5 May 2011

Buying online from Slow-dobe

Here are some observations and tips for buying software direct from Adobe.com and a warning.

  1. Don’t expect to download your newly purchased software on the same day you bought it. Adobe are very slow to release your product’s serial number. Imagine someone working in a tiny room somewhere in India printing out orders, using a ladder to stack them, as his grandmother slowly keys in serial numbers into another computer. The pair have been doing it for years and like it that way; they think their customers must be patient and wait their turn.
  2. For UK consumers it’s cheaper to order a boxed copy than to go for the download-only option. Go figure that one out!
  3. The US price is much cheaper than the UK price, but that’s no surprise. It won’t let you buy from the US store unless you register a valid US postal address. (I’m not sure if it would reject a credit card registered in the UK, but you could try using PayPal.)
  4. If you are a business you can sometimes get a better price by going to Adobe’s Business Store – even taking VAT into account. This store also has the download and boxed options at the same price.
  5. Adobe’s website is slooooow. The product pages are slow, the store is slow and the licensing site is slow. I hope the public don’t think this is a reflection of ColdFusion. They may get loads of traffic but that’s no excuse. They may be the market leaders and pretty much have a captive audience for many types of product but that’s no excuse either to be complacent.
  6. If you think you can side step Adobe and buy from a reseller then think again. Downloads and the release of serial numbers for certain products (especially upgrades) must go through Adobe.
  7. It’s been this bad for as long as I can remember. You should plan to make your purchase as early as possible, don’t leave it to the last minute.

I’ve just bought Dreamweaver in case you’re wondering. Previously I bought ColdFusion several times.

18 Feb 2011

Genius Tech That Blew My Mind This Week

I stumbled upon two things this week that blew my mind. The first is a Xbox Kinect “hacker” who writes his own software to fully exploit Microsoft’s amazing hardware add-on. (Yes, I know it’s a few months old but you may not have seen it.) First check out this video. Keep in mind the Kinect is sitting stationary on his desk.

Genius video manipulation in 3D

A couple of months later he’s discovered how to link 2 Kinects together. What you will see is video from two stationary Kinect cameras. They do not move.

Super genius manipulation in 3D space with 2 Kinects

Taking this to the next level but with practical gaming in mind, look at what he did with a Kinect set up in two remote locations, a network connection between him and his colleague, a Doom 3 map and lots of clever code.

Augmented virtual reality taken to a new level across a network

Lastly, I was really impressed to see that a radio controlled hummingbird has been invented that uses nothing but wing-flapping to propel itself and behave remarkably like the real thing. It’s only 19 grams in weight (0.7oz) but can carry a camera to transmit live video back to its base.

The video of it flying in action is at NewScientist.com