Archive for the ‘Press Announcements’ Category

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Last week several of my iPod touch apps were updated, including SkySafari Pro and SkySafari – both were version 3.0.1. I contacted Southern Stars and they sent me a list of fixes/enhancements that are current for the 3.x release – click here to see them. I installed the updates and had no problems or glitches.

I’m a member of the Starry Night Yahoo group and have seen several posts that some are confused about the name of the vendor that produces SkySafari. There is a page on their site that explains why the company – click here to read the post.

We are working on some reviews of Southern Stars products, so stay tuned.

Mike

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By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

May 31, 2011

I needed a new laptop, so I bought a Macbook on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving in the US) in 2009. I wanted to use Mac and Windows applications on it for my classes, so a low end Mac laptop was a better choice than a Wintel unit. It was great when I started using it but I noticed that the rubber on the bottom of the case started started separating in the summer of 2010, and it looked like an overheated battery was causing the problem.

I wanted to take the laptop in but I had to wait until the end of the UST Spring semester (the middle of May), so you can guess I was pleased to read the May 31st newsletter from ZDNet, as it had a short piece announcing that Apple was launching a program to replace the bottom of Macbook laptops bought between October 2009 and April 2011.

There are 3 options for qualified Macbook owners: take the laptop to an Apple store, contact an authorized Apple repair facility, or order the part and replace it yourself. I chose the third option and since I had an Apple ID and the laptop serial number (found by using ‘About this Mac’), the process was quick and relatively painless. Apple sent a followup email 10 minutes after I ordered the replacement part, confirming that it would ship and providing a repair ID.

I’ve found Apple to be responsive to equipment issues in the past – my iMac had a bad power supply and they replaced the power supply and main board for free, even though the unit was well out of warranty. I do wish they responded faster if people have seen this issue since October of 2009, but I’m glad they did respond and they gave us several options to address the issue.

I hope the new part arrives this week and will update this article with the details about replacing the part as soon as possible.

UPDATE 6/1/2011

Talk about responsive! The part arrived this morning, in less than 24 hours from the time I initially contacted Apple on May 31st. It was sent priority overnight and the box has the parts plus a return shipping tag. I am impressed. Big time kudos, Apple.

The box (part no. 661-5975) had a new cover, decent instructions on to replace the cover, a small screw driver, and 10 replacement screws. The only tricky part was getting the bottom cover off – I nicked a finger while pulling up on the back of the cover, but otherwise everything went well.

IMPORTANT: Be sure and read the instructions if you replace your own cover, because you need to write the serial number from the old cover on the new bottom plate.

NOTE: Apple includes a pre-printed return label, so all you need to do is repackage the old part and drop it off at a FedEx office. Kudos for making this so simple.

It took me a total of 10 minutes to replace the cover and restart my Macbook – very simple if you can use a screw driver. It is nice to have this fixed, as it drew a few comments when I did take it to school.

Thanks to Apple for addressing this issue for older laptops, for making multiple replacement options available to your customers, and for sending the part so fast. And yes, I did keep that free screw driver.

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

I know it seems like yesterday when Wolfram released Mathematica 8.0, but they just released an update: version 8.0.1. This version is not an incremental update, so the entire application must be downloaded and installed. This update is free for owners of Mathematica 8.0, and it can be installed over or in addition to version 8.0.

8.0.1 Enhancements

The list of updates from version 8.0 to 8.0.1 (courtesy of Wolfram’s site) are:

  • Many new automatic simplifications for derived distributions, including affine transformations, sums of variables, parameter mixtures, and censored and truncated distributions
  • Improved results for Dot with large (> 1,000,000 elements) lists of integers
  • Improved stability under Intel Sandy Bridge CPUs by including a new version of the Intel Math Kernel Library
  • Performance and robustness improvements for many graph and network operations
  • Improved startup time of the front end
  • Improved the creation of MathLink TCPIP connections under certain special network conditions
  • Improved export of Real and “Real32” images to TIFF, to be compatible with more external TIFF image viewers
  • Improved functionality and stability of Home Edition by including more 64-bit components

Click here for a complete list of changes/enhancements to Mathematica, going all the way back to version 1.0.

