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Adobe UI Gripes
September 30, 2009 5:28 AM   Subscribe

Adobe UI Gripes
posted by nthdegx (82 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
CS 2 forever!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:34 AM on September 30, 2009


Adobe UI Gripe: flash amirite
posted by DU at 5:48 AM on September 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


As bad as some of this is, at least they didn't design Avid, which is the bane of my existence these days.
posted by fungible at 5:51 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some of the steam could be directed at improving Gimp and such things, perhaps.
posted by krilli at 5:54 AM on September 30, 2009 [8 favorites]


We can plot the slow demise of Photoshop from the day the farting noise was removed from the secret about box in the "Big Cat" release.

Seriously, I love Photoshop, but the new interface is just annoying so often. I thought I'd adjust, but it hasn't happened yet.
posted by cccorlew at 5:55 AM on September 30, 2009


For a second there I thought this might (if the content were a well-reasoned critique of various bits of UI design) just scrape by as a worthwhile MetaFilter post.

And then I realised it's just a couple of people posting a screenshots of interface bugs to a blog and commenting on how shit everything is. Which is only interesting if you are some sort of bug trainspotter.

Still, reassuring to see that everything isn't perfect for Mac users either.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 6:01 AM on September 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


For a company with $12Bln. market capitalization and over 6,000 employees, you'd think they would have the resources to fix what's broke. It's almost like they're following a market leader's example of releasing betas as finals.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 6:01 AM on September 30, 2009


the bigger they come, the harder they fall.

GIMP!
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:08 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Most of these aren't really UI gripes, they're bugs. Most of them are non-critical. The blog should correctly be named, "Bugs in Adobe products that you can take a screenshot of."
posted by justkevin at 6:11 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Still, reassuring to see that everything isn't perfect for Mac users either.

Yup, equal suckage these days.

Photoshop (and Illustrator) started going to hell at the exact moment Adobe moved to a common code base for Windows and Mac. That's also when they got painfully slooooow.
posted by rokusan at 6:11 AM on September 30, 2009


I have encountered this Illustrator [CANT]. I've never worked out whether they were insincere, using a private language, using a beggars singsong speech or cutting me into flitches.
— bug trainspotter.
posted by tellurian at 6:17 AM on September 30, 2009


The video where the color picker arrow's drop shadow in Flash makes the selection progressively darker and darker and darker is fucking hilarious. Well done, Adobe.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:24 AM on September 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


I've watched this site for a while, and it's the primary reason I haven't upgraded to CS4.

(The secondary reason is that they won't let me upgrade just Photoshop; since I bought one of their package deals last time I apparently either have to upgrade the whole collection at once or buy a new full-price version of photoshop. Bleh.)

Photoshop 7 was probably the last really good version of PS; that was the point for me at which the cruft started to outweigh the really useful new features. It's MS Word 5.1 all over again.
posted by ook at 6:24 AM on September 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


(And now I see Merlin Mann already made exactly the same point about MS Word 5.1. Remind me never to bother posting anything on the internet ever again)
posted by ook at 6:28 AM on September 30, 2009


PS CS4 is just horrible. The worst thing for me is the adjustment layer palette, a catastrophic piece of design. A curves layer and a straight curves adjustment now have entirely different interfaces. Worse, clicking on an adjustment layer in the layers palette flips you to the adjustments palette, with its broken navigation.

Not to mention PS's terrible no-good handling of large files. (EG, if you try to cancel 'building histograms' on a large file, you get the beachball).
posted by unSane at 6:34 AM on September 30, 2009


I don't use a lot of Adobe products, but I do use Acrobat Pro daily. It's remarkable that it's gotten worse with age rather than better. Each new versions seems to be slower, more bug-ridden and harder to install and use than the last. The Adobe updater also has to be one of the most annoying pieces of software in existence.

With foxit and other cheap or free tools available now, I can't see why anyone would choose Adobe now. Many workplaces mandate it, if only through inertia. As the de facto support person in our work-group, I'd say at least half of the complaints are with Reader/Reader Pro, far more than any other piece of software.

Reader, which is the only interaction with Adobe 99% of people have, those who don't do content creation, is horribly slow, over-complicated and breaks many of the assumptions (Windows) users have about how software works. Just as Windows software doesn't work on Macs, Mac software is horrible on Windows. I wish the Adobe interface team would figure this out.
posted by bonehead at 6:37 AM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Are we seriously complaining about Adobe Photoshop? Photoshop is the bacon cheeseburger of software - it's awesome all the way down. Plugins and extensions are like extra pickles or extra cheese - it was awesome before, still awesome now.

