do was — uncheck “Create On Vector”! ... Of course! So stupid! I should’ve known. We all should’ve known. Everything. All the stuff hidden under the couch, so you won’t be bothered, ’cause it’s just so obvious!

15. The esteemed brit PhotoPlus magazine had a “review” of Elements 15 (i.e., a slavish puff, page 106, 1/17). And the “01” callout there <= explains “Your folders are listed on the left of the Organizer. Click on one, and you’ll see all the images it contains.” ... These reviews are presumably puffery direct from the Adobe mothership, so it appears somehow they’ve become concerned that it’s so easy with most other image browsers (including the free ones) to see the pictures in a directory, so they’re going to pretend that Elements’ll show ’em too! Problem solved, with a simple dose of standard marketing mendacity....

The gushing puffsters don’t explain that you have to put them there. Shown is probably the “list” format, but you can also get a real directory tree, just like psp for 18 years & the free irfanview & faststone & xnview, but in Elements you still must import the pictures to actually see them. And if you know about the directory tree you can, apparently, right-click on a directory and import right from there! ... Of course you have to know ahead of time that there’re pictures in there, which kind-of negates the whole picture browser concept.

... I suppose the idea might be that you’d use an actual working free picture browser like irfan etc. to see what/if pictures are there, and then goto to your beloved organizer version 15 to import them from that directory. And you’d have to set the directory to be “watched” if you wanted to see any new pictures that’d show up in it. ... Makes a tremendous lot of sense, don’t it? ... And it’s entirely possible the super-deluxe lightroom also works this way. Or not. ... Of course you could just use a free browser instead of the silly organizer/lightroom program. .... Perhaps the disorganizer’s new-found directory feature makes it a little easier to use in a rational way; perhaps they’ll fix it better in version 16, to be as good as the 1998 psp5. ... And apparently all this time my Organizer version 10 has worked like this too! The feature’s much better hidden (Display (!) / Folder view) but works the same useless way, as my pitiful antique dummies book circuitously admitted.

... And then the kindly Brian Worley in the 4/17 brit canon puffery mag PhotoPlus (p 96) in a organizer “how-to” admits that he doesn’t browse with lightroom — of course you can’t — but stores his images in his own directory structure of year and month folders/subfolders, and perhaps yet more subfolders for different cameras, and renames the files with year/month 4-digit prefixes. I.e., he knows how to operate the computer and use the directories, knowledge assumed to be forbidden to the children of Elements and Lightroom. ... He uses the $150 (one-time! no lifetime slavery!) Photo Mechanic program “to manage the initial import of files.” There’s a 30-day trial for Photo Mechanic which I’m doing for the heck of it, and it appears to be an acceptable image manager/browser which my free browsers clearly surpass. Of course they weren’t around when he started with Photo Mechanic “15 years” ago, and it’s also got the unique “ingest” feature, which is basically for transferring the images from your camera CF/SD card to your harddrive, and I assume he uses ingest’s “IPTC Stationery Pad” to add “metadata to the files on import”, rename them, and implement his desired directory structure. ... He describes Lightroom as a “cataloguing system” and claims to use it for that, but I know he wouldn’t diss a sponsor....

16. After I relentlessly abused Corel aftershot attempting to make it figure-out what directory it was in — its Windows registry entries live in a delusional macintoshy world of forward-slashed directory names — anyway, I abused it and it forgot the pictures in my AdobeTests directory. After truly endless delving I found

c:\Users\owner\AppData\Local\Corel\AfterShot 2\cache\

and renamed it to etc.NOT, and aftershot worked perfectly for ever after. ... That’ll be $39.95 please, cash check or money order.

... Oh! I think I get it! ... See aftershot’s supposed to be like the stupid & annoying lightroom/disorganizer, and has a library/catalog “File / Import Photos from Folder...” thing which presumably, in succeeding editions, evolved into today’s actual browser, but still has a few extra gills and rudimentary flippers left around. I tinkered with the feature and didn’t get anywhere much, but I did discover, when I tried to install an external editor, it’d drop TIF versions of whatever I was trying to external edit in whatever happened to be the current directory. For all I know lightroom does that too; I never got that far. ... Maybe I could’ve fixed my missing pictures problem with the catalog, or not ... or maybe somehow I’d gotten stuck in the “library” view, where missing pictures are perfectly normal?

... Incidentally there are apparently at least two flavors of aftershot, the peasant and the pro, the former of which is what one gets with the “ultimate” PSPX. ... Who knew? I have no idea what the distinction is....