5-18-2011 Update

Last weekend I downloaded and installed the 8.0.1 release. It is not an incremental update, so it took awhile to download the >2 GB file. The installation of 8.0.1 in parallel with versions 7.0 and 8.0 still on my laptop was nearly flawless, but I had to exit and restart the program to get the application to run without any warning messages (something about an initialization that failed to complete). After the restart there were no more problems (or warnings) and my initial tests with the product have been fine. I did not use a stop watch to time it, but it did seem to start noticeably faster than version 8.0.

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

I had a couple of press releases from Adobe today, and was very happy to see they are releasing an SDK (Software Development Kit) for Photoshop CS5. I appreciate when product vendors give developers a way to interface with their products, which isn’t new, but it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. I use Adobe products extensively and already downloaded the SDK and developer guide and intend to dig into them this afternoon.

I’d like to invite other developers that use this SDK to add comments to this post. Tips, code samples, solutions for real-world problems, or just general impressions would be good for new or experienced developers.

The body of Adobe’s announcement is below:

========================================================

Hi,

I thought you would like to know that Adobe Systems Inc. today announced the Photoshop Touch Software Development Kit (SDK) and tablet applications that interact with Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended software, uniting the fun and interactive experience of touch devices with the power and precision of Photoshop. Using the Touch SDK, Adobe has developed three initial Photoshop CS5 companion apps for Apple iPad: Adobe Color Lava for Photoshop, Adobe Eazel for Photoshop and Adobe Nav for Photoshop. The apps are designed to enable users to create custom color swatches, paint and drive popular Photoshop tools from tablet devices.

Developers can access the free Adobe Photoshop Touch SDK today for Windows and Mac OS platforms on the Adobe Application Manager at www.adobe.com/devnet/photoshop. Current Photoshop CS5 customers can experience the value of the connection to devices by downloading and installing a free patch available on www.adobe.com or via the Adobe Application Manager, beginning May 3, 2011.

The Adobe Color Lava, Adobe Eazel and Adobe Nav applications for Photoshop are also expected to be available in early May 2011, ranging in price from US$1.99-$4.99, on the iTunes App Store. For more information or to sign up to be notified when the apps become available for purchase, visit www.photoshop.com.

The complete press release follows below, or you can find it online at the following link: http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/pressroom/pressreleases/201104/041111AdobeCS5.5PhotoshopTouchSDK.html. Customer and partner quotes are available at: http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/pressroom/pressmaterials/pdfs/041111AdobePhotoshopTouchSDKQuoteSheet.pdf.

Join the social media community on Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Photoshop
Twitter: @Photoshop

********************

Adobe Photoshop CS5 Integrates Tablets into Creative Workflows

New Touch SDK Kick-Starts the Development of Interactive Tablet Apps that Communicate Directly with Photoshop CS5

SAN JOSE, Calif. — April 11, 2011 — Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the Photoshop® Touch Software Development Kit (SDK) inviting developers worldwide to create mobile and tablet applications that interact with Adobe® Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended software, uniting the fun and interactive experience of touch devices with the power and precision of Photoshop. The Photoshop Touch SDK and a new scripting engine in Photoshop CS5 now opens the door for Android™, BlackBerry Tablet OS and iOS apps to drive and interact with Photoshop on the desktop. Adobe today also launched Creative Suite® 5.5, a significant mid-cycle release to the industry-leading design and development software for virtually every creative workflow across print, video, mobile and online media (see separate press releases).

Using the Touch SDK, Adobe has developed three initial Photoshop CS5 companion apps for Apple iPad: Adobe Color Lava for Photoshop, Adobe Eazel for Photoshop and Adobe Nav for Photoshop. The apps are designed to enable users to create custom color swatches, paint and drive popular Photoshop tools from tablet devices.

“Our research shows that creatives are adopting tablets faster than any other group and we heard loud and clear that they want to use their devices to interact with Photoshop, the tool they depend on most of all,” said John Loiacono, senior vice president and general manager, Digital Media Solutions, Adobe. “The apps that we announced today show some of the creative ways tablets can work with Photoshop and over the next few months Photoshop’s vibrant developer community is going to dazzle us with innovative apps that further integrate tablet devices into creative workflows.”