I use a computer that I bought 4 years ago for $300. An Athlon 1.6GHz with 512MB memory running windows XP. I put Photoshop CS2 on that. First although Photoshop does take a long time to load up. Once it is loaded, it is incredibly fast editing full size 8MP photos, applying filters etc. Sure, complex stuff takes a few seconds, but so what?

I also run Photoshop Elements to organize and catalog my photos. They say that it is not designed for large collections. I'm at 19,000 photos and counting. Again, if I try to scroll down 7000 photos in a second, it takes a moment to catch up.

It has a few interface problems? Has anyone used itunes? That program is a collection of interface failures. iTunes is an inferior music player to simply opening folder in explorer, double clicking them, and having foobar2k just load up instantly and play the song.

You want a real interface problem? It is still possible to lock your keys in most 2009 model year cars, despite the fact that this problem was solved by Volvo at least 24 years ago. I had a 1985 Volvo that would not allow the driver side door to lock if the car was off but the keys were in the ignition. But somehow that is impossible to reproduce 24 years later on cars with diagnostic computers. That is an interface failure.

Oh no, Adobe Photoshop is "beachballing" on your Mac. Did you ever consider that the problem might be the Mac OS? Maybe somewhere in the multi-megabyte beachball subroutine, some barefoot, patchouli-soaked coder forgot to free up the memory he allocated to the "bouncy-bouncy" procedure?

Here's a thought - try using a computer whose interface isn't targeted to Teletubbies. If Photoshop and Premiere CS2 can run without crashing on my antediluvian Windows PC from emachines that can't run Doom 3, but it crashes on your Core i7 Mac Ziggurat, my guess is Adobe isn't to blame.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:37 AM on September 30, 2009 [16 favorites]


If you don't absolutely NEED PhotoShop, or have a hard time justifying its cost for home use and you have a qualm or two about running warez, the GIMP is quite decent. For the last 3 years, I've been using it for the occasional bit of freelance work, and it's done just about anything I could do in PhotoShop.

(disclaimer - I prefer OpenOffice over MS Office too)
posted by Artful Codger at 6:49 AM on September 30, 2009


Back in 1995 I remember the school I was at required us to buy and use Canvas 5, a giant hulking error-prone mass of bad UI, and lame usability. (Yeah, I just pissed on your grave Deneba, that's how crappy that software was! Fifteen years later and I'm still angry I spent my money on it.) Several of us got together and bought Photoshop 5, against the department's wishes. It was an amazing breath of fresh air, a complete, well thought out UI, shockingly quick and no more lost projects due to crashing. Last week I used CS4 for the first time (I keep CS2 on my work computer), and instantly thought of Canvas, and realized that my beloved Photoshop has become what I once ran away from.

I'm beginning to look seriously at GIMP now. It's not super awesome great, but it's well above good enough for free. It's possible that my Photoshop license (which dates back to PS 3) will probably sit idle now, I can't imagine going back to more stupid software. RIP, Big Electric Cat.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:51 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hush up Pastabagel, go get a donut.

I run the CS2 suite just fine on an upgraded graphite G4 (Now at 1.8ghz) from almost ten years ago. The OS isn't the problem, Adobe's piling on of features and shitty efforts are.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:52 AM on September 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


You want a real interface problem? It is still possible to lock your keys in most 2009 model year cars, despite the fact that this problem was solved by Volvo at least 24 years ago. I had a 1985 Volvo that would not allow the driver side door to lock if the car was off but the keys were in the ignition. But somehow that is impossible to reproduce 24 years later on cars with diagnostic computers. That is an interface failure.

Really? I can think of several situations I've been in where having the door locked while the car was off was a plus. Aggressive panhandlers in parking garages are a special scary. Not to mention the times where you leave a passenger in the car to run and get something.

When I leave my key in my ignition the door beeps loudly. This is good design, warn but do not stop.
posted by geoff. at 6:53 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'd love to see Apple finally throw down and come out with a graphics suite. They clearly have all the materials they need, it's a question of how willing they are to piss off Adobe yet again (see Aperture v Photoshop Lightroom and Final Cut Studio vs. Adobe CS4 Production Premium).
posted by Scoo at 6:59 AM on September 30, 2009


Here's a thought - try using a computer whose interface isn't targeted to Teletubbies.

Yes, yes, your favourite OS sucks etc.