17. I actually tried some of the older PSPs in my historic collection. PSP version 4 wasn’t bad, but before that there was only 16-bit darkness. I did install the 1992 psp version 1.2 into my vbox xp, but it was not inspiring — it knew not the jpg, only BMPs and GIFs. ... However, it still looked like PSP9, the last Jasc version....

18. It finally occurred to me that widespread fumfering about ridiculously expen$ive “tilt shift” lenses — an ancient photographic gadget for taking “architectural” pictures of tall buildings so they’d have straight lines — is yet another fab foto feature shot down by simple computer trickery, in this case the 2004 psp9 perspective fixer — actually it was in the 10/03 psp8! ... Things like this modérne $3,400 “tilt-shift” Nikon lens ... “or as Nikon calls it, Perspective Control lens” probably’ve made the photo scam biz a lot of money over the years, so no wonder the equivalent paint shop pro feature’s been a defcon 5 level secret! ... But now (2/17) the magazines and web sites puff software magic as their Adobe masters have ordered, since Adobe got around to their own “guided upright” after all these years, which can indeed do the same “perspective control” as the ridiculously-co$tly lenses; as does my 2003 psp8. ... I considered cruelly commenting on the DPReview puff, but the existing chittery is so pitifully, credulously faithful it’d be heartless; + I’d just be trolled to bits.

... And it occurs to my relentlessly suspicious thought processes that cheaply-available software equivalents are why so much tilt-shift puffery emphasizes the other things the silly len$es can do, mostly involving varying depths-of-field within one image, to make these truly jejune “miniature-looking” mostly-urban landscapes — that is, tilt-shift puffery conceals the readily-available software magic that’ll straighten-out building — and other perspectives; there are actually separate programs that do this, flogged to the ignorant — but the puffery nevertheless pays ridiculous attention to the sillier talents of your $3.4K lens. ... Well I guess it’s like the B&W cameras....

DxO Viewpoint 3 vs. Photoshop Adaptive Wide Angle

The ~$80 DxO Viewpoint is a dedicated “tilt-shift” effects program which, along with perspective correction includes the selectively-out-of-focus “tiny town” effect now emphasized by the ridiculou$ lens puffs. And then an “Adaptive Wide Angle” article (p 48 Outdoor Photography 5/17) shows that the photoshop so-named tool is better than photoshop’s “Free Transform Tool” which appears to be exactly like psp’s perspective fixit thing. And in the extensively-manipulated example, the adaptive whats-it is better; but it sounded like work. ... The author explains how he didn’t use his tilt-shift lens ’cause the sites wouldn’t like a tripod. ... And really, my beloved PSP perspective correction isn’t perfect but good enough for government work and my humble delvings. So I downloaded the non-lifetime-slavery DxO “Viewpoint 3” 31-day demo, which achieves miraculous effects with the demo pictures, but doesn’t seem to do much better than psp9 and all the PSPXs. I mean, it has an “auto” button, so I don’t have to erect a little rectangle, although it’ll let me do that if I want, but there was no way I could find to get as good a result as in the guy’s photoshop adaptive wide angle. And I don’t think the “auto” button’s worth $80 or whatever the fare is. ... DxO support, in answer to my piteous pleas, said “in order to get full compatibility between your files and ViewPoint, there must be complete camera and lens information in the files you use in the program” — apparently its major talent is supposed to be correcting wide-angle pix for which you have such lens “EXIF” info.

... But it does have a tilt-shift “miniaturizing” effect which for some reason I didn’t get around-to trying....

19. @ 3/17, I finally broke-down and got PSP X9 Ultimate at a bargain basement $42. ... And the X9 annoyanceware screen included a checkbox for “don’t-pester-if-offline” although since I checked it, I can’t see the exact message anymore since I’m always offline for PSPX with my trusty firewall, and that works pretty good. It’ll probably turn on me in blind fury in a few days. ... I will concede that without the annoyance screen, and once I learned to give-up my registry tinkering and just use the stupid PSPX tree display, PSPX isn’t so bad. ... I’ve seen worse. ... But I suspect that a major feature of all these paint programs is keepin’ up with the latest cameras, which is really kind of ghoulish in these camera-phoning days of decline & despair....

But the high point of the installation (at least with the “Ultimate” edition) was the Aftershot 3 serial #’s two “W”s in the cute Corel computer print on the disc envelopes, which could not be distinguished from various combinations of Vs and Ws — so frolicsome! ... But then it turned-out, as if to make-up for the less-annoying pspx9, Aftershot 3 requires permanent internet registration — over and over again, i.e. slavery — so I trashed it. Which suggests one could just buy the non-ultimate X9....

