Category: Design

Fix the Photoshop Clipboard (All Versions)

Situation #1: You are taking a series of screenshots and pasting them into Photoshop. Suddenly, you keep getting the same image when you paste, despite taking updated screenshots.

Situation #2: You copy an image to the clipboard from your browser, paste it into Photoshop, and all subsequent paste operations from your browser result in the same damn image.

Situation #3: You are working in Photoshop, and try to paste an image from any external program, and end up getting something you copied in Photoshop earlier.

What do these situations have in common (other than being annoying)? They're all instances of Photoshop's clipboard thinking it's smarter than you.

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Adobe Photoshop CS Under Windows 7

I installed Photoshop CS on my home machine because Photoshop CS4 runs like a dog, even on my quad-core machine beast. I do still use the rest of the CS4 applications, because their enhancements are actually worth using. But, that's a whole different story...

Anyway, if for some reason you're using Photoshop CS in Windows 7, you might find your layer dragging going quite slowly, and things generally not working at full speed.

To fix this, go to your Photoshop shortcut and right-click it. Select Properties, then the Compatibility tab. Check the box marked "Disable desktop composition" and press OK. When you start Photoshop, Windows will go into "Basic" color mode, which looks like crap, but your Photoshop will now run smooth as silk.

Old-school.

On a side note, I also had to do this for 3ds max 9. I don't remember the exact issue, but it also required old-school access to the screen drawing.

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New Must-Have iPad Peripheral

Based on a conversation with a buddy this morning:

Michael: (after reading this iPad review) could you imagine walking into someone's house where they used their ipad as a $500 picture frame, all the time? I think I'd punch them in the face
Steve: I wouldn't - I would sell them a iPad stylus for $100 (it would be a standard #2 pencil)
Michael: LOL ...be sure to put shiny black plastic on it
Steve: $150 for for the "distressed" stylus (chewed up pencil)

The iStylus

iDistressed: Only $149.99!

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Dual Monitors:Wallpaper Techniques

You've just gotten your computer set up with dual monitors. You're sporting the true sea of information, baby! Only problem is, you don't want to see the same crappy image on both:

Double your wallpaper, halve your coolness.

Double your wallpaper, halve your coolness.

...and you definitely don't want to stretch a wallpaper intended for a single monitor onto two.

Stretching the desktop image is for losers, not designers.

Stretching the desktop image is for losers, not designers.

I'll present a few different ways of getting your monitors to show independent pictures on each desktop, and as a bonus, you will learn how to span a single dual monitor wallpaper onto dual monitors. Then you can use the high-quality dual monitor wallpapers I've created for you.

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Adobe CS4 Issues and Mini-Review

Adobe has decided to make more of a commitment to customer support. They are teaming up with a global service provider, so I assume that means outsourced phone support. The best place to take your change requests is the Adobe Feature Request form.

This is a really, really long post. It's long both because the Adobe Creative Suite 4 is vast and encompasses many software packages, but also because I found a great deal of things to complain about. While complaining is nothing new for me, finding this many problems with a mature software product is.

In this post, first I will detail the problems I encountered using the CS4 products, some action items for Adobe, state a few positives, and an overall conclusion. I do not intend to review all of the new features (which are many).

Note that this post is about the Windows version. I believe many of these issues are not present on a Mac system, but I can't make any assumptions, because I do not own a Mac, nor have I used CS4 on a Mac.

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Block Windows Live Messenger Ads

All your ads are belong to us

All your ads are belong to us

Earlier, we learned how to block ads at the OS level. Blocking ads through the browser is awesome, but advertising these days is all about making inroads to the desktop. Even though Microsoft claims that their business is software, Live Messenger seems to be an ad vehicle. I quickly became tired of video ads constantly showing up in Live Messenger (especially those insipid Tru dating site ads) that would play as soon as the cursor went over them, so I resolved to do something about it. I fired up Fiddler, a proxy that allows you to view HTTP traffic. I saw several random requests for rad.msn.com, and upon further examination saw that it was serving ad content, which depending on the content type, would be handled appropriately by Live Messenger's ad box.

I added rad.msn.com to my hosts file, and the ads were now blocked. Since there was now a blank box, I decided to go a step further and replace the image. I tried this before with a program that patched the ad out of the executable, but this isn't a long-term solution, since any software update will require waiting on a new version of the patcher, and a subsequent re-patching. If I just serve a different image up, it's fairly future-proof because Messenger is one the wiser. No matter what subdirectory or file is being requested by Messenger, this script will always throw back the custom image.

Using the index.php file we ended up with on our last ad-blocking adventure, we will add the following before the html is sent to the browser:

// if it's live messenger, spit out an image and exit
if ($host == 'rad.msn.com') {
$filename = 'false-ad.jpg';
if (file_exists($filename)) {
$handle = fopen($filename, "r");
$contents = fread($handle, filesize($filename));
header("Content-type: image/jpeg");
echo $contents;
}
exit();
}

The exit() is added so we can bail out early after serving my custom image, and not serve up the normal adblock page (that I see in my browsers). The image size for the Live Messenger ad is 231x60 pixels.

I opted for an image that would blend in with the skin I use for Live Messenger, but wasn't just a "blank space here" image. The skin shown is Oil Slick for Messenger Plus! Live.

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