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Complete IT Blog                              

Making upgrades easy

Seth Reinhardt - Tuesday, September 28, 2010

You can do incredible things with your computer, but can your computer keep up with you? An upgrade could be just the kick in the pants your PC needs.

Get the most out of your desktop or laptop.

One of the best things about running a desktop PC is that when it starts to struggle to keep up with what you want to do with it, or your needs change, it is easy to upgrade without starting from scratch! The hardest part is choosing what hardware is going to give you the biggest benefit in what you want to do.

Components like RAM, hard-disks, optical drives and graphics cards can be changed simply and affordably. Best of all, most of them can be changed independently of each other and won’t require a fresh install of your operating system.

If you’re a gamer, or planning on becoming one, a quick, easy and affordable graphics card upgrade can be all that you need to run games smoothly and with all the eye-candy turned up. If you are getting into Photoshop or Lightroom, working with big Excel or Word documents, or managing a sizable Access database, a RAM upgrade could make a big difference to your productivity.

Even your CPU and motherboard can be easily upgraded. Think of them as the platform on which everything else is built. They just have more influence on the other parts in the system and so changing them may necessitate other hardware upgrades, like new RAM or a new graphics card. They do, however, offer the most general-use speed, as well as substantial performance upgrades for some applications.

Complete IT offers a computer upgrade service in which we will evaluate your computer and your specific needs and then advise on what components will give you the most benefit and whether or not it would be more cost-effective to do a full rebuild. We will then procure the hardware for you, perform all necessary backup, installation and setup procedures and make sure everything is running its best before we leave.

Call Complete IT on 1300 732 850, or head to our contact page here, and we’ll help you get the most out of your desktop or laptop. Get the most out of your upgrade and make it easy and stress-free with Complete IT.

If prefer the DIY approach to PC upgrading, head to our online store for great prices, fast, secure shipping and premium service.

 

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Adobe releases security advisory for Flash Player

Paul Risbey - Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Yesterday (13/09/2010) Adobe released a security advisory warning of a vulnerability in Adobe Flash Player 10.1.82.76 and earlier for Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris and Flash Player 10.1.92.10 for Android. The same vulnerability affects Adobe Reader 9.3.4 and earlier for Windows, Mac and UNIX and Acrobat 9.3.4 and earlier for Windows and Mac.

Adobe Flash logo

The vulnerability can potentially cause a crash and allow an attacker control over an affected system. Although Adobe has reports of the vulnerability being exploited in installs of Flash Player running on Windows, it has not yet seen evidence of attacks against Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat.

Fixes for the issue are due for the Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris and Android versions of Adobe Flash Player during the week of September 27th, with patches for the affected versions of Adobe Reader 9.3.4 and Adobe Acrobat 9.3.4 following during the week of October 4th.

Via Techspot

Hit this link to read Adobe's security advisory

 

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I fell in love with Adobe Lightroom 3

Seth Reinhardt - Friday, September 10, 2010

I recently took my trusty Canon 5D and the brilliant and astoundingly affordable Canon 50mm f/1.8 for a family adventure up the coast. This means that I have returned with several million photographs.

Which presents me with a problem.

I know that there are some magnificent shots nestled within this sea of digital imagery, but sorting through them is looking to be a herculean task.

And that is why I have Lightroom 3 installed. I knew it was good, but this is my first chance to really get stuck into some heavy work with it. I imported my latest batch of images into my Lightroom database, sorted them by date and tagged them with the names of the events at which they were captured. The result is a well organised, searchable and actionable database of images.

Lightroom 3 originalLightroom 3 retro

From there it was incredibly easy to browse through my images; tagging, comparing and scrutinising them and flagging the ones that I want to go back to for further post-processing. There’s plenty of post-production grunt as well, whether you simply want to clean your images up a bit, add a little pop, or go for some more intensive image manipulation. And, thanks to Lightroom’s non-destructive editing, originals are kept intact and everything you do is stored in a history tab, complete with live-preview, that lets you jump around through the different stages of your editing.

You’ll have to head to Photoshop if you want to get deep into filters or chopping, but that’s ok - the two programs exist to satisfy different needs. Lightroom is like a digital darkroom: a tool for photographers; amateur, professional and everything in between, who want to build, maintain and use a database of images.

And that’s what I love about it. The image database that Lightroom builds is incredibly powerful. It has not only saved me a huge amount of time organising, processing and sorting my images, but it has brought out images that may have been lost in the crowd and exists as a fantastic tool for actively using my images in the future.