... And PSPX9 forgot my precious canon dslr, and I had to tell it! ... In the raw lab camera fixit section. On the other hand, the free Nik collection still installed good. ... Incidentally, oddly, the Nik collection didn’t work when I just copied the files; it had to be installed — a remnant no doubt of its gloriou$ copy-extorted past. ... And just for old time’s sake: to make the *(&()*& captions appear on the “Manage” tab thumbnails: Flie / Preferences / General Program Preferences / Manage / check “Show file name with thumbnail images”. And incidentally, PSPX barely fits on a pitiful 1366x768 laptop screen....

Hitachi 1TB USB Drive LifeStudio Malware

It comes with Hitachi advertising malware which I couldn’t delete. On my beautiful imini, I could move the advertising icon down to the corner of the screen so I can hardly see it, but I couldn’t destroy it. There was a fellow on the web with an informative youtube video about how to cripple it a bit, but presumably the malware masters at Hitachi saw it and did something, ’cause his scheme didn’t work. ... I mean if you want to use their advertising junk and learn how to live the exciting Hitachi lifestyle you lucky person, by all means leave the thing strewn all over your computer. ... I did wonder why it was so cheap at microcenter....

I am leaving this antique 6/10 whine here so I will never forget....


Where’s the Windows Sound?

XP: Control Panel / “Sounds and Audio Devices”. (I have occasionally gotten lost in one of those programs that provides wonderful features for your proprietary sound card; they are useless.) If I have one of my wretched gadgets plugged-in, I can go to the “Audio” tab, “Sound playback” and switch the “Default device” from whatever piece of trash was included with the proprietary gadget to “E-MU 0404 | USB” for instance. ... You don’t normally want to do this; normally, you want to switch it back, after the moronic E-MU 0404 etc. installation software has idiotically switched your system noises to your expensive USB sound interface. ... You’d typically use the USB sound interface in your hi-tech DAW somehow....

Windows 7: Control panel, view by / large icons, “sound”, “playback” “recording” tabs. Every possible candidate for each of these things is supposedly represented in the two tabs, and you could highlight “Zoom R16_R24 Audio Interface”, say, and click default to make the system sounds come-out of my precious if a little dubious R16. I don’t remember if the Zoom installation idiotically assigned the system sounds to their gadget, but probably, so you’d more likely come here to set the default back to the meretricious junk that came with the computers aka “Speakers”....


Fontographer 5.1 is broken

Over there at www.fontlab.com. ... Version 4.1, which I could still run on a carefully-preserved Windows 98 machine, is broken, and it appears the new exciting still-broken 5.1 is also. ... Like a fool, I paid my upgrade, and it didn’t work. ... Fontlab’s forum signup is also broken. I detect no signs of a forum, although I admit I haven’t tried that hard. I have tried — after I foolishly spent my money — googling for “fontographer example project”. There aren’t any; various pitiful Macintosh fans blather vaguely about the wonders of the thing, usually from 1998, but no one including the fontographer’s macintosh manual — there is no Windows version — shows how to modify a single letter in a font, an obvious and common task.

... Well I lie; the manual does have a very brief example of making a font “bolder”; thickening the width. Which I did, and created a broken font with boxes for spaces. I could read a standard font like arial.ttf and write a differently-named test font without changing anything, and get the boxy spaces. Which complaint the fontographer support guy claimed to not understand....

It’s broken. It can’t get up....

But they did reverse the charge without a fuss. ... And, on the bright side, their demo version works as good as the actual product, since neither will produce usable fonts....

Fontforge, too

Yes indeed the open source free Fontforge has in my short acquaintance immediately trumped Fontographer, being able to open a true type font and save it under another name without, apparently, wrecking any letters! ... At least, according to FontViewer (http://www.fontviewer.de). ... So it’s way ahead....

On the other hand, because the author is an aficianado of the lovely and gracious Linux, there’s a 4 gigabyte download involved in our pitiful Windows versions, and nothing is simple. ... Linux is so advanced all the inmates love huge collections of files, stretching on into the starry reaches of your hard drives, littered with cute stupid “?”s and other punctuation embedded in filenames, because it’s so sexy!! ... The entire fontforge could probably fit in some miniscule space like 200 megabytes; the rest is fluff that we love with a mad passion — because it’s so Linuxy!

