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Friday, April 30, 2010

They're Here!

The CS5 products are now shipping.


So much to like about CS5

From Adobe's Installation and Licensing blog:

"Some of our biggest accomplishments are:
• A new licensing architecture. We should be much more robust and forgiving of error conditions. We also no longer have the same binding to the hardware that we had before for activation. Although we have the same activation policy in general, simple hardware changes like switching out a new hard drive shouldn't result in an increased activation count.
• A completely rewritten updater. After all the negative feedback on previous incarnations of AUM we've scrapped the implementation and built one that we hope will be much more appropriate for our users. Update checks are scheduled events. The patch technology is exactly the same as the installer technology and so should be more robust. And an entirely new UI to provide more information about the patch and more flexibility in managing patches is now available. The same sorts of configuration options as CS4 are available (i.e. you can turn the whole updater off if you want.)
• Addressed some of the top customer call generators for CS4. We've fixed 8 of the 10 top tech support call generators. The other two are outside the area of installation and licensing."

I know that for me the new licensing architecture is huge ... I can't tell you how many hard drive upgrades I've been through.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

32 bit or 64 bit?

How do you tell if your Mac is 32 bit or 64 bit. Some CS5 applications will require a 64 bit OS to run. For Mac's, click here to visit Apple's site and see if your Mac will be able to run the new software.


What's new in Photoshop CS5

Adobe Help docs are now live for Photoshop CS5. Check out this complete list of what's new.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Profile Based Lens Correction coming in ACR 6

Photographers will love the improvements in ACR 6, which is part of the upgrade to CS5. One of the really cool features will be profile based lens correction - handling things like geometric distortion and chromatic aberration. The key to the technology actually working - and when it does it's a real time saver - is having the correct profile for the lens (Canon, Nikon, Sigma, and etc.).

Before you ask, I don't think Adobe spent much time with the CCTV lens vendors to get profiles built of that 15 year old 4mm lens that you found at your crime scene.

That being said, if your lens is not found in the default load, not to worry. Adobe's Tom Hogarty writes, "A handful of lens profiles will be provided by default and a Lens Profile Creator Utility will be posted on Adobe Labs allowing photographers to create their own lens profiles using a simple procedure."


ACR 6 in action

Click here to see Adobe's Tom Hogarty walk through some of the cool new features in Adobe Camera Raw 6.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Digital Summit International - DSI Las Vegas

DSI: Digital Summit International is your chance to take part in the soon to be largest educational conference for investigators and law enforcement. More than just computers, DSI will provide opportunities to explore, learn, and work with technologies for all types of digital evidence - from video, audio, cell phones, and cameras, to data acquisition, image enhancement, digital asset management and beyond!

DSI is working with the Las Vegas Metro Police Department to bring cutting-edge technologies and informative educational presentations.

And ... guess what? I'll be there. I'm giving a presentation on fabricated dCCTV evidence as well as a workshop on Color Correcting in Photoshop (pick your version).

Yes, it's the next stop on the Forensic Photoshop road tour. I'm happy to be a part of this new and exciting event and I hope to see you there.


Monday, April 26, 2010

The future of the Adjustments panel

From Adobe's John Nack:

"The introduction of the Adjustments panel in Photoshop CS4 marked a big step in making the Photoshop interface less modal, more browsable, and geared toward non-destructiveness. Unfortunately, in moving from dialog-based forms of the adjustments to a non-modal panel, we traded away a couple of niceties:

In the dialog versions of Levels, Hue/Saturation, Color Balance, etc., the first available text field is either automatically selected (i.e. it has keyboard focus), or you can hit Tab to select it. From there you can hit Tab additional times to cycle through text fields.

In the dialog version of Curves, the eyedropper tool is automatically selected, so you can immediately click on the image to see/set points on the curve."

Read the rest of the post by clicking here.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Turning static Adobe Captivate slides into interactive Photoshop Layered files

From RJ Jacquez @ Adobe:

"One of the reasons why we included Photoshop in the Adobe eLearning Suite and in the Adobe Technical Communication Suite, instead of Illustrator, is because of the tight integration it has with Adobe Captivate, namely the ability to natively import .PSD files and preserve all the layers.

With Photoshop for example, it's really easy to edit a Captivate slide by removing unwanted areas, or moving pixels around and then bring the updated version back to Captivate. This is a fairly simple process.

However, what you may not know is that you can also use Photoshop to turn static Captivate slides into much more interactive "layered" slides".

Click here to access the video file.


Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 new feature tour is live

Check it out here: Premiere Pro CS5 Feature Tour.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

A (Sort of) Complete List of InDesign CS5 Videos

I love using InDesign. I've used it ever since it was first released. I really didn't like Quark, but was forced to use it as there was no competition at the time. Then Adobe came out with InDesign and it was all over for Quark in my shop.

Lately, I use InDesign for my contact sheets and often show off a few tips/tricks during training sessions. For folks that can't make it out to see the live show, here's a list of free InDesign training videos courtesy of Adobe TV.


Your CS5 Questions Answered

From Scott Kelby's blog:

"Q. As a photographer what is the most compelling reason to consider an upgrade from CS4 to CS5?
A. That’s a tough one, because it will be different for different photographers. I think a lot of folks will naturally want it to create HDR images, but I think the built-in masking features (using Refine Edge) is even more compelling for most photographers. Content aware fill is big (and it works amazingly well), but then the Noise Reduction in Camera Raw is just insane, so it’s a tough call to make. Luckily, any one of those is worth the upgrade alone, so if you get all four, this is an easy decision for a lot of photographers.

