Microsoft and Adobe: Productivity and Platforms Companies Partner Closely

At Adobe’s Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles on October 6, officials announced a host of updates across their entire product line, and several new creative-focused apps and SDK.

One of the several themes in the conference was Adobe working hard to make their products work across all devices. In making this point, they demonstrated several products using iPhone, iPad and Surface Pro 3. The demo on Surface Pro 3 showed the full Illustrator application, not a scaled down touch app, working very well with touch and stylus while keeping the mouse functionality intact.

In a surprise, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella joined in the keynote, and in his company, Adobe demonstrated how well their applications worked with touch, vision and speech on a Surface Pro 3. The final demo was on a Perceptive Pixel display where they were able to show how multiple people can physically collaborate and work on a digital product together. This includes multi-hand, multi-touch manipulation of information on the large display.

Nadella’s presence was to drive home the point that Adobe is committed to making their software work on a variety of devices, enabling the creative professionals to be unshackled from the physical hardware they are working on, including 2-in-1 devices like Surface as well as large displays like the Perceptive Pixels. Narayen also made the point that Adobe wants to make sure their software works well by partnering with hardware and software makers and especially working very closely with companies like Microsoft.

Satya Nadells and Shantanu Narayen at Adobe MAX
Satya Nadells and Shantanu Narayen at Adobe MAX

From Microsoft’s perspective, Nadella focused on his four key mantras: mobile-first and cloud-first mentality in building software, along with the core philosophy at Microsoft which is to be the platform maker upon which others build as well as being at the forefront of productivity. For the audience at Adobe MAX, Nadella talked about how creative professionals can build upon the platform created by Adobe with enhanced productivity that a device like Surface Pro 3 provides in the form of native support of touch screen and stylus.

Adobe Illustrator on Surface Pro 3
Adobe Illustrator on Surface Pro 3
Adobe Photoshop on Surface Pro 3
Adobe Photoshop on Surface Pro 3

 

The collaboration between Microsoft and Adobe is very interesting because for the longest time, it seemed like Adobe would be a good acquisition target for Microsoft which builds platforms for developers and IT pros but lack a suite for the creative folks. However, it does seem like the two companies are ok working very closely with each other (building Adobe Flash into Metro Internet Explorer was another unrelated collaboration) rather than be part of one company. Perhaps Microsoft realized that Adobe is the leader across a variety of software catered to creative professionals and it is best to court them and work closely with them.

Finally, in an Oprah moment, Nadella announced that all the attendees at Adobe MAX would be receiving a Surface Pro 3 along with Office 365 which includes 1TB of cloud storage. Surprisingly, this announcement received a standing ovation!

Adobe Updates Photoshop and Illustrator CS6 with Retina Display

Today, Adobe has updated both Photoshop CS6 and Illustrator CS6 for the Retina displays found on Apple’s latest MacBook Pro models.

With this update, customers can see more detail in images, text, and in the Illustrator user interface when working on high-resolution displays, including the new Retina display available on MacBook Pro. The HiDPI feature in Illustrator is currently only available on Mac OS. It is expected to be available in the future on additional operating systems.

The updates are available for both Creative Cloud subscribers and owners with standalone licenses.

Zero-day Adobe Reader Exploit Being Sold in the Black Market

Adobe Reader is notorious for having security flaws and these flaws are always exploited eventually. By now, you might have lost count of the number of times exploits have been discovered for Adobe’s PDF reader. However, what is interesting this time is that this unknown security flaw has made its way to the black-market and is selling at a considerably high price. This is not a hacker group trying to get some adrenaline flowing from hacking Adobe Reader. This qualifies for organized crime, and Adobe has no clue of what it can do to curb this problem.

adobe-reader-security-flaw

The research on this exploit has been carried out by Group-IB. Group-IB is based off Moscow, and is the country’s leading computer security-company. A spokesperson for Adobe, Wiebke Lips, says,

Adobe will reach out to Group-IB. But without additional details, there is nothing we can do, unfortunately— beyond continuing to monitor the threat landscape and working with our partners in the security community, as always.