... Fontforge of course is hosted at sourceforge (google for it); however I’d highly recommend www.useragentman.com/ blog /2011/02/27/ installing- cygwin- and- fontforge- for- windows/ who knows about a cygwin “ports” thingey that’ll magically install fontforge into your cygwin environment with only a gigabyte or so! — but note that the fontforge author disowns any binary installations, and insists it be compiled from source, crawling on your knees, through the rubble. ... If this sounds totally incomprehensible, don’t worry; it only gets worse. ... So my 200 megabyte guess up there was correct! — as referenced lower down on useragentman’s page which I luckily missed the first time, there is a Japanese version, the zip of which is 20 megabytes! — barely perceptible! — and the exploded rendition a mere 235 megabytes. ... Sadly, the program is in Japanese, of course. So I’m afraid I’ll stick with useragentman’s version, which when I followed his directions only came in at around 1.4 gigabytes, a mere trifle. ... So this means I’ve successfully installed fontforge on two different Windows 7 machines — once, sadly, in Japanese, to be sure — and on an old reliable XP unit — in each case in a totally different way! ... So it works perfectly....

Aside from obvious mental instability regarding the seraphic Linux, the fontforge master is not a happy C-- fan, so I figure he’s probably OK. ... On the other hand, he claims Fontographer used to work; I have never encountered a working Fontographer and don’t believe there is one, but my experience is quite limited. ... Perhaps, it worked on the Macintosh, its natal and spiritual home. ... At least that’s the provisional forensic conclusion I’ve come to. ... Although I doubt the modern incarnation does....

FontForgery...

I wouldn’t want to leave the impression any normal mortal can edit fonts with FontForge; or anything. ... While it is possible to save a font that FontViewer reports has the same characters as the original, if I change the name of the font face, then it gets broken automagically! I haven’t the slightest doubt there are a million reasons and, like most software topics, one must apprentice one’s self for arduous years of study and unlearn everything one has ever known, to partake of the new reality, so glistening & wonderful. ... Even assuming you get the ridiculous FontForge Linux install to work, or Fontographer ever releases a working version....

Linux Format Agrees: Make — but don’t Edit!

And this just in: “FontForge: Get your own font” p 76 Linux Format 6/12. Sounds like the esteemed Linux enthusiast puffery publication is endorsing the software, eh? ... But note carefully: “your own font”. I.e., don’t foolishly try editing an existing font! ... Proof positive, from the canonical source of Linux puffery: FontForge is broken. ... And I realized also that all the pitiful little puff articles about FontForge and Fontographer are of this nature, making a font, usually out of your handwriting. But now, through the magic of publication puffery, I realize why: to cover-up the software’s brokenness. As is the duty of all good publications, and why the internet is bad because everything needs editing, which it doesn’t get on the web, where everyone lies a la carte. ... I.e., publications provide professional lies....

— the cheerful programmer and curmudgeon
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 8:19 am

Knaves or Fools?

It occurred to me after all these years that maybe my problem is, the fonts I try to modify are copy-extorted in some fiendish way — and the caring, sensitive, ever-helpful font community just keeps that little secret under their caring, sensitive ever-helpful hats. ... Since the only reason any person wants to buy this )(*&()*& dreck is to modify an existing font. ... Could be. ... Don’t care....

— Sun 10/25/15 8:25 am



God’s Word for Windows — 95!

I like to say that I’m such a refined atheist that I don’t even believe in atheism, but of course we kindly old philosopher types like to keep the Holy book around just in case anyway, and for years I’ve been using the previous version of GW4W for my occasional Ecclesiastes poetical needs. ... But then came the age of 64-bits, and the program won’t run. So after scurrying around the internet for a while I managed to locate GW4W again (about 14 megabytes), in the exciting new Windows 95 32-bits flavor, which will run on my 64 bits Windows 7 machine! ... The author says in his manual.wri (an antique Windows text format my WordPerfect X4 can still read!) that we should post it hither and yon and so I will. ... He asks for cash, and I believe I’ve tried to send money in the past, and I may again, but my recollection is returned mail and stale checks.... Oops wait a moment, just didn’t grep enough; here’s a computer record says I sent him $35 @ 3/3/95! ... That’s a while ago....

And oh yes, the program crashes a bit, especially if you poke around in the features. But the basic search ’n’ show thing seems to work OK....

Antique Software versus Windows

So while I’m at it, lets talk about Vista/Windows 7 versus old software. Here are some bullet points:

  • As noted above, some Vista and many Windows 7 systems (probably all these days) are 64-bits. They will and do run 32-bit software; but they do not run 16-bit: Microsoft apparently felt that including 16-bit support in a 64-bit processor was too ornate; they had to provide 32-bits support, or nobody’d buy the thing. So if you have any lovable 16-bit antique software, Windows or command-line (aka “MSDOS” software), you can just chuck it in the river.[1] Most 16-bit software ran happily in the now-swiftly-fading Windows 95, 98, XP and even 32-bit Vista and probably W7, with their 32-bit CPUs that had to retain 16-bit support for the same competitive reasons 32-bit-compatibility staggers on in our present 64-bit era....