My singular gripe about Photoshop is that on occasion, when you're toggling gridlines/guides on or off, you hit a keyboard combination that immediately closes every single open toolbar and panel.
posted by panboi at 7:03 AM on September 30, 2009


I've run eval copies of CS3 and CS4 every once in a while (PS, AI and acrobat) because you know, new version! and I must be missing cool stuff!, and every time I do that, I take it off about a half hour after the installer finishes (which may or may not be the same day) and put CS2 right back on.
posted by disclaimer at 7:07 AM on September 30, 2009


When I leave my key in my ignition the door beeps loudly. This is good design, warn but do not stop.
My old Honda just required the key to lock the driver's side door. (Unless you were sitting in the driver's seat with the door closed.) So unless you were doing a Dukes of Hazzard, it was pretty hard to lock your keys in the car.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:10 AM on September 30, 2009


I've been using photoshop for a long time and for sure I'm in the minority, but I think the Canvas size/Image size commands are not intuitive enough to figure out without consulting the manual (which I never did).
posted by digsrus at 7:13 AM on September 30, 2009


The context menus appearing on the wrong screen has been a problem at least since CS and drives me batty. You'd think this would be something they could get right considering the penetration of dual monitor (or more) systems for graphics work. AutoDesk, Microsoft and ESRI all managed to get this sorted at least a decade ago.
posted by Mitheral at 7:18 AM on September 30, 2009


I live in Adobe software and I mostly enjoy the experience. But Flash's interface drives me batshit. I have to restart it a couple of times a day to get all the windows back into sane positions. It really does not play nice with Spaces on the Mac. Switching between desktops often causes the Document window to hide in a way that I can't find it. Resetting the "workspace" doesn't help.

And whose bright idea was it to make the Actionscript editor vanish when you click outside the app? You're trying to compare some code you have in Flash with some code you have in Flex, but if you click inside Flex's window, you can't see the Flash code. (As a seasoned developer, I stay away from Flash's abysmal code editor whenever I can, but that's not always possible when I'm editing other people's files.)

The most insane UI choice in Photoshop is the way CANCEL buttons work in dialogues. Bring up the Image Size window (for instance). See the CANCEL button? Now hold down the Alt/Option key and look at it. It changes to a RESET button.

It's a great feature to be able to reset a dialogue to its defaults without canceling out, but what a retarded way of implementing it! All of the dialogues I've seen have enough space for both a CANCEL and a RESET button.

Pro Photoshop people don't complain about this, because it's easy to remember once you know about it. Beginners don't complain because they don't know about it. (I spent a couple of years canceling out and then going back in whenever I wanted to reset a tool.) As a pro, it no longer causes me a workflow problem, but it's ugly, ugly, ugly UI design. It hurts me to think about it.
posted by grumblebee at 7:20 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anecdote 1: Adobe's products are slow because they need to maintain disparate codebases for Windows and Mac OS S.
My opinion: See Opera browser for an extremely quick cross-platform application. Adobe chose the wrong windowing and cross-platform toolkit. The Qt toolkit, as employed by Opera, is excellent.

Anecdote 2: Photoshop beach balls when canceling large operations because of Mac OS X.
My opinion: Bad task management and event handling on part of Adobe. The beach ball is simply a signal from OS X that the process is unresponsive. This simply means that the Adobe program is ... unresponsive.

Fact: Bicubic interpolation, as seen in Adobe Photoshop's Resize Image, sucks. Things we call Sinc interpolation (or the Lanczos approximation thereof) are both more mathematically correct in the frequency domain, and gives more pleasing results. Here's an overview of various interpolation methods used by the open-source image manipulation library ImageMagick.

Disclaimer: I am a computer scientist, working on a complex cross-platform project including somewhat heavy image processing.
posted by krilli at 7:21 AM on September 30, 2009 [9 favorites]


This is pretty much a surprise to me.

I work with CS4 everyday for work. Primarily Photoshop, Illustrator and Dreamweaver. I can honestly say I've never had a problem with it. And my computer is a Windows laptop that I bought around 2003ish.

The only Adobe software I have to use that I hate is Acrobat which is now the most bloated piece of crap on earth. Once that thing starts up everything drags.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 7:24 AM on September 30, 2009


Reader, which is the only interaction with Adobe 99% of people have, those who don't do content creation, is horribly slow, over-complicated and breaks many of the assumptions (Windows) users have about how software works. Just as Windows software doesn't work on Macs, Mac software is horrible on Windows. I wish the Adobe interface team would figure this out.
posted by bonehead at 8:37 AM on September 30


See, that's where you're wrong. Acrobat Reader and Acrobat Pro are just as shitty on the Mac as they are on Windows if not worse. The problem isn't cross platform software -- the problem is Adobe software.