Adobe was not contacted by Group-IB over this exploit and the exploit is rumored to sell in the black market at $50,000. This is a significant blow for Adobe, as it introduced a sandbox for Reader X. The sandbox was supposed to hold ground against unknown exploit. However, if this exploit really is working, the sandbox has obviously failed and has provided a false sense of security until now.

The exploit works on Microsoft Windows, and starts only after the user closes his web-browser or Reader application. For now, it would be safer to switch to an alternative to Adobe Reader.

Adobe Reports Q3 FY12 Earnings

Adobe reported its earnings for the third quarter of 2012, with revenue increasing to $1.08 billion, up 7% year-over-year. It reported an operating profit of nearly $278 million, and a net income of $201 million.

Its cash reserves increased to $1.16 billion, while its short term investments increased to $2.08 billion. Its operating cash flow for the quarter was $263 million.

Creative Cloud paid subscription growth in the third quarter was very encouraging, with the total user base growing to nearly 200,000 by the end. Its digital marketing suite also recorded nearly 40% year-over-year growth.

Shantanu Narayen, president and CEO of Adobe, said:

“Customers globally are adopting our new Creative Cloud subscription offering more quickly than we projected. We are the leader in the fast-growing Digital Marketing category with 40 percent year-over-year Digital Marketing Suite revenue growth this quarter.”

Adobe also projected revenue for the next quarter in the same range of $1.075 billion to $1.125 billion.

via Adobe Q3FY12 Earnings

Patch Tuesday: Microsoft and Adobe Releases Critical Patches

It’s that day of the month when you have to fire up Windows Update and install all of those very precious security updates. Both Microsoft and Adobe has released a number of updates which are available for download right now.

The new updates consists of nine bulletins, out of which five updates are rated critical, the highest severity rating. Rest of the updates are rated important by Microsoft. These updates fix 26 vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows, Internet Explorer, Exchange Server, SQL Server, Server Software, Developer Tools, and Office. You can either use Windows Update or download the updates from Download Center. If you have automatic updates enabled (as you should), you will probably have these installed already.

Adobe on the other hand has released three security bulletins for Reader, Acrobat, Shockwave and Flash. The updates for Adobe and Acrobat fix about 20 vulnerabilities for both Windows and Mac OS X versions of their software. The Flash Player update, which is touted as the most important among the updates, fixes vulnerability (CVE-2012-1535) which according to Adobe has been used in the wild in a limited manner. The update for Shockwave Player addresses five memory corruption vulnerabilities that could lead to code execution.

For more information on the updates from Microsoft, visit MSRC . To download updates for Adobe products, visit their security bulletins and advisories section.

Make sure to have these updates installed on your PC as soon as possible, for better protection from online threats.

Adobe Hits Undo on TIFF Vulnerability Issue, Will Release Security Fix for CS5 After All

Until a few days ago, Adobe had decided not to fix one of its security vulnerabilities. Instead, it tried pushing the next release of its Creative Studio, CS6 as a solution to a critical security issue. This was wrong on multiple levels and was downright unacceptable. The intellectuals and Adobe received thumbs down for this decision. Finally seeing the wrong it has done, now Adobe has decided to retract its decision, and has announced that it is releasing a security fix for the CS5 after all.

Adobe is notorious for having security vulnerability in its products. For a company that is known for having poor security and releasing numerous fixes every few days, Adobe should take extra care when handling matters like these. Now that Adobe has come out in support of a security fix, it is being given the benefit of doubt by The Verge.

The confusion seemingly came from the original wording of the Adobe product security bulletin, which stated, “Adobe Photoshop CS6 addresses these vulnerabilities” without mentioning that a security patch for older versions was being worked on.

However, the security fix is not a complete one. Adobe is supposed to support all versions of its Creative Suite. However, the fix is appearing only on the CS5 for now. This means, CS4, which is also a supported version still remains vulnerable. This lax attitude from Adobe in time when hacks are the order of the day is appalling.

Adobe Photoshop: Need a Security Fix? Upgrade to a Later Version and Don’t Forget to Pay for It!