  • Regardless of 32/64 bitness, in Vista/Windows 7 (8, 10, 37?) I would suggest that anything not specifically intended for Vista/W7 be installed in your own private directorynot in “Program Files”. ... I.e., when the installation program suggests “c:\Program Files\AncienRegime”, it usually entertains modifications, and I’ll typically change it to “c:\pgmjunk\AncienRegime”. (“pgmjunk” is just a name; you can use “fred” or anything.) ... I do this because Vista/W7 want to control the files in the Program Directory area even more than the annoying things they do to the rest of the computer, and in ways that are of course often incompatible with whatever they told the software developer to do last decade, or last week....

  • If your old Windows program uses the old help format, google for “Windows 7 winhelp” (or “Vista winhelp” or “Windows 8.1 winhelp”) and you might find a microsoft source for the “winhelp” software that’ll provide this antediluvian resource for your newer computer. If you don’t have it, when you run an antique Windows program and press F1 for help you’ll get the usual incoherent ’n’ incomprehensible error message although I vaguely recall something almost helpful about winhelp. ... On the other hand, getting it might involve some hokey Microsoft “Genuine Certification” something software, which of course since it’s Microsoft might not work in infuriating ways. ... And of course, since Usux™ is in the junk biz, it may not work anyway depending on moon phase, or at least it didn’t in a ridiculous cheapo Asus tablet/netbook I tried it on @ 5/15....

  • WINDOWS 8.1 SCAMWARE and WINHLP32: Usux™ broke Winhelp for some random malevolent reason around 12/14, and if you were so foolish as to buy this wretched freak of technology, this zip file not only won’t help you, but will probably incinerate your entire computer if not your home and family. I mean, really if you’re just trying to get your wretched genealogy program help working again, give up. ... To fix Usux™ c--p, you need ridiculous technical skills, ’cause it’s so EZ to use! ... Anyway, using the stuff in usux_win8_1_hlp32.zip, I was able to get my win 8.1 help working again. ... But read my sad story of the existential terror....

  • And feel free to check-out the endless tales of antique paint program beauty above....

The Tender Beauties of the Wonderful Windows 10

  • For Windows 10 WINHLP32, apparently Usux™ salted the earth. I googled and found this (pdf) and this web page which intricate procedure actually worked in a windows 10 machine at 9/16 (and then again around 4/17; twice!). Of course, I have super-powers. ... But better hurry — Usux™’ll be there soon and wreck everything, taking bitter revenge for our offensive disobedience and lèse majesty. ... Incidentally the fellow’s recipe cites the XP winhlp32, which of course you have lying around somewhere. I had it in my VBOX XP system, not to mention several other places of dereliction ... that’s part of the super-powers racket. ... But here’s a pitiful little zip with which you can easily destroy your windows 10 system, as well as a 10-block radius surrounding your home in a fiery ball of poisonous burning gas....

  • Windows 10 hearts Corel? Is that why win10 refuses to install my ancient copy of Corel X4, so I’m forced to pay Corel extortion for a newer copy of the program? ... X4 installed fine in Windows 8.1 and worked too, but @ win10: “This app can’t run on this PC”. ... Some little friend at Usux™ doing some fellow criminal conspirator a favor? ... Well, in defense of the repulsive technical monopoly, the balk was at the installer, which wreckage is known of old — when Usux™ ripped-out the 16-bit heart of Windows around windows 7, a whole bunch of installer programs for otherwise-compliant software went south, never to return. ... So I installed my beloved 2011 Coreldraw X4 in an XP virtual box which I’m sure’ll work wonderfully....

HOW TO INSTALL CORELDRAW X4 in WIN10: But then this fellow has a (~2015) wonderful How-To-Do-It which I found by googling “install coreldraw x4 win10” and which worked good on my pitiful crate. As he warned, it destroyed the Windows “start” menu — that’s the ugly blobby menu — and disabled the “edge” internet browser icon on the task bar also, but these are things I might’ve gotten around-to doing intentionally, although he has a fixit for that which looks fairly perilous, but I might still try it — always with a restore point of course. ... Well there were many posts and much necromancy, and it seems to lead to this wizard’s page, which instructions I followed assiduously, and the blobby menu reappeared without even rebooting. And even after rebooting — a miracle!