Although a special place in hell is reserved for the current version of MS Word on the Mac. STABBY-FACE!
posted by nathan_teske at 7:27 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've not used any Adobe products for ages. The last PS I bought was 7 which did everything I need it to and my last version of Illustrator was CS2 which wasn't so great.

Since switching to Linux from Mac OS X, I've have no problems with Gimp or Inkscape (which, once I learned how to use the thing is really quite excellent). Gimp has all sorts of issues, but I don't design for print and it's no more a pain in the arse that Photoshop 7 was.

I've heard horror stories about how Adobe apps were evolving but as I hadn't used them in so long, I had no idea what the problems are. I'd hate to rely on anything from Adobe now.
posted by littleredspiders at 7:28 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey pastabagel? Can I just check for clarity here?

  • The site shows problems in all versions of all Adobe products on both platforms

  • The majority of problems reported occur in CS 4, for which practically the entire UI was rewritten in the same timeframe as a normal release

  • You run different, older versions of two Adobe titles on your old underpowered PC with no problems

  • Therefore, the problem is OS X and it's ad hominem-prone developers?

  • posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 7:30 AM on September 30, 2009 [19 favorites]


    P.s.
    I am sorry for presenting things you guys have said as "Anecdotes" – on second review, it's wayyyy more dismissive than I had intended.

    I stand by the "Fact" parts though!
    posted by krilli at 7:30 AM on September 30, 2009


    Oh no, Adobe Photoshop is "beachballing" on your Mac. Did you ever consider that the problem might be the Mac OS? Maybe somewhere in the multi-megabyte beachball subroutine, some barefoot, patchouli-soaked coder forgot to free up the memory he allocated to the "bouncy-bouncy" procedure?

    My, you certainly know a lot about computers and operating systems, not to mention programming.
    posted by odinsdream at 7:36 AM on September 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


    Therefore, the problem is OS X and it's ad hominem-prone developers?

    Right. Also, the beachball indicates that the app is no longer emptying its event queue, not because of a time-consuming action inadvisedly running on the UI thread rather than a background thread where it belongs, but because Apple's hippie programmers used up all the megarams in their subroutine procedures.
    posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 7:40 AM on September 30, 2009 [15 favorites]


    Adobe started to suck right about exactly when they bought Macromedia. Because after that, they didn't have any real competition.

    What's worse is that despite the suckage there's enough good in there that we keep buying it. Which simply encourages them to keep on sucking.

    Anyone know why the Acrobat reader hides all the actually-useful toolbar buttons by default? I've never been able to figure that one out. It has loads of buttons that do lots of useful things, but 95% of them are not available unless you customize the toolbars. Which is something 95% of users never think to do.
    posted by caution live frogs at 7:53 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Can we please talk about something important, like how the iTunes UI sucks on Windows, even though there are more iTunes windows installs than on OSX?
    posted by blue_beetle at 7:53 AM on September 30, 2009


    I must say: One thing Adobe does superbly is color management and rendering. This is a complex mathematical task, and is really hard to do cross-platform.

    If they had the same level of competence in other areas, we'd all be much happier.
    posted by krilli at 7:56 AM on September 30, 2009


    My old Honda just required the key to lock the driver's side door.

    Fortunately for Bay Area tow truck drivers, I've managed to figure out a way around that.
    posted by small_ruminant at 8:24 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


    You guys think the Creative Suite UI is crap now? Wait 'til Adobe migrates the mess over to a completely web-based service.
    posted by Thorzdad at 8:24 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I don't like The GIMP. It's got all kinds of great features and assets and functions and it's so freaking painful to use that I would honestly rather write my own software than figure out how to do something in it.

    On the upside, almost nobody needs Photoshop. It's a freaking gorilla. You don't need it to retouch your photos, if that's all you're going to do. Photoshop is not a Swiss Army knife, it's a Swiss Army division, complete with tanks, Marine strike force, and air cover.

    Photoshop Elements, available on Windows and Mac for a fraction of Photoshop's price, does pretty much everything you have to do. It lacks an extensive bullet list of features and functions. This is good; hardly anybody needs them. If you only need an image editor for making your snapshots look better, and possibly for putting circles, arrows and labels on them, or making silly-bugger collages of a cat dancing on your fiancee's head, you can use Photoshop Elements.

    For Adobe-averse Mac users, there is Pixelmator, Acorn, Paintbrush, and plenty more, prices ranging from free to $100. (Lots of options for Windows as well, although I'm not as current on what's good there.)