Adobe has posted a security bulletin for Adobe Photoshop recently, where it addressed a security vulnerability regarding TFF files. The vulnerability allows arbitrary code execution resulting in a system wide control for a cracker. This vulnerability affects all versions of Photoshop prior to and including CS5, on both Windows and Mac.

The vulnerability is specified on Symantec’s Security Focus as:

Adobe Photoshop is prone to a use-after-free memory-corruption vulnerability.
Attackers may exploit this issue to execute arbitrary code in the context of the user running the affected application.
Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 (version 12.1) is vulnerable; other versions may also be affected.

The only solution, which in reality is a non-solution, is to update to Adobe Photoshop CS6 and just in case you were wondering, no, it will not come for free if you already have CS5. With this shoddy decision, Adobe is creating a new trend in the world of security fixes, where a later paid version can be called as a fix for an existing vulnerability in an earlier version. In a way, it will force users to upgrade and while they are at it, Adobe will earn some free cash out of its own fault.

Adobe has released Adobe Photoshop CS6, which addresses these vulnerabilities. For users who cannot upgrade to Adobe Photoshop CS6, Adobe recommends users follow security best practices and exercise caution when opening files from unknown or untrusted sources.

Whenever we install software, we agree to an EULA. The same EULA statement has liability provisions as well, and now that Adobe is (probably) psych testing its users for this new liability based business model, someone might just go ahead and file a class action lawsuit in the coming days.

If you want to see this vulnerability in action, proof-of-concept apps are available at this page.

(Via: Slashdot)

Adobe Photoshop CS6 Beta Available for Free Download with All Features

Adobe has released the beta version of the most eagerly awaited photo editing tool – Photoshop CS6. The preview version of the upcoming PS CS6 is now available for free download on the official Adobe Labs site. The final version will go on sale later this year for $700 for new users and $200 upgrade fee for existing users.

The beta version of Photoshop CS6 unveils a fully redesigned user interface and sports several new features and fun tools including the iris blur and title shift. Adobe says that the new Photoshop CS6 sports over 60 percent new features than the CS5 including 65 user-requested features such as a Paste Lorem Ipsum option to fill up text blocks.

The most striking feature in the Photoshop CS6 is the improved Content-Aware tool. With the new content-aware tool, you can seamlessly move or remove objects from an image. The new feature includes a whole lot of improvements to the CS5 Content-Aware technology.

Adobe Photoshop CS6 Beta

Bryan O’Neil Hughes, Senior Project Manager of Photoshop, tells Wired that Adobe’s focus in this release has been on making Photoshop more productive – “We’ve been fine-tuning workflows,” Hughes says, “not just adding, adding, adding. There’s a lot of working with what we’ve got and making sure it works as best it can.”

Here are some of the features (full list) available in the Adobe Photoshop CS6 –

Brushes

  • HUD brush resize and hardness can now change opacity
  • Increase brush size to 5000px
  • Change color dynamics to per stroke instead of per tip (user option for old behavior)
  • Brightness/contrast slider for textures when painting
  • Brush projection for static tips
  • Brush cursor reflects brush dynamics for round and captured tips

File formats

  • Read common stereo image pair formats (JPS, PNS) Allow for more bit depths in TIFF files
  • Read BIGTIFF format
  • Give the user choices regarding how they want transparency treated in OpenEXR on file open

Layers

  • Add a contextual menu item that deletes a layer effect not just disables it
  • Add dither options to Layer Styles for Gradient Overlay and Gradient Stroke
  • Allow 00 or Shift 00 to work when setting layer/fill opacity (previously no way to get 0%)
  • Add bicubic sharper & bicubic smoother options when free transforming layers
  • Allow changing of blend modes for multiple layers at once
  • Multiple layers locking and allows changing color labels to multiple layers at once
  • Layer tooltips to include layer name (if defined)
  • Show blend if/Blending Effects badge on layer
  • Tab goes to next layer on inline layer rename, SHIFT + TAB goes to previous
  • New command to raster layer effect into layer, merging the selected layers into themselves
  • Reorder effects in the layers palette to match the Z-­­order style/blend mode (bottom most effects in terms of blending order, drop shadow is below the other effects

SDK

  • Add the ability to return an array of guides in a document from the scripting SDK
  • Add ability to access tool name associated with the tool preset name via scripting
  • Selections
  • Make the marquee, lasso, and mask panel feather values support decimal places like the feather dialog
  • Remember feather radius when showing dialog for selection from a path

Download Adobe Photoshop CS6 for Free

The Photoshop CS6 beta is available to free download for both PCs and MACs, and you will not require a serial number to install the product. All you need to do is select the “Try. I want to try Adobe Photoshop CS6 for a limited time” option in the welcome screen when you start the installation process.