Photoshop SDK Encourages Creative Development Adobe has developed three initial Photoshop Touch apps: Adobe Color Lava, Adobe Eazel and Adobe Nav. Adobe Color Lava, allows creative professionals to use their fingertips to mix colors on the iPad, creating custom color swatches and themes to transfer back into Photoshop. Adobe Eazel, which takes advantage of cutting-edge painting technology, lets digital artists create rich realistic paintings with their fingertips and introduces a new kind of interaction between “wet” and “dry” paints. These paintings can then be sent directly to Photoshop CS5 for compositing or for taking the artwork further. Lastly, Adobe Nav increases workflow efficiency by letting users select and control Photoshop tools using the iPad as the input surface, customize the toolbar, browse and zoom in on up to 200 open Photoshop files or easily create new files. All three applications take advantage of the iPad tablet’s touch screen for a truly immersive, tactile, on-the-go experience. While the first applications available are for the Apple iPad and the iOS, the Photoshop Touch SDK makes development possible on other devices, including Android and BlackBerry PlayBook.

Utilizing the Touch SDK, developers will have wide access to Photoshop functionality with the freedom to innovate and create new apps or add capabilities to existing ones. Adobe has already engaged with a number of developers across the industry to incorporate tablets and other devices into creative workflows that empower Photoshop users in new and groundbreaking ways.

Pricing and Availability

Developers can access the free Adobe Photoshop Touch SDK today for Windows and Mac OS platforms on the Adobe Application Manager at www.adobe.com/devnet/photoshop. Current Photoshop CS5 customers can experience the value of the connection to devices by downloading and installing a free patch available on www.adobe.com or via the Adobe Application Manager, beginning May 3, 2011. The Adobe Color Lava, Adobe Eazel and Adobe Nav applications for Photoshop are also expected to be available in early May 2011, ranging in price from US$1.99-$4.99, on the iTunes App Store. For more information or to sign up to be notified when the apps become available for purchase, visit www.photoshop.com.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 and CS5 Extended are available through Adobe Authorized Resellers, the Adobe Store and Adobe Direct Sales. Estimated street price for Adobe Photoshop CS5 is US$699 and US$999 for Photoshop CS5 Extended.

Today, with the launch of Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 product family, Adobe also announced a new flexible subscription-based pricing plan. With subscription pricing customers can use Adobe Photoshop for as little as US$35 per month. For more information about Subscription Editions, visit www.adobe.com/go/cssubscription.

Education pricing for students, faculty and staff in K-12 and higher education is available from Adobe Authorized Education Resellers and the Adobe Education Store at www.adobe.com/education/purchasing/education_pricing.html. More information regarding education volume licensing for higher education and K-12 institutions can be viewed at www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/volumelicensing/education.

For more detailed information about features, OS support, upgrade policies, pricing and international versions please visit: www.adobe.com/go/photoshop. Join the Photoshop community on Facebook (www.facebook.com/photoshop) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/photoshop).

Adobe Photoshop Family

Building upon the history of Photoshop innovation and leadership, Adobe offers a line of Photoshop solutions for every level of user. Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended software are at the heart of the Photoshop family, providing unrivaled power and editing freedom. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom® addresses the workflow needs of serious, amateur and professional photographers, helping them find, manage, enhance and showcase images in powerful ways. Adobe Photoshop Elements software provides accessible tools and sharing options for photo enthusiasts. Snap-shooters can quickly and easily share and edit photos with simple gestures using the free Adobe Photoshop Express mobile application on their iPhone or Android devices. Photoshop.com completes the Photoshop line providing easy access to learning resources, product information and online Photoshop Express tools.

About Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. For more information, visit www.adobe.com.

###

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

A new update for Starry Night Pro and Starry Night Pro Plus is available today. Use the ‘Help/Check for Updates’ menu option to download and install the update. I updated Starry Night Pro Plus and did not see any glitches during the update nor after restarting SNPP.

I emailed Starry Night Support for a list of fixes in this update and they responded:

“There was only one bug fixed between 6.4.2 and 6.4.3, but it was deemed critical for several of our education customers.”

  • Planet shadow cones drawing errors were fixed.