Then I discovered the “white menu problem” which, searching in the original post, is addressed thusly: “If you experience white menu bar problem, set up program compatibility to Windows XP SP3”. Which wasn’t all so easy; Windows 10 this week insisted that I go through the whole compatibility test, and it felt Vista was the right choice, which it wasn’t, and only then offered to let me set the stupid thing, to Windows XP SP3, and then it seems to work with a menu, except that every time it runs I have to answer the UAC question — oh I see the heroic Vista had the UAC; XP didn’t. ... Oh well. Of course many hackers run naked without UAC; but I don’t. ... When I set it back to Vista, and then back to compatibility unchecked, if “worked” but the menu was white — until I move the mouse cursor over it, whereupon the menu items would appear. This is probably more fun than the elevated mode, particularly for a inspiring product like coreldraw....

So I was gonna congratulate the fellow at the “corel community”, but Corel has really gotten too stupid — I’ve bought Corel X8, only to discover that it was copy-extorted out the kazoo, requiring monthly re-registration — which makes it unusable for high-minded types like myself, for reasons explained here, about fotosux — and so I returned it to Amazon, and somewhere in the malestrom my “community” account got trashed and will never commune again, and it’s just too stupid to make a second one....

  • And then if Firefox — perhaps not an antique yet, but working on it — decides that it’d like to open an independent window for every invocation — just ’cause, u know, it’s the kool kids kind-of winders 10 thing to do, u know? — crush the stupid “options” “general” “Open new windows” option. ... & you too can enjoy mozzilla’s clarity on this exciting issue and its apparently random manifestations.

... On the other hand, I think Usux™’s given up on their glorious “edge” browser. It’s like, give a project a billion bucks, see what kind of mess it makes ... then forget it. ... The thing can’t see a local HTM file, which makes it useless for trying-out the local copy of this beloved web site, but also for any installable html documentation system that some foolish company might like to employ. Apparently Usux™’s too snooty to support such hum-drum ambitions. ... “Don’t bother us, we’re too busy with surface™” you know....

  • PDF Reader: “tmmcentyre” describes an admirable hack to make a recent Adobe pdf reader work, at an adobe forum! — i.e., so it won’t stupidly open with a completely useless malware tools panel on the right — which of course you can close without difficulty, every single time you run the stupid reader. ... The fix isn’t pretty, you gotta do elevated things, but I couldn’t install my old reliable antique Adobe 7 in Windows 10 (obviously a last-minute Usux™ destruction mission — it worked great in 8.1) and it seemed to do it.[2]

... But then I discovered Adobe7 did work in windows 10! In my intricate batch file imbroglios, I had been calling “AcroRd32.exe” for some obscure reason, and that didn’t work in win10 — but the obviously preferable “adobe7.exe” worked great. So it was all my fault. ... Although I must admit I’d almost gotten used to the mutilated modérne adobe reader, which has many charming talents once I disabled its annoying disfeature. But now I can mix ’n’ match, and I installed it back into the relatively-harmless Windows 7. The best part is the tabbed interface, so one can see various PDFs without going through the ridiculously-complicated Adobe7 windows menu procedure. ... You understand, in the interval Adobe has inflicted many unspeakable atrocities on the pdf-reader-using public, reaching a nadir in the one-window-for-every-pdf regime of terror & stupidity. So naturally, I’m cautious in dealing with the giant ridiculously-incompetent marvelously-profitable dark force.

... Then the wondrous thing lost its mind somehow, on a Windows 7 machine!, so it always opened full-screen. I groveled and eventually deleted two recently dated “.SAV” files TMDocs.savTMGrpPrm.sav in some place like

c:\Users\<urUserName>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Acrobat\DC\

and it seemed to get well again. Although “View / zoom tools / Ctrl+3 Fit visible” remains greyed-out.

  • A minor detail I noticed this go-round is the giant brains at Usux™ were too stupid to make window focus work, so they’ve “solved” the problem by making it invisible: the focused window caption is slightly bolder than the others, and focused/unfocused windows appear identical in all other respects. Except of course when you start typing in the wrong window. I think it’s more broken than even in Win8 but that’s just a guess. Particularly noticeable is things getting stuck in the foreground, and not alt tab, nor furious selection will change a whit of it. Alt-tab seems to have a helpful “close” button if it’s just impossible. ... I mean, I imagine programmers writing “for win10” can manage it; like for instance by making all their windows full-screen, which seems to be what Usux™ wants this week. Of course then next week it’ll be up the crik agin’....

But so far, ALT-CONTROL-DEL to bring-up the “task manager” etc. screen and then pressing ESC to dismiss it right-away seems to be a reliable cure for the stuck-focus problem. And the invisible selection? It is really so EZ (I just assumed it was jiggered beyond recall, and apparently it was, once): right-click desktop, “personalize”, “colors”, check “Title Bars” — and voila! Selected windows get their color back. Amazing eh? ... Although that still doesn’t work for Firefox, presumably for the usual unknown mystery reasons. But this ridiculously-hacky fix did work, although even I with my super-powers found it a bit challenging....