So often the images we capture digitally can become disposable or lost, but with Lightroom that won’t happen. It makes it so easy to find and use your images that they’ll never get left behind or lost in the crowd again. And for that I love it.

Head here to try it

Or head here to buy it

 

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Adobe Illustrator CS5: the best just got better

Seth Reinhardt - Wednesday, August 04, 2010

If you are looking for a vector based design environment, Illustrator CS5 is the best there is.

If you have been reading our coverage of Adobe’s suite of CS5 products, you may have noticed a trend toward evolution, rather than revolution. Products like Photoshop and Illustrator can achieve incredible results and the joy of CS5 is that it is now simpler, more elegant, more enjoyable and faster to get there.

One of the biggest boons I see in CS5 is the way in which the updates have evolved the creative palettes of intermediate and even beginner users by making tools not only more useful, but more usable. For professionals, the workflow improvements, tool improvements and new functionalities are fantastic, but in a world where it is so easy to get a business up and running online, more usable tools put fantastic results within the grasp of anyone adventurous enough to give it a go. And that’s awesome!

Adobe Illustrator CS5

On to Illustrator CS5 and we find ourselves with some nifty new tools to play with, along with plenty of improvements to the existing feature set. Adobe’s new perspective tools; Perspective Grid and Perspective Selection, are great additions to Illustrator’s functionality. They automate perspective shifts and constraints based on a definable perspective grid and make working with perspective a breeze.

Another big addition is variable-width strokes via the Width tool. This allows you to easily and dynamically manipulate the width of a stroke by plotting points along an existing path. If you like your particular settings, or know you will need to use that stroke frequently in the future, just save it as a profile!

The Shape Builder tool is a huge improvement to the way you create art in Illustrator. Previously, the Pathfinder or Live Paint functions were required when working with multiple objects or shapes. In CS5, the addition of the Shape Builder simplifies workflows when working with and unifying objects by providing a simple and intuitive interface for grouping multiple objects into one shape.

Drawing gets a sizable upgrade in Illustrator CS5, with the addition of the Bristle Brush as well as Draw Normal, Draw Inside and Draw Behind modes. Draw Inside and Draw Behind modes automatically constrain your designing within or behind, a selected object and can even be applied to live text. The Bristle Brush tool is designed to simulate the bristles on a physical brush and brings the painterly brush effects usually found in Photoshop to Illustrator and vector graphics.  As it is still vector-based, the Bristle Brush tool can be applied to paths and shapes and is a great addition for designers and those who like to draw within Illustrator.

Add to these new features the countless and nuanced updates to the existing toolset, conveniences and workflow improvements and you have a really strong product. If you work with Illustrator every day, Illustrator CS5’s new features and improved workflow are going to save you time and frustration and allow you to do better work with less frustration. For newcomers, the improved logic and usability of the tools in Illustrator CS5, as well as the new functionality, make it the best entry point yet.

Buy Adobe Illustrator CS5 from our online store here

Check out some of our other CS5 coverage:

 

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Adobe InDesign CS5 is just what you need, only faster and more friendly

Seth Reinhardt - Friday, July 30, 2010

Photoshop and Lightroom aren’t the only Adobe products receiving shiny new updates; InDesign CS5 is out with some fantastic changes that will have you working faster, better and not nearly so hard (on your print and digital publishing at least).

InDesign is Adobe’s print and digital publishing software. Its update to CS5 is not only much more comprehensive and useful than its previous update to CS4, which faltered in comparison to long-running competitor QuarkXPress; it is one of the biggest updates of the entire CS5 range. The big news this time around is workflow and Adobe has done a lot to make working in InDesign CS5 simpler, more intuitive, more collaborative and more enjoyable. So it’s easier than ever to do great work!

Text frames and paragraphs can now span multiple columns and column layouts are more easily variable, providing a much more powerful and flexible toolset for managing text than in previous versions of InDesign. Simplified object selection and editing make it easier than ever to import, crop, position and caption content and I am sure many long-time InDesign users will be delighted to hear that multiple page sizes are now possible in one document, with master page support.

The redesigned and much more user-friendly Layers panel now works similarly to the Layers panels in Illustrator or Photoshop and is a massive improvement, as is the implementation of Adobe’s Mini Bridge that makes managing content a breeze.

Collaboration on documents has also become more efficient and effective with the integration of Adobe CS Review, as well as the ability to track text changes in a process much like Word’s Track Changes feature.