The download is around 1GB in size and comes with all the features in the Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CS6 Extended. The (minimum) required system configuration for PC is 2GHz or faster processor with 1GB of RAM, and a multicore Intel processor also with 1GB of RAM for Mac.

“Critical” Adobe Flash Player Vulnerabilities Found by Google’s Security Team

Adobe has released an update to its Adobe Flash and Shockwave Player, as there were critical vulnerabilities found in both the products. The vulnerabilities were found by two Google’s security team members and reported the same to the Adobe.

According to the advisory from Adobe, Google’s Tavis Ormandy and Fermin J. Serna found the integer error and a memory corruption vulnerability, which could have been used by hackers to take advantage of it and completely control the computers that are affected by it.Adobe Flash Player

Adobe has rated these vulnerabilities as “critical,” and has fixed the bugs with an update for Windows, Mac, Linux and Solaris OS users. The update comes with the priority rating 2, and urges users to apply the update within the next 30 days.  According to the definition of “Priority 2″ given by Adobe, the update completely resolves the issues that caused the product to pose significant risk, and currently there no known exploits.

The two vulnerabilities found are –

CVE-2012-0768 is a memory corruption vulnerability that could lead to remote code execution by exploiting a flaw in Matrix3D.

CVE-2012-0769 is an information disclosure vulnerability as a result of integer errors in Flash Player.

Vulnerabilities are rated “critical” when the product poses a risk to the user’s computer, and if it is exploited, it would allow hackers to run malicious native-code to execute on the user’s system without the users being aware of.

The vulnerability is addressed to Adobe Player 11.1.102.62 and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Solaris, Adobe Flash Player 11.1.115.6 and earlier versions for Android 4.x, and Adobe Flash Player 11.1.111.6 and earlier versions for Android 3.x and 2.x.

Adobe recommends users of Flash Player 11.1.102.62 and earlier versions to update to Flash Player 11.1.102.63, and users of Flash Player 11.1.115.6 and earlier versions on Android 4.x, should update to Flash Player 11.1.115.7. Android 3.x users are asked to update the Flash Player on their device to Flash Player 11.1.111.7.

Windows users can check the current version of the Adobe Flash Player installed on their system by right-clicking on any Flash content. The version details will be displayed at the bottom of the menu. Android users on the other hand can go to Settings > Applications > Manage Applications > Adobe Flash Player x.x to check the current running version.

Download the latest Adobe Flash Player 11.1.102.63 from here. Android users can download the latest version from the Android Marketplace from here.

Adobe Photoshop Touch for iPad 2 Released

Adobe has officially launched Adobe Photoshop Touch for iPad 2, which was pulled yesterday since it was scheduled for a Monday, February 27th launch. Last October, Adobe had first announced the product, alongside 5 other upcoming tablet applications. This app is the flagship app from the company.

Photoshop for iPad 2

The app is described as a tool to “let you quickly combine images, apply professional effects, share the results with friends and family through social networking sites like Facebook, and more”. Adobe Photoshop Touch for iPad 2 is available for $9.99 in the US and is only compatible with the iPad 2. Adobe Photoshop for Touch can be download via the App Store here.

Adobe has been exploring the tablet market by entering onto the iPad and other tablets with a series of applications. However, they have yet to match the capabilities of the desktop version of Adobe’s key software products. The company’s initial goal for the iPad was to explore how the device might be used as an auxiliary input for the desktop version at first, but now the company has expanded to including some image editing features from Photoshop. MacStories has a fantastic review of the app.

Clearly, the iPad is just for “content consumption” and not content creation.