And I was sure that an amazing difficulty I had selecting text in printed-to-PDF files was part of Winder’s skulduggery, but now I’m all but certain it was an amazingly coincidental stupid change in amazon of all entities, who seem to be jealous of the other senile monopolies and wanna make their pages more graphicy and less selectable. Or then again, perhaps they were fending-off unscrupulous screen scrapers. ... I mean, it’s never been easy to select text from PDFs, but it got impossible — but just in text printed from amazon web pages. ... So far. ... I think. And I’m leaning to the belief it was just some Windows update blowin’ in the wind....

And there, as I like to say, is all I know about the subject and so much more! ... So go forth, you lucky folk, with antique software. Often, it’s really fast as opposed to the bloated modérne style we all know so well and love so dearly....

Windows 10 Update Notification: Crash

Whenever the lovely & gracious piece of dog doo doo wants to upgrade your machine, as it must, repeatedly, to introduce ever scammier fund-raising schemes, it’s easy to tell: your system crashes! ... So simple so straightforward! ... Something will freeze or crash or behave weirdly, I’ll press some buttons and get around to rebooting, and then the lovely & grcious Win10 will run the endless update screens and your computer will brick itself. Probably not forever; but according to reports, sometimes even that.

Airplane Mode

The only thing to do to avoid this is disconnect completely from the internet. And actually that’s not a bad idea on my pitiful derelict hand-me-down machines that just want to play a little music. On a recent asus, it’s FUNC+picture of airplane — for “airplane mode”, which it announces, and is somehow poetically appropriate.....

— the cranky programmer, ancient of days
7/17


Notes

1. Well before chucking your 16-bit software in the river, you might try the ridiculously-complicated but not terribly costly Virtual Box route.

2. The text of tmmcentyre’s brilliance:

Re: How do I remove the right hand pane in Reader DC
tmmcentyre Level 1
tmmcentyre Apr 23, 2015 4:40 PM (in response to queenmab999)

Okay, seems I’ve stumbled upon an ugly workaround but it works for me. I’m using Windows 8.1. Go to the install directory, i.e.“ C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Acrobat Reader DC\Reader\AcroApp\ENU”. Create a new subfolder (I used “Disabled”). Move 3 files from the “ENU” folder into the new “Disabled” folder: AppCenter_R.aapp & Home.aapp & Viewer.aapp. Open a PDF and no more Tool Pane! I originally moved just the “Viewer” file but if you clicked on “Home” or “Tools” on the toolbar you couldn’t go back to the “Document.” Moving all 3 files takes care of that issue. Like a lot of people I don’t and won’t ever use any of the tools. I just want a reader. Let me know if this works for you.

As I noted, I had to do this necromancy in “elevated” mode, which makes it so much more dangerous. ... But now I’ve gotten away with it twice — recent Adobe readers are useful even in working antique Windows systems, because some merchants were conned by Adobe into using fancy new aka copy-extorted get-the-new-reader features....


A Thoughtful Essay on Visual Studio 2010

Mon 2/28/2011 5:22 pm. So I got around to Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2010™ just now, and within 20 minutes IT TRASHED MY ORIGINAL SOURCE. Fortunately I keep backups. ... But for safe computing, I would advise ISOLATING VISUAL STUDIO on a separate machine somewhere FAR FROM ANY USEFUL WORK. Probably off your LAN, unconnected; i.e., like a virus. ... This is why I continue to use the wretched 2000 Borland Builder.....

If you suspect Visual Studio 2010 might enjoy destroying your source files — perhaps you, like me, dragged one in from a working project — BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING, try a “Save as” in the File menu, after double-clicking the file and opening it in the beautiful seraphic Visual Studio IDE. You might be as surprised as I was to find it rooting-around in what you thought was an area protected from Visual Studio! Applying the draconian edits necessary to get anything to compile in Visual Studio.... I used the “Save As” trick, because it appears that the ACTUAL LOCATION of your file is a deep secret the IDE wants to keep from you. Because it would be bad for the witty bitty programmer to be confused by knowing where his )(*&)*&)*& files actually are — and, more importantly, where they’re being mutilated by Visual Studio.... Ahhh the joys of professional programming products....

Calm Thoughtful Discussion

Windows, as everyone knows, does its best to destroy dragged files by randomly copying or moving (destroying the source) based on their residence on the same or different drives, or of course the ever-popular moon phase. This strategery is based on the idea that dragging a file should be very very simple so the little wittle user won’t be confused and have to think about all these complicated things but at the same time should have hidden magical stupidities that the average little wittle user couldn’t conceivably know about — like the nature of source/destination drives. ... But VS doesn’t do that. ... I can imagine the storied days when it did do that, and actually stold the files from some innocent existing source. ... So it behaves like a good citizen (as I imagine it mumbling to itself as it paws through the trash in some rainy slum) and puts them in your VS project as references to the originals!

