Signs of the Times - July 2013 - (Page 14)

TECHNOLOGY UPDATE Darek Johnson is ST’s Senior Technology Editor/Analyst. Email him at By Darek Johnson Adobe’s Creative Cloud – a Lifeline Grab? Clouds, big-data and corporate panache step into the light. A person earning $45,000 a year would need 22,000 years to earn $1 billion. – At a top-secret, data U.S. government Utah – Wired time when the is building a huge, center in remote magazine calls it the country’s biggest spy center – and news headlines say “big-data” systems are seriously recording and influencing our lives, and Google, our telephone companies and God knows who else are selling our personal information to unidentified marketers – The LA Times and other news sources report that Apple, an upright technology innovator, has replied to a Congressional investigation for tax evasion. We’ve also learned that Adobe Systems Inc., is flexing its corporate muscles by requiring its users to web-contract – subscribe – to its online-fed (and monitored) Creative Cloud systems, or walk. Are the once-pleasant, but now mega-huge, tech corporations becoming markedly aggressive? Is “corporate panache” the right phrase? Is “swagger” a better word? Some think either or both. One web-based petition site – think elfin young David against tree-sized Goliath – currently displays an anti-swagger, anti-Adobe Creative Cloud petition. To date, it has gained some 2,000 signatures per day. I’ll have more about this in a minute. In fairness, however, know that abundant, positive information resides on Adobe’s website – www.adobe. com/creativecloud. Creative Cloud in brief Creative Cloud membership provides users access to the latest versions of all the Adobe professional, creative, desktop applications. It’s available for individuals, teams, businesses, government agencies and educational institutions. With membership, you receive new features and upgrades as they arrive. Here are some highlights: • Creative Cloud desktop applications download directly to your computer, once you agree to Adobe’s contract. You can also use the apps offline. • Adobe said its best prices result with an annual enrollment, but you can choose a month-to-month plan. You may also mix and match applications. • Your files remain on your local hard drive. You can also file them in the provided Creative Cloud storage (up to 2 GB is free). If you cancel your paid membership, and have Adobe-stored cloud files in excess of 2 GB, you have 90 days to transfer them or lose the files. • The rule is one membership per Adobe ID, but you can purchase team memberships. 14 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / JULY 2013 / Adobe motives Why is Adobe moving from boxed software to online subscriptions? The most obvious answer is it’s truly a better system – cheaper, easier on the environment and easier to upgrade. Even better, subscription service will provide the corporation a continuous source of cash inflow. Constant and abundant cashflow is every businessperson’s dream. Another, less-lauded reason is subscription systems typically bind the user to the product. Such feed-trough models make users less apt to change. Further contemplation might analyze the future of Adobe’s classic software – Photoshop, Illustrator and their elemental cousins – to study how much longer the firm could continue its position as the mainstream seller of creative software products and upgrades. In truth, all tool-based software sales reach a bellcurve peak, and then subsequently decline, to the point where the product has saturated the user base and salable upgrades become unnecessary commodities – bells and whistles. At this point, product analysts realize users are comfortable with their software and aren’t wildly interested in upgrades. It’s the dreaded “I have everything I want” level and, once this is reached, software sales plummet. In response, the mother firms search for new products – the addition of workflow, maintenance, administrative and plug-in software, for example. However, these (less profitable) items eventually reach saturation and, without new, sales-generating products, a firm’s once-grandiose lifestyle can dwindle to shopping-mall offices. Surely, Adobe’s Zen masters have seen this possibility; thus, although many of its reasons are valid, Adobe’s prime decision to compel paid subscriptions may be a wellexecuted – and insightful – grab for a cashflow lifeline. The anti-Adobe petition Derek Schoffstall of Harrisburg, PA initiated an anti-Adobe Cloud petition at In part, he said, “You should support this petition because Adobe is making its already expensive products even more expensive in the long run. Adobe is robbing small business, freelancers and the average consumer. They don’t understand that every company is a not multi-national, multi-billion-dollar corporation that has an infinite amount of resources.” His comments aren’t quite accurate, although they’re within the target circle. Big-data clouds Cloud systems are the fraternal twin of “big data” systems, which dwell in enormous storage banks that have

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - July 2013

Signs of the Times - July 2013
ST Update
Technology Update
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Commercial
Lighting Techniques
The Moving Message
Technology Review
Technology Review
Design Matters
New Products
Vehicle Graphics Contest Entry Form
Public Displays of Affection
Electric-Sign Company 1 on 1’s
Screenprinting for Signmakers
A Century of Going Places
Industry News
Advertising index
Editorially speaking

Signs of the Times - July 2013