Q. I still have Photoshop CS3 Extended. Can I upgrade to CS5 Extended or do I have to buy the full version?
A. You can upgrade from CS3 Extended directly to CS5 Extended."

Read the whole post by clicking here.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Just upgraded to CS4, and wondering about CS5?

From Adobe's John Nack:

"In case you recently bought CS4 and wonder whether you qualify for a free upgrade to CS5, you might want to consult the Post-Announce Upgrade Frequently Asked Questions document on Adobe.com, or simply call Customer Service (1-800-833-6687 in the US)."


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How to Triage Computer Evidence

"If you process digital evidence on a day-to-day basis, chances are those days are booked up for weeks to come. How long, on average, does it take your team to analyze the data in a new case? Security, law enforcement, and corporate computer-forensics departments are stretched beyond their resources; reported backlogs of digital evidence vary but they are often in the eight- to 12-month range or more.

Take a quick glance at why these backlogs exist, and it becomes obvious that things will not get better by simply doing more of the same. The rapid growth of digital devices is readily apparent as netbooks, smart phones, and flash drives have joined desktop computers and laptops as standard computing fare. Underneath the plastic and metal bits is the true, less discernible reason for the backlog scramble: the storage capacity of these devices has grown exponentially. Traditionally, the more storage capacity a device has, the longer it takes to analyze it thoroughly."

Click here to read the rest of the story.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Fighting the CSI Effect

"Police and prosecutors say fighting crime is more difficult because jurors believe what they see on TV. One defense attorney says the so-called CSI effect is an "insult" to jurors.

With more and more juries demanding fingerprints, DNA and other forensic evidence before they'll find a suspect guilty, those in law enforcement say they have to take the so-called "CSI effect" seriously, and fight against it.

To fight the "CSI" effect, prosecutors are now careful to show jurors that tests have been done, even when the results are negative. In drug cases, for example, a detective will often take the stand to testify that the bags dealers use to sell crack were dusted for fingerprints, even though those tests are usually fruitless."

Click here to read the rest of the story.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

From People v. Ferguson, No. E047477, Court of Appeals of California, Fourth District, Division Two.

"... Moreover, the weak probative value of the evidence was strongly outweighed by the danger that it would consume an undue amount of time, confuse the issues, and mislead the jury. The primary issue at trial was whether defendant was the individual in the photographs and in the video. Although defendant's admission bore on this issue, both the parties and the court repeatedly recognized that resolution of the issue would be made by the jury's determination of whether defendant was, in fact, the individual shown in the video and photographs. The issue at trial was not whether the detectives were bad people, but whether defendant was the depicted individual. Thus, defendant's admission was not the central issue in the context of the trial ..."

"... The jury simply found that defendant was the individual depicted in the photographs and video or disbelieved defendant's contention that her admission was coerced ..."

"... 'A printed representation of images stored on a video or digital medium is presumed to be an accurate representation of the images it purports to represent. This presumption is a presumption affecting the burden of producing evidence. If a party to an action introduces evidence that a printed representation of images stored on a video or digital medium is inaccurate or unreliable, the party introducing the printed representation into evidence has the burden of proving, by a preponderance of evidence, that the printed representation is an accurate representation of the existence and content of the images that it purports to represent." (Evid. Code, § 1553.) "The trial court's exercise of discretion in admitting the evidence is reviewed on appeal for abuse of discretion. [Citation.]" (People v. Catlin (2001) 26 Cal.4th 81, 134.) ..."

Click here to read the whole ruling.


Friday, April 16, 2010

CS5 for Photographers

From Digital Photography Review:

"On the eve of the release of Photoshop CS5 - the twelfth version of Photoshop, we got a chance to speak to its product manager Bryan O’Neil Hughes. He told us what's in store for photographers and how will they benefit from the new features. 'We have incorporated many exciting features and improvements in this new version,' he said: 'It is our most innovative release to date.'"

Check out the article by clicking here.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

The CS5 Superguide

Here's a link to the CS5 Superguide at PhotoshopCAFE.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

40 new CS5 features

Here's a link to Computer Arts' 40 New Features in Photoshop CS5.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Video Forensics Saves the Day

I don't usually share cases from my day job in this space, but this one hit the news ... so what the heck. Here it goes ...

From Alive Magazine:

"Club Member Saves the Day
With intrepid skill, police work and timing, Police Dept. Forensic Video Analyst Jim Hoerricks, Club Member, saves the reputation of two officers.

The officers were lucky. Very lucky. It hadn’t started out that way. The captain had called them in and told them Internal Affairs was en route. “You’d better get a rep,” she advised. It had all started a few months before. It was a routine traffic stop. No license plates and tinted windows. The stop led to the recovery of a gun. Unfortunately for the driver, he was an ex-con who was allegedly a gang member. No guns allowed. An arrest was made and a hearing in court eventually followed.

The hearing in court was routine, too. The officers were called to the stand and testified to the probable cause of a vehicle being driven on the streets with no plates, then discovery of the gun and the subsequent arrest. Then things started to change. Suddenly, the defense attorney produced a videotape that, he said, would prove the officers had testified falsely. The deputy district attorney objected to this last- minute evidence and demanded to review it. The assignment of this particular deputy district attorney to this case was the first stroke of luck for these officers. She was an aggressive prosecutor and brooked no nonsense from defense attorneys. She was also ex-LAPD. When it came to police work