It’s all really very sad; the IDE is a relentless amateur-night which apparently isn’t going to get better. ... The screen actually flickers; it’s some wacko feature doing something wacko as I move the mouse, but it looks like an old dying fluorescent bulb! ... In my initial half hour, I discovered that Microsoft help — already notoriously useless — somehow in VS2010 is even stupider. ... I think when I installed, I went for no local help since it was always useless, but nevertheless now the IDE demands that I choose or set some ridiculous option so that it will get internet help. Even though local help obviously isn’t installed, or at least the IDE claims it isn’t. ... Why does it do that? ... Stupidity is the obvious answer.

Presumably I could learn the jejune environment’s little ways as I worked on and on and other amazing catastrophes erupted. ... But I am glad that won’t happen.

Express 2012 for Windows Desktop

Wednesday, January 2, 2013 7:18 am. I should note that the free “Express 2012 for Windows Desktop” installed on my Windows 7 64-bit system without noticeable destruction, which is exceptional in my experience with Visual Studio. ... I assume it doesn’t work any better than previous versions, but I managed to compile a “hello world” application in C++ without major incident, and it is free. I believe you’re supposed to pay the full fare so you can make exciting new everybody’s-doin’-it Windows 8 projects....

Win8 Development

Oh wait! I’m wrong! Visual Studio Express 2012’ll work fine for W8 apps — if you’re running the gracious and lovely and so-ever-popular Windows 8! I googled “visual studio express Windows Store App” and got this explanation (but we are no longer at war with Oceania and the text has mysteriously changed by 4/16). And you cannot sell the super-new Windows 8 apps anywhere except the Windows 8 store! The name “Windows Store App” is the official sobriquet for what used to be “metro style” app. ... I still suspect I’ll wake up and find out it’s all a dream and gee, Microsoft never meant that, just a misunderstanding, and you can sell ’em anywhere but no, Microsoft has brought their Apple imitation to a strange wacko level of intensity....

When Steve Jobs introduced the AppStore, it was for the already wildly-popular iPhone product, for which users clamored for apps. Jobs made it exclusive — because he wanted the money to be sure — but also because he didn’t want his users tormented by a Windows-esque assortment of trash and malevolence. ... The Microsoft delusions-of-reference imitation is their Win8/surface product with an obvious repulsion factor, upon which they’ve imposed an exclusive software distribution channel. ... That should work out great....

Visual Studio Community 2013 & Store Apps — We Hardly Knew Ya’!

Poor ol’ Usux™, they’ve folded! Their beloved beautiful store apps — well just examine the picture =>, what I was astonished to see when I finally installed (the free) Visual Studio Express Touchy-Feely Community We’re All Together Edition @ Wed 2/25/15 9:24 am, after a lifetime of valiant-but-doomed resistance. ... I mean, “Tools for Maintaining Store Apps”!?!?!?! (my hysterical emphasis). And it defaults to unchecked!!!! Oh how the blobby have fallen. ... And then, it is Usux™, and perhaps they’re just lying. I did see a store app “component” installation go by, anyway.

(Time wearily passes) ... Well it claims to have installed itself after about ten firewall exceptions and 40 minutes on a late-model Acer laptop. And it displays a prominent LAUNCH graphic which I didn’t click, foolish child — and since it’s Windows 8, where the “start” menu is strictly verboten, I may never find it again! ... But then, it did allow me to install it in a non-Usux™ directory (!!), so all hope is not lost. ... But maybe mislaid; there’re 5 million exe files in there, even ’though in my non-Usux™ directory I was allowed, as a special treat, to redirect the output of “dir *.exe /s” to a text file. ... So I googled for “visual studio exe”, which showed me millions who wanted to know how to make an exe with Visual Studio, apparently a difficult challenge, but as I fumbled, google suggested I ask “what is the executable for visual studio” and featured the result “devenv.exe”. Well amazingly “usual-interminable-gobbledygook\Common7\devenv.exe” does exist, and so I edited my historical visual.bat and yet once again, it’s “taking a few minutes” to set-up the copy extortion and/or count the names of God ... and I’m on my merry way to an unimaginable experience of modern Usux™ programming....

... Gasp! It will even install on the once-scorned Windows 7! ... O how the mighty grovel....

— the pitifully-ebullient golden years programmer
3/15