InDesign’s interactive content features have been improved as well. Transitions, hyperlinks and other basic Flash authoring tools are all available seamlessly within InDesign CS5 and easily integrated with Flash Professional for further editing. This update fills in a significant feature gap that existed in InDesign CS4.

InDesign’s update to CS5 is like a coming-of-age. What was once clunky and occasionally frustrating has become simplified, fast, intuitive and a pleasure to use. If you have to publish for print or digital as part of your business, and these days who doesn’t, InDesign CS5 is an excellent choice – especially if you are already using an older version and can go for a cheaper upgrade license.

Buy InDesign CS5 for both Windows and Mac from our online store here  

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Photoshop CS5’s Edge Detection is fast, simple and powerful

Seth Reinhardt - Thursday, July 08, 2010

Hopefully you are already enjoying Content-Aware Fill and Profile-Based Lens Correction in Photoshop CS5, but if you still aren’t sold on CS5 as a worthy software upgrade, have a look at the new Edge Detection feature.

Good Photoshop work often requires accurate selections and creating an accurate selection can be a difficult and time consuming task, especially when fine edges are involved. Have you ever tried to make an accurate selection of a person with wispy, fine hair? Not easy!

Automated selection tools have never really done a great job of selections like these. They are fine when it comes to hard edges and obvious lines, but as soon as they hit something complex, like a big curly afro, they come up very short.

Or at least they used to come up short, because Photoshop CS5’s new Edge Detection feature does a brilliant job of it.

Edge Detection is found in both the Refine Edge and Refine Mask dialogues. Just hit Select > Refine Edge and you will be presented with the Refine Edge dialogue. From here you can adjust the viewing mode, output, radius and edge of the edge detection. Tick the Smart Radius checkbox and Adobe’s algorithm makes a better calculation of what is a hard edge, what is a soft edge and what it should be selecting and what it should not. The default tool that you are given when in the Refine Edge dialogue is the Refine Radius tool, which allows you to paint over the edges of your selection to clean it up even further.

Edge Detection makes it possible to create a complex selection accurately, quickly and simply. I can see this as being a huge boon for small business operators who want to create professional looking images in-house. It should also be a great time-saver for professionals who work with Photoshop every day and a fantastic feature for amateurs and prosumers who want to take their image editing abilities to a new level.

Try Photoshop CS5 here

Buy Photoshop CS5 from Complete IT’s online store here

Have a look at a more in-depth presentation of Edge Detection from Terry White below:

 

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Photoshop CS5 updated to 12.0.1

Seth Reinhardt - Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Not content to rest on its laurels after dazzling us with powerful new features like content aware fill and working edge detection, Adobe has recently released its 12.0.1 update for Photoshop CS5 on both Mac and PC.

According to John Nack from Adobe, version 12.0.0 of Photoshop CS5 generates less than 10% of the crash reports generated by the equivalent version, 11.0.0, of Photoshop CS4. This means that Photoshop CS5 is more than 10 times as stable as CS4 was in its corresponding stage of development. Still, it is impossible to release perfect software, especially in a package as complex and powerful as Photoshop CS5 and that is where the patching process comes in.

Thankfully, patching software is now easier and faster than ever and updating your copy of Photoshop is as simple as opening Photoshop, going to the Help menu and selecting Updates.

update photoshop from help menu

I don't have Photoshop installed on this machine, but the process is the same.

Alternatively you can download the update directly from the Adobe website:

It is always a good idea to be properly backed-up before making system changes.

Please read on for Adobe’s full list of changes, via their blog at John Nack on Adobe:

The Adobe Photoshop 12.0.1 update addresses a number of high priority bugs with 64-bit Mac, Performance, User Interface, Type, Content-Aware Fill, HDR, 3D, Painting, GPU and Liquify. The most significant fixes in the Photoshop 12.0.1 update include the following:

  • A number of issues that could cause slow performance have been addressed.
  • Top crashers found in the field have been addressed.
  • 3D refractions, Ray Tracing and IBL workflows have been improved.
  • Out of memory error opening some TIFFs has been addressed.
  • A crash in Content-Aware Fill has been addressed.
  • Font related crashes have been addressed.
  • A number of user interface and workspace issues have been fixed.
  • A number of painting-related problems have been addressed, including video layer issues.