    Do I need Photoshop? Yes, I need Photoshop. I occasionally edit >2GB images several hundred layers deep. My day job involves decompositing layered Photoshop files for web development purposes. You probably do not do the same work I do.
    posted by ardgedee at 8:47 AM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


    And to add to my previous rant: When I am not working for other people, I edit my snapshots in iPhoto. It's more efficient than doing so in Photoshop.
    posted by ardgedee at 8:48 AM on September 30, 2009


    Heh, Fireworks still does this? I used to see these errors regularly when I was using an early version of Fireworks back in 1999.
    posted by killdevil at 8:55 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I do think Adobe's going to be in some trouble because of this. I'm a student at an art school and, like almost all of my peers, I have a pirated copy of the most recent version of the Adobe Creative Suite.

    I'm going to school to learn the ins and outs of this software. I haven't paid a dime for this software. But I hate this software, and it's hard to find someone that does indeed *love* it. Even the faculty doesn't come off as kind towards Adobe. Think we're all gonna pony up $1000+ for a legal copy when we enter the "real world" after graduation?

    I'm already playing with alternatives to the apps I use the most. The Gimp is complete bollocks, they set out to make a Photoshop clone and unfortunately copied all of the things we hate about Photoshop. Pixelmator is brilliant, though, for most photo editing jobs. Still haven't found a nice vector drawing app, or an alternative to the necessary evil that is Flash, but I'm sure that's in the works from somebody out there.
    posted by bhayes82 at 8:56 AM on September 30, 2009


    Corel Photopaint, anyone? Always struck me as every bit as powerful as Adobe's product, but with a different (clumsier) UI.
    posted by five fresh fish at 9:03 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Gimp is going to get better. 2.6 was a BIG improvement, and there's work going on under the hood that I rather do like.

    Still, I think it won't be the Photoshop killer. One will arrive, though.
    posted by krilli at 9:12 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Suggestions of GIMP and Corel and whatnot are all fine and good. However, the real deal about Adobe's Creative Suite is how the apps all integrate together. I do a lot of back-and-forth between Illustrator and Photoshop. The way those two work seamlessly together makes them invaluable, despite the crap UI, bloat and bugginess. The cross-app color management alone is a pleasure to behold. Dragging/dropping items between the apps is another.
    posted by Thorzdad at 9:13 AM on September 30, 2009


    Can someone who is using CS4 confirm or deny: did Adobe really truly add a hat menu item?

    Because if so then the phrase "jumping the shark" has just been replaced in my personal lexicon.
    posted by ook at 9:25 AM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


    You're on a deadline for the September issue of Vogue.

    The UBS memory stick won't give you some of the pictures from the cover shoot. Only the ones where the wig blew off.

    You can trust your professional Adobe workflow.

    Adobe Hat. Meets your needs. Meets them now.
    posted by krilli at 9:34 AM on September 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


    FREE HAT!
    posted by porn in the woods at 9:37 AM on September 30, 2009


    I love Photoshop, and Windows 7 and OS X (though I don't actually have Snow Leopard yet). I don't use Photoshop all that much, which is probably why I've never run into any of these issues. What does bother me is how on windows, you hold down the alt key and then use the mouse wheel to zoom, and then you have to hit the alt key again, otherwise you're stuck in the menubar. But that's a windows problem, not a photoshop problem.
    posted by !Jim at 9:40 AM on September 30, 2009


    Adobe stuff runs better on Windows, maybe he should upgrade?
    posted by Artw at 9:43 AM on September 30, 2009


    more like adobefat, amirite?
    posted by bonehead at 9:47 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


    bhayes82: Still haven't found a nice vector drawing app, or an alternative to the necessary evil that is Flash, but I'm sure that's in the works from somebody out there.

    Vector drawing alternative: Inkscape.

    Flash alternative: Javascript.
    posted by oulipian at 10:05 AM on September 30, 2009


    Silverlight!
    posted by Artw at 10:06 AM on September 30, 2009


    The majority of my UI gripes with Adobe involve Acrobat Reader. It's slow, it's poorly designed, and it has the bizarro-Midas touch, in which everything it interacts with turns to shit.

    Also, is Pastabagel a real person, or a well-elaborated satire? I've never seen such a dependable confluence of self-assurance, verbosity, and untruth.
    posted by invitapriore at 10:20 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Javascript/DHTML/Ajax are interesting, but not a full-up Flash equivalent because of browser differences, graphics limitations (not vector, limited palette of graphic possibilities), and mainly because there's no film-style development tool for producing animations like the Flash/Silverlight dev tools.

