Tag Archives: Adobe

Curso de Photoshop

$150...just to UPGRADEIt’s always something.

Last month it was my computer that needed rebuilding. This month it was Katie’s. It’s an old G4 PowerMac, but it’s still plenty for iTunes, web, email, word processing, etc., and we’ve got a newer Windows box for things like games. It failed to boot after a system upgrade, and subsequent troubleshooting determined that the drive was going bad. (This time I ran some more diagnostics, confirming that the rest of the hardware was fine, and Tech Tool Pro found dozens of bad blocks before I stopped the surface scan.)

So: New drive, reinstall system, transfer the data and apps that we can. Which led to this question:

The Leopard or the Tiger?

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist phrasing it that way!)

Last fall I bought the multi-license pack of Leopard so that we could put it on both Macs. We ended up not upgrading the desktop. She was under the impression that the hardware was too old, and I only remembered that Leopard had dropped support for Classic apps. The first problem was easy: I’d checked the specs before ordering, and would only have bought the single-license box if it hadn’t been supported. The second was also easy: in the past year, she’d converted all her documents from old classic-only apps, and wasn’t playing the classic-only games anymore.

So: Installed Leopard, transferred data from old drive & backups.

Side annoyance: transferring a user with the Migration Assistant did not work. First it wouldn’t copy over her account, so I had to create another account, log in, delete her (new) account, then do the transfer. Then, every time it ran into one of the 5 or so corrupted but inconsequential files, it would freak out and remove everything it had copied. Drag and drop copy didn’t work because the alternate account didn’t have permission to read everything. (Remember: admin != root.) I finally resorted to the UNIX commandline, which worked. For reference: sudo cp -rp oldpath newpath Prob. should’ve used tar instead of cp, but I’m not sure how much Mac OS X uses symbolic links in user accounts. In any case, it’s been working, so I’m not going to worry about that.

The real problem: A week later, while doing link maintenance on this site, I stumbled across my blog post about upgrading the laptop, which mentioned the fact that Photoshop 7 won’t run on Leopard.


So, what are the options?

  1. Shell out $200 to upgrade to Photoshop CS3. I don’t think so. Not after doing major surgery on two computers, not in this economy. (Incidentally, it took forever to find the system requirements on Adobe’s website and verify that CS3 would actually run on that machine, since everything is focused on CS4…even though it isn’t available yet.)
  2. Downgrade to Tiger. Might just be Archive & Install, might require wiping the new drive and reinstalling. (Reports are mixed.) I don’t think any of the built-in apps she uses have changed data formats, so that’s probably OK.
  3. Find something cheaper or free. Katie pointed out that it has to be able to read PSD files accurately.

We’re going with (c) for now, starting with the OSX version of GIMP.

Fixing Flash in Fedora Core 5

I upgraded two computers at work to Fedora Core 5. One was a network upgrade that went without a hitch.* The other was trashed so badly I had to do a fresh install.

I’ve run into a couple of gotchas, among them the fact that text is missing in Flash animations. I messed with my font settings, checked SELinux logs, tried switching from the binary installer to the RPM package [macromedia.mplug.org], to no avail. I tracked down a Fedora mailing list post that pointed to a mozilla bug that had been languishing for a few months, then added what I knew—which was that it affected Flash regardless of the browser.

On Sunday, commenter Dawid Gajownik tracked down the problem: Flash hard-codes the paths where it looks for fonts, instead of letting the X server tell it where to look. Fedora Core 5 includes a new X server, which no longer puts things in /usr/X11R6. Apparently symlinking the old font paths to the new ones works around the problem:

[root@X ~]# mkdir -p /usr/X11R6/lib/X11
[root@X ~]# cd /usr/X11R6/lib/X11
[root@X X11]# ln -s ../../../../etc/X11/fs
[root@X X11]# ln -s ../../../share/X11/fonts

I tried it with absolute links (to /etc/X11/fs and /usr/share/X11/fonts) instead of relative, and it worked fine.

Also, if SELinux is in enforcing mode, you need to allow text relocations on the Flash library. More info on that in Dawid’s bugzilla comment.

So this should take care of Flash until Macrodobe releases an updated version. They’re apparently heading straight for 8.5 on Linux, which is why they haven’t released Flash 8.0 yet.

*Almost. It turns out the repodata on disc 1 isn’t enough for a network or hard disk installation. I copied all the discs onto an internal web server, then had to grab the repodata folder from a mirror. Would’ve been fine with the CDs except for the annoying problem that the CD drive on that machine doesn’t work. Once I had that, though, the upgrade went smoothly.

“Expected dict” Errors in FDF Acrobat Forms

Today I was trying to fix a problem in a section of a website that hadn’t been changed in roughly 5 years. The page in question retrieved data from a database and filled out an Acrobat form using FDF. Under some circumstances, Adobe Reader would generate an error message, “Expected a dict object.” Then it would freeze, and crash the web browser for good measure.

This site was built with ColdFusion, and used a then-freely-available library called PDFFormFiller.cfm (I can’t find any sign of it now) to generate the FDF code. After saving the offending FDF to a file (eliminating the browser as a factor), I started manually editing the code to see what happened.

The problem turned out to be parentheses appearing in the form data. FDF uses parentheses-delimited strings, and it was finding ) in the code and trying to parse what was left as FDF tokens. The solution was simple: just escape the parentheses as \( or \). Continue reading

Painlessly Updating Adobe

OK, I’m impressed. I’d always closed down whatever I was doing before, but I decided to just let Adobe Reader update itself while I had a manual open. It not only closed the application before installing the update, but it started itself up again, re-opened the document I was reading, and picked up right where I left off.

In general, I think that making every application re-invent the update wheel is kind of pointless when you have centralized update systems on every OS*…but I suppose sometimes re-inventing can lead to finding a better solution. Just last week I had to reboot Windows to uninstall Acrobat 6.

*Windows: Windows Update. Mac: Software Update. Linux: varies with distribution, but the most common are probably Apt, Yum, Up2date and YaST.