=======================================

1/30/2011
Recently I’ve read that some Starry Night users discussing the ‘LiveSky/Show Photographic Image…’ menu option. This option is ghosted (not available) unless you zoom in on a deep space object. Below is a screen shot I took in Starry Night Pro Plus – I was checking out Saturn and noticed M16 (I typically spec the Messier object labels on), so I went there and zoomed in and the included photo (very nice detail) was displayed:

Very cool. I’ve also seen posts where there were questions about the inclusion of the SDSS in SNP. I asked Starry Night’s Support and this is what they said:

“We have not yet included support for the SDSS III (Sloan Digitized Sky Survey 3) because after doing some testing, we found that their download service was not yet reliable enough for us to consider adding it as a feature into SN.”

Good news, and hopefully the download service will improve soon.

==============================================

1/31/2011

For a bit of space-related humor (Mars rover attitude issues), check this out.

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2/16/2011

Tips regarding using Celestron telescopes and SNP 6.4 from Bob, who had this issue:

Problem: Go to the configure screen, selected Celestron, then tried to go to properties and all he saw was a message, “Failed To Load Driver : Cannot create ActiveX component”. He has a CG-5 which connects just fine to The Sky (using the same computer and cables).

Brenda from Starry Night solved the problem for Bob:
“Make sure you have the latest version of the ASCOM telescope driver platform and Celestron drivers. You can get them here:
http://www.ascom-standards.org

==============================================

2/18/2011

Tip to address an unusual SNP bug known to affect Mac OSX users, courtesy of Kevin Schultz from StarryNight@yahoogroups.com. Kevin recommended this approach to Konstantin, who confirmed it addressed the problem.

Problem: To address an unusual bug in SNP (know to affect Mac OSX users): When updating from inside the SNP program, the Program does not require the administrative rights in order to update the program in the Application folder. SNP tries to download the installer and notices that it can install and then gives you the message you see which is actually not happening!!

To update, try this first.

  1. Start SNP
  2. Check for Updates
  3. Choose just download
  4. Wait for the download to complete (that downloading is in progress in upper right corner of the window)
  5. Quit SNP
  6. Open the SNP folder in the Applications folder(Program) !
  7. Open the folder Standalone updaters
  8. Double-Click on the latest Updater

==============================================

2/22/2011

The azimuth in the HUD is read in hours, not degrees. How is that changed? Per Stan Glaser from StarryNight@yahoogroups.com:

Preferences > Number Formats > Azimuth (hh or ddd° in one of the variations presented)

– Mike

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Starry Night version 6.4.2 is available as of today. I downloaded and installed it for Starry Night Pro Plus and had no errors during or after the update.

Per an email I received from Starry Night Support on 1/19/2011, this update has the following bug fixes:

  • Crash when printing on OS X.
  • Graph View problems (OpenGL Init problem. OS X.)
  • Calculation of Delta-T for years -500 to 500 was incorrect.
  • FOV indicators now update/draw in the sky if time flow is off.
  • Image Editor “Background Reduction” slider added. Fixes background reduction not working.
  • Constellation Stick Figures not drawing correctly in 3D space when a single constellation is selected.
  • Removed confusing application update message on startup when no data updates requested.

Click here to see our information on the next release (6.4.3) of Starry Night.

On a separate note, I really enjoy reading the Starry Night Times, which is their monthly newsletter. Click here to subscribe to it.

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

This post contains information about Starry Night version 6.4.1. Click here to read our post on release version 6.4.2, which was available for downloading the morning of January 18, 2011.

Version 6.4.0 to 6.4.1 Update

January 12, 2011

I contacted Starry Night Support for a list of specific fixes/enhancements for versions 6.4.0 and 6.4.1, and they sent me this information on 12/28/2010. The support center informed me that users experiencing problems starting Starry Night after updating can manually delete their preferences file, which should allow them to start the software. They also believe they found the source of the 6.4.1 bug and intend fix it in the next update.

December 25, 2010

I fired up Starry Night Pro to write a quick post about Uranus this morning and saw there was a new version available: 6.4.1. I installed the update (previously at version 6.3.9) and used it immediately. No errors during installation, although I had to manually restart Starry Night after the update completed.

New features from version 6.4.0 to 6.4.1:

  • address some issues that arose with some OS X users and our new usage of OpenGL.

Note: Everything looks much the same in version 6.4.1 as in version 6.3.9, but I did have one problem. While going through the program features, Starry Night did unexpectedly terminate – can’t recall exactly what I was doing, but it gave an OpenGL error message before quitting.