    Java applets can blow Flash away, but again there isn't a nice tool for quickly whipping up animations. Also Java is still a dirty word to some people (eg Steve Ballmer)
    posted by Artful Codger at 10:22 AM on September 30, 2009


    Oh no, Adobe Photoshop is "beachballing" on your Mac. Did you ever consider that the problem might be the Mac OS? Maybe somewhere in the multi-megabyte beachball subroutine, some barefoot, patchouli-soaked coder forgot to free up the memory he allocated to the "bouncy-bouncy" procedure?

    Here's a thought - try using a computer whose interface isn't targeted to Teletubbies. If Photoshop and Premiere CS2 can run without crashing on my antediluvian Windows PC from emachines that can't run Doom 3, but it crashes on your Core i7 Mac Ziggurat, my guess is Adobe isn't to blame.


    Targeted to Teletubbies? I'm no Teletubby, but I find the OS X interface much easier to use than Windows, and it actually makes logical, consistent sense to the point where I am far more productive on my Mac than I ever was on a Windows (or Linux, since I did that for several years) system. Just because you don't understand the interface (which is understandable and okay if you don't use them that much!) doesn't mean it's for stupid people or somehow inferior.

    The complaints on the Adobe UI Gripes site are mostly targeted at CS4, which is vastly different from your vaunted CS2. Adobe made a lot of changes with CS4, and most of them involve their half-baked custom UI code that doesn't look right on either Windows or OS X.

    And you may not care for the OS X interface, and you may think it's silly, but bashing Apple's engineers is just lame. If you'd take the time to use a Mac enough to learn it, you might see that the system is actually incredibly well-engineered from the ground up. In particular, there is a set of guidelines written by Apple for user interface design, and Apple does a great job of eating their own dog food by making their system apps adhere to it very strongly. (Okay, iTunes is an oddball case, but it's still implemented in Carbon, ffs.)

    Yes, I just fed the troll. But you know what? I don't run around bashing Windows or its users just because I happen to prefer a Mac.
    posted by spitefulcrow at 10:22 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


    The worst part about Acrobat Reader is it actually pays attention to the "don't allow copying of selected text to clipboard" flag. Which none of the free viewers I use do. I understand why but Pssttt! Adobe? Your DRM is getting in the way of a fundamental advantage of electronic text vs. dead trees.
    posted by Mitheral at 10:26 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


    The hat is indeed there in PS CS4 under 3D>New Shape From Layer>Hat

    There is also 'soda can' and 'wine bottle'
    posted by unSane at 10:28 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I'll second Inkscape. It's great on OS X for making vector art and manipulating SVG figures, and the SVG output can be fed into Imagemagick for downstream publication-quality work. I have a couple quibbles about working with layers and the font limitations of X11, but it's free and otherwise works as well as the multi-hundred-dollar Illustrator standard, for everything I need to do.
    posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:29 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


    You guys think the Creative Suite UI is crap now? Wait 'til Adobe migrates the mess over to a completely web-based service.

    I think we're still a ways away from that. There isn't enough bandwidth, and I don't think Adobe has the money to host that many app servers yet, especially without the demand. I think it works for basic office apps at the moment, but even that is not ready for prime time yet, IMO. Maybe when we all have 100Mb connections and quad core is the baseline for the workstation.
    posted by krinklyfig at 10:32 AM on September 30, 2009


    If you'd take the time to use a Mac enough to learn it, you might see that the system is actually incredibly well-engineered from the ground up.

    This is generally true, but you would never want to leave me alone in a room with the engineer who dreamt up the 'wacky' animated windows and dialogue boxes in OSX. That's the 'wacky' animated windows and dialogue boxes you can't disable without 3rd party software.

    (Ditto the genius who did away with scrollbars for filtering on Excel in OSX).
    posted by panboi at 10:38 AM on September 30, 2009


    Still, I think it won't be the Photoshop killer. One will arrive, though.

    I keep coming back to it, but it's always been painfully clear that the program was designed by programmers, not actual designers. For the GIMP to really succeed, they need to have some professional designers working on it, but who is going to do that as a volunteer effort when the industry demands Adobe as the de facto design vendor?
    posted by krinklyfig at 10:42 AM on September 30, 2009


    Oh no, Adobe Photoshop is "beachballing" on your Mac. Did you ever consider that the problem might be the Mac OS? Maybe somewhere in the multi-megabyte beachball subroutine, some barefoot, patchouli-soaked coder forgot to free up the memory he allocated to the "bouncy-bouncy" procedure? If Photoshop and Premiere CS2 can run without crashing on my antediluvian Windows PC from emachines that can't run Doom 3, but it crashes on your Core i7 Mac Ziggurat, my guess is Adobe isn't to blame."

