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General Software Discussion / Re: Swapping Out Software?
« on: July 18, 2013, 08:15 PM »
^ I think a good deal of Adobe's motivation in what they're currently doing is to reduce the number of CSS customers (i.e casual users and non-pros) they have and focus on the hardcore graphics professionals. A market where they're firmly entrenched for many reasons both good and bad - but mostly good.

When selling complex products that require support, the last thing you want is to have every kid on the block using it badly. You can be profitable (sometimes even more profitable) with lower sales figures. Because sales don't automatically map out to better margins. Sometimes small, very fat, and happy is where it's at for a tech company.

Besides, non-professionals don't buy into those high margin support packages and add-ons that the pros do. No do they sign up for those expensive training sessions and workshops. You're lucky if they buy a book. And even luckier if they do more than give it a quick skim when they do buy one. Amateurs much prefer to tie up the support lines for ages when they need help. ("I don't know about any of that! Just tell me what I need to click on to do this...what? The tools menu? Where's that?)

Supporting unqualified users can seriously hurt the bottom line. Autocad realized that ages ago. So did the producers of most of the other heavy-duty CAD, 3D modeling, and animation packages. Many almost seem to go out of their way to try and steer the 'average joe' away from their flagship products.

No. This isn't an oversight, or hubris, or something stupid on Adobe's part. It's a very sharp and calculated business decision. I call it a "velvet rope" approach: qualified, target segment customers only, please?
 (see attachment in previous post)You say you do this for a living?
Because your name's not on my list.

Time will tell if Adobe called it right with this one. FWIW, when it comes to CSS, I think they did. 8)

That's an interesting theory but it has nothing to do with Adobe's decision, and on top of that it would be a sign that their executives are completely incompetent. If the problem was that hobbyists cost too much to support because they make too much use of Adobe's services and don't pay for the extras they would either limit the basic support to make people pay extra for what they're getting now or simply raise the price of the software. What you're describing is like treating a sprained wrist by amputating your arm at the shoulder.

But I don't have to guess at Adobe's motivations because they telegraphed them clearly just a day after they announced Creative Cloud (in 2011 IIRC). That was the day they announced that starting with the next Creative Suite upgrade versions would no longer be available for anything more than 1 version back. They didn't make a big public announcement about that. It just got a quick and quiet press release on the Adobe website.

The reason for Creative Cloud is that Adobe wanted a way to force their smaller customers, many of whom were only upgrading every other version, to buy every version instead. That year they also announced they were transitioning to an annual upgrade cycle.

The fact that all those things point to the same conclusion is not a coincidence. Creative Cloud is not about shedding customers or trimming support costs. It's about forcing their customers to give them money on a fixed schedule whether it makes sense for them or not. To quote The Princess Bride, anyone who tells you anything else is selling something.

Adobe's actions amount to nothing less than looking their customers in the eye (not all of them but apparently a significant number in their eyes) and saying, "We've heard your requests and you can stick them up your ass. You'll get what we want to sell you when we want in the way we want and that's the way it is." There's a word for companies who do that. That word is footnote. Today they're pissing off their small customers tomorrow they'll be pissing off some of their bigger customers and before too long they won't have any customers to worry about.

The problem is that it's not designed as a realtime encoder.

Fair enough.. And it probably makes sense to split up the job of rapid lossless recording vs the job of getting good compression.

So we're back to the idea that ESR should have a way to post-process (either on demand or automatically) video into a format for uploading and sharing.

Probably - but let me get back to you on the FFmpeg thing first and see what the options are. I suspect x264 ends up being to CPU intensive either way but we should start with a better picture of the possibilities before getting invested in anything.

why x264 instead of other h.264 implementations?  Just wondering...

(I think I found the answer on my own)

Yep, that's a good technical explanation. The less technical one is that x264 is not just free (as in beer and speech, but not necessarily patent encumbrance) but also the best H.264 encoder available with the exception of certain situations involving gradients where CinemaCraft's encoder is supposed to be the only good choice. I say supposed to be because it's a high end professional encoder that costs something like $50,000 so needless to say I haven't used it.

x264 is so good that The Criterion Collection paid the tens of thousands of dollars required for Blu-ray certification. If there's one thing Criterion is known for (besides their huge selection of art films) it's their uncompromising attitude to quality.

x264 in lossless mode sounds intriguing as a potential default recording format for ESR..
That would be a tricky proposition. The problem is that it's not designed as a realtime encoder. There used to be a VfW version around but trust me VfW should be considered a last resort option and VfW x264 is a bad idea.

I do put up with VfW for CamStudio because it's better than any comparable program that doesn't cost hundreds of dollars. And because the CamStudio Lossless Codec is only available in VfW.

What you could do in theory is pipe the video to FFmpeg for encoding since x264 is integrated into it. I know FFmpeg supports pipe input but other than that I know basically nothing about it. I can see a lot of potential difficulties there like buffering.

Actually, though, that does make me think of a different option. I seem to recall that ffdshow can decode CamStudio Lossless using libavcodec so there's definitely FFmpeg support of some kind. That leads me to believe there's probably encoding support as well.

Well that's it. Now I'm on a mission to work this out. Damn you mouser!  :P

General Software Discussion / Re: Swapping Out Software?
« on: July 18, 2013, 10:40 AM »
If Adobe doesn't amend its cloud-only subscription policy I'll be switching from Creative Suite to the first competitor to include the features that I want (I suspect that will take a while to occur).
-cranioscopical (July 18, 2013, 08:45 AM)
The good news is that Adobe's decision makes it much more likely for that competition to emerge. Let's face it, some of the features you get in a program like Photoshop are just flat out unrivaled. I can't pay what it costs and couldn't justify it in any case but as a GIMP user I'm insanely jealous of some of the things even someone with my limited skills can do with it. They could sell it for cheaper but it would cost so much to develop something comparable it's possible nobody else could.

But now Adobe has created a new opportunity for clearly inferior competitors based on a stupid policy that they mistakenly think is a feature. It's not. Features are what your customers want. So now somebody else can get their foot in the door and steal some of Adobe's customers with a product that's just good enough. It won't be good enough for the hardcore Photoshop users but it will be good enough to take some percentage. That, in turn, will produce an influx of revenue which can be used to accelerate the development process and eventually it will be good enough for more Adobe customers and then all bets are off.

This, in a nutshell, is the never ending cycle of business.

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