Note 2: I believe the added Apollo missions (only available for the Pro and Pro Plus versions of Starry Night) were part of the Starry Night Apollo application, which is still listed (12-27-2010) as a free-standing product in the Starry Night store.

====================

Version 6.3.9 to 6.4.0 Update

December 25, 2010

New features from version 6.3.9 to 6.4.0:

  • A number of bug fixes, performance improvements, under the hood stuff.
  • Advanced Particle Galaxy Rendering
  • Hour Angle Lines
  • SkyView Link (Image Editor)
  • Argo Navis Support (OS X)
  • Up to 14 new panoramas (Pro Plus gets 14, Pro 9, enthusiast 5)
  • Minor updates to some db’s like meteor showers

================================================

Preferences Files Locations

March 29, 2011

The preference file problem for Starry Night Pro users running Windows 7 has been repeatedly addressed since January, however Mr Bill of the Yahoo SN forum recently responded why a good solution to fix this issue is to use the Run as Admin solution:

“W7 defaults to running everything in NON-ADMIN mode even if you are the admin. All that is needed – if you are the administrator, which most people who have a single login are, is to right clk the file you want to run and select COMPATIBILITY then select RUN THIS PROGRAM AS ADMINISTRATOR. If it is an older version on SNP also select RUN THIS PROGRAM IN COMPATIBILITY MODE and set it for XP SP3 or whatever runs.”

Thank you for the clear details why this approach is needed, Mr. Bill.

January 17, 2011

If I ran Vista, I’d probably look for a .txt file in the “C:\Program Files\Starry Night <version>\” directory.

The support center informed me that the Preferences file locations for Windows are in different locations, depending on the version of Windows. They prefer that people needing help with the SN Preferences files for Windows contact them at www.starrynightsupport.com.

===========

January 7, 2011

I’ve received a couple of questions about the Preferences file location for Starry Night Pro and Pro Plus. I contacted their support center and this was their reply:

The Mac OSX Preferences are located at:

/Users/<Your Username>/Library/Preferences/Imaginova Canada/Prefs/

The “User State Prefs.txt” file is located in either the Pro or “Pro Plus” folder depending on which version you have.

IMPORTANT! If you can’t find the Prefs file, remember there are 3 potential Library directories:

  • ~/Library – for a specific user
  • /Library – for all users of the computer
  • /System/Library – for system-wide use

================================================

Historical Data on All Version 6.x New Features:

December 25, 2010

All of the newest features in Starry Night version 6.x are:

  • Hour Angle Lines and Vernal Equinox Hour Angle Guide.
  • SkyView Link in Image Editor Downloads Thousands of New Images.
  • Advanced Particle Galaxy Rendering.
  • New minor planets and their moons have been added and updated.
  • Apollo Space Missions: trajectories of the Apollo spacecraft, full models and guided tours.
  • Distance Spheres can now be added to any solar system body with any radius and color.
  • Shadow Cones can be displayed to show the shadows of orbiting bodies.
  • The precessional path of the celestial poles can now be displayed.
  • The circumpolar region, based on your latitude, can now be displayed.
  • Event Finder: Appulse event searching alerts you when the Moon or the Pleiades is near bright planets.
  • Added up to 24 new horizon panoramas.
  • New update technology built directly into Starry Night. Will check for updates automatically if registered.
  • Animated trips between planets now use more visually appealing planet avoidance.
  • Tully database improved to allow for more galaxy types.
  • Saturn’s rings and ring shadows now draw even more precisely.
  • Universal Time can now be displayed and edited in the toolbar.
  • The value of DeltaT has been improved and can now be overridden by the user.
  • All planets now draw with softer edges.
  • Updated LiveSky links and images.
  • Thicker lines on high-DPI displays maintain visibility.
  • More Customer Support Features
  • Spaceship responsiveness dramatically improved.
  • Improved Space Mission rendering speeds.
  • Improved Find feature for multiple objects of same name.
  • Updated mythological descriptions for all 88 classical constellations

OS-specific improvements:

  • Argo Navis support for Mac OS X.
  • Smooth window fading (Win XP and Vista)
  • Transparent floating windows (Vista only)