    You don't know what you're talking about, do you? Have you ever been in a professional media creation environment? A film studio? A design studio? An VFX house? You use frigging ADOBE PREMIERE for video editing.
    posted by nathancaswell at 10:54 AM on September 30, 2009


    So I wrote something negative upthread, and I stand by it. I also agree with many other criticisms here. However, to be fair, there's a very positive thing I can say about Adobe. I don't know if it's true company wide, because I largely work with the Flash-platform products, but at least in those cases, Adobe is way more responsive to their customers than any other behemoth software company that I've encountered.

    Their engineers participate in online forums; they regularly answer questions; they make open betas of their applications; they beg users to submit bug reports and requests. When a new version of Flash or Flex comes out, the top ten features usually come straight from user requests.

    I have had protracted email exchanges with Adobe employees. They have always been gracious, helpful and interested in criticism. Many of them have blogs where they post stories about what they're working on.

    Recently, Adobe's Flash team announced that they had no plans to upgrade the code editor in Flash (since Flex is supposed to be their real coding tool). Many users requested that they change their mind about this, and they did. So an upgraded code editor has been announced as a upcoming feature in CS5.

    Another recent event (I wish I could find a link): an independent developer claimed that Adobe's Flash compiler was too slow. He built his own and it was faster. Adobe published a really humble statement, saying they were sorry that they hadn't worked harder on their compiler and that they would contact the independent developer and see if he's work with them.

    I get the impression that these's no such thing as Adobe. There's just a bunch of independent departments, some way better than others.
    posted by grumblebee at 11:19 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


    the 'wacky' animated windows and dialogue boxes in OSX

    Wait, aside from the "genie" animated window minimization (which can be turned off in preferences), there is OS-level animation that I'm missing out on? I must have this! Where can I go to turn this on? It seems to be missing in my copy of 10.5.8.
    posted by hippybear at 11:26 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


    This is like being trapped inside my own head. I'm gonna go out for some air.
    posted by The Whelk at 11:31 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Oh, man, that blog is full of rueful laughter.

    I've filled in the crash reporter dialogue with lengthy rants about how I was trying to do something simple that used to work just fine for years but doesn't work reliably any more now that they rewrote huge chunks of UI. (Like doing anything with the gradient tool in AI with the annoying new 'gradient inspector' hidden - you've got a 50% chance of a crash.) And every time I resize a new AI document down from the full screen it insists on opening as now and get the bottom of it off-screen because they had to write their own fucking window code for that stupid fucking Windows resize behavior, some part of me just wants to kill.
    posted by egypturnash at 11:33 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Heh, Fireworks still does this? I used to see these errors regularly when I was using an early version of Fireworks back in 1999.

    It does. And there's nifty new errors, like the fact that if you leave the image output parameter ("optimize") panel anywhere near flush with the right side of the screen, when you go to select a matte color, the color picker will appear not even in place and partly cut off (like you might expect if you were allowing for normal levels of buginess) but completely off screen.

    And it's still a million times better than anything else for design work or production changes for web-targeted artwork.

    (I swear, the idea that Photoshop is an adequate tool for doing web-targeted design, let alone some kind of standard, is at best an unhappy accident of history, but more likely was started by Satan himself.)
    posted by weston at 12:05 PM on September 30, 2009


    Silverlight!

    Um, no.

    I've heard from people I think are good programmers that they've made a pretty good product here, but there's no way I'd make any kind of habit of using it given Microsoft's history. IE6 was a good product, a competitive product for its time.... but once they could get away with it, they completely forwent any effort to improve their primary window to the web. The world's primary window to the web for a long time, unfortunately. And in so doing, they essentially push the effort of living with its deficiencies onto the backs of millions of developers who chose or were forced to work with their platform.

    I never really liked targeting their platforms from my DOS and Windows development experiences in the mid 90s, but I was always pretty pragmatic about it. If I thought it would pay off, I'd do it. Post IE6? I'd need a helluva carrot for me to trust them ever again.

    Adobe has their problems, but particularly when it comes to Flash, they've never done anything like resting on their laurels and letting it stagnate for over five years, and like grumblebee, my impression is that they actively engage their developer community.
    posted by weston at 12:40 PM on September 30, 2009


    grumblebee: I don't know if it's true company wide, because I largely work with the Flash-platform products, but at least in those cases, Adobe is way more responsive to their customers than any other behemoth software company that I've encountered.

    It might be, as you noted, the case that their departments are separate, because this observation seems to be largely at-odds with the subject of this FPP.