We also addressed several issues that were result of the major architectural changes on the Mac side in the move to Cocoa/64-bit:

  • Right-click correctly selects the layer clicked on in the context menu.
  • Right-click to bring up the brush picker displays the picker under the cursor on the correct monitor.
  • Slow performance when using the Liquify filter has been fixed.
  • An issue where menus become disabled has been fixed.
  • Scrolling speed using Apple Mighty and Magic Mouse mouse wheel has been improved.
  • Double-clicking the document title bar now correctly minimizes the document.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when generating font previews. Note: We continue working with Apple to address remaining issues related to fonts and font caches. For info on those issues, use the Troubleshooting Fonts in Photoshop CS5 tech doc here.
  • Fixed an issue with batch processes on open documents.
  • Droplets are now Intel-native to improve compatibility in 64-bit mode and to remove the requirement to run droplets using Rosetta.
  • Fixed an issue where a white pixel would show up on screen after invoking certain dialogs.

Windows-specific issues of note:

  • Fixed an issue running on older AMD processors that prevent Photoshop from launching. (Application failed to initialize properly (0xc000001d))

The team thanks everyone from the community who helped us identify issues and test several of the fixes prior to the 12.0.1 update being released.

Visit our online store to purchase Adobe Photoshop CS5

 

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Profile-based lens correction in Lightroom 3 is fantastic

Seth Reinhardt - Friday, June 25, 2010

After many months of public beta, Lightroom 3, Adobe’s photography workflow, management and processing software, has finally been released. And it’s getting a little Web 2.0 with a new user updatable lens profile database that will save you a ton of time with some powerful automatic image correction capabilities.

Adobe’s creative software tends to generate awesome communities who help each other out, provide tutorials, write plug-ins and generally add new creative and user friendly dimensions to the applications. So, in Lightroom 3, Adobe has included a user updatable database of different lenses, as well as a simple to use Lens Profile Creator. Allowing users to update the database was a vital decision because, where a single company would struggle, an active community will excel in providing accurate profiles for the countless and potentially obscure combinations of lenses and DSLRs that exist in the creative world.

So how will we use this database? Well, right now we will use it for automatic lens corrections. While there are some amazing lenses out there, they are not perfect and most will exhibit some degree of vignetting, chromatic aberration and lens distortion. Correcting these distortions can be time consuming and complex and that’s where Adobe’s profile-based lens correction comes in.

Profile-based lens correction debuted in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CS5 and has now made it into Lightroom 3. It can use the EXIF data from your digital photos to determine the camera body and lens you used to take the photo and then automatically correct for distortions like vignetting and barrel distortion, based on the particulars of your equipment. Of course, it is also possible to choose lens and body profiles specifically, or create and upload your own and then fine tune the various corrections in order to achieve your desired creative outcome.

Lightroom 3 lens correction

Credit: Adobe

This can be a huge time-saver as part of a professional workflow, but will also be a great help to amateurs who want to improve their post-processing and small-business users who want to get great shots of their product or business online or in their marketing quickly and affordably.

And then there’s all of Lightroom 3’s other great features, such as its improved performance, nondestructive editing, better colour, sharpness and noise reduction results and camera tethering.

Click here for Adobe’s Lens Profile Creator

Try Lightroom 3 here

Buy Lightoom 3 from Complete IT’s online store here

 

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Photoshop CS5's Content Aware Fill Impresses

Seth Reinhardt - Monday, May 31, 2010

Adobe’s new demo of Photoshop CS5’s content aware fill feature has the Internet abuzz with excitement and, of course, parody.


Have a look at this demo of content aware fill in Photoshop CS5. If you have ever worked with the automatic tools in older versions of Photoshop you will know that the results are not always what you would expect, or what you need, especially once you start attempting something a little complex. That is what makes this demo so amazing. Adobe skip straight to complex retouching and are able to pull it off seamlessly and quickly with almost no effort on the part of the retoucher.

These are jobs that would take a skilled and experienced retoucher half an hour, an hour or more and they are being done in minutes. The time and cost saving implications of this are incredible, not to mention the creative potential. For those of us who aren’t experts in Photoshop, tools like this enhance our creative palettes by extending the boundaries of what we can achieve within our skillsets. This is especially important for small businesses that need to be able to create high quality visual content - in the age of the Internet that is basically everyone - but can’t necessarily afford expensive experts.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Creative Suites are out now and are available for both MAC and PC from our online store here

Adobe Photoshop CS5

Adobe Creative Suites

Contact us for more information



 

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