    Also I'll say this about Photoshop: it's not nearly as buggy as Corel Painter, which likes to stop working after a few months, sometimes in a way that's fixed by a preferences reset, but sometimes requiring a remove/reinstall. And when I did that with Painter IX, it wouldn't let be reinstall the free IX.5 upgrade, because it claimed it was already installed.

    Also: ZALGO
    posted by JHarris at 12:44 PM on September 30, 2009


    Adobe has their problems, but particularly when it comes to Flash, they've never done anything like resting on their laurels and letting it stagnate for over five years,

    Offer not valid on Linux.

    Seriously, Flash on Linux is beyond awful. Video playback is terrible, uploaders don't work because of numerous bugs in FileReference, etc, etc. On Windows or Mac it's not so bad.
    posted by wildcrdj at 1:58 PM on September 30, 2009


    On Windows or Mac it's not so bad.

    Flash on Mac is so awful... Totally not written well for the machine at all. Web page loading hangs, things slow to a crawl... Ugh. I've taken the step of installing the ClickToFlash plugin, which only loads flash when I tell it to, and has made surfing the net fun again.
    posted by hippybear at 3:08 PM on September 30, 2009


    There's alot of aggravating bugs documented here, but I agree that this really isn't a critique of the UI itself - which I really wish it was...

    I've consistently getting more disappointed by how bad the logic/aesthetics/functionality of UI design within programs is - and Adobe in particularly is a bad and consistent offender - options and tools are pretty much thrown anywhere with little attention to organization or consistency. In photoshop/image ready, t feels as if for every new feature, the programmer threw an icon on a random toolbar, a slot on a random file_menu dropdown, and then that placeholder was left there for the rest of the development cycle. Even worse, in flash/after effects, they simply included a magic button - recommended size 5 pixels - in one place somewhere on the timeline.

    Conversely, for an example of how a pretty complicated program can be well organized, 3d studio max was exceptionally well laid out. The categorization of each item made sense, the icons were descriptive, and there was redundancy: the route through the file menu was through the tab-bar/toolbar (redundancy in UI design is good and necessary imo). (note: latest version of 3dmax i've played with, some features seem to be "shortcut-only" - and the tab-bar has been nixed ?!? - both big steps backward). Cubase also does a pretty good job - not as complicated, but again, things are organized (cubase does suffer from the magic button problem though - try to find the gain on input channels for example).

    Anyways, i understand UI organization/layout/design may not be the priority in development, but for such iconic programs that have been around forever, it's weird to me that they aren't improving - but getting worse. Sure, maybe first release, stuff is thrown anywhere - but is it this haphazard simply as legacy behaviour? Bad legacy!

    Actually - I wonder ... are there companies that just consult on UI stuff? Take sophisticated but not expert users, have them organize the layout, menus, toolbars by use and user logic... that would greatly improve the learn curve for so many other users.
    posted by sloe at 3:36 PM on September 30, 2009


    Seriously, Flash on Linux is beyond awful. Video playback is terrible, uploaders don't work because of numerous bugs in FileReference, etc, etc.

    I've had literally zero problems with Flash on Linux since the official port was released, beyond having to install a bunch of compat libs to run the 32 bit player on a 64 bit install.
    posted by rodgerd at 8:39 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


    What he said.

    If anything, I find the official Flash plugin on Linux to be less of a hassle than the one on OS X. If you want bad Flash on Linux, try using swfdec on a PPC machine.

    (I've not yet tried to upload anything via a Flash interface though, so my mileage probably varies.)
    posted by littleredspiders at 2:09 AM on October 1, 2009


    Anyone who thinks Adobe products have a bad UI hasn't had to use Lexis or WestLaw.
    posted by jock@law at 8:37 AM on October 1, 2009


    Or Lotus (shudder) Notes.
    posted by littleredspiders at 8:53 AM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Seriously, Flash on Linux is beyond awful... Flash on Linux since the official port was released... If you want bad Flash on Linux, try using swfdec...

    The official non-free flash works great for me (32-bit debian), and it works particularly well with the native nvidia drivers. Is regular flash actually problematic for some users?
    posted by fuq at 11:38 AM on October 1, 2009


    ~You guys think the Creative Suite UI is crap now? Wait 'til Adobe migrates the mess over to a completely web-based service.

    ~I think we're still a ways away from that. There isn't enough bandwidth, and I don't think Adobe has the money to host that many app servers yet, especially without the demand.


    Perhaps. Though I definitely think Adobe has shown us that that is where they are going with the UI in CS4. I mean...tabs? That just screams "Soon to be a web app" to me.
    posted by Thorzdad at 7:23 AM on October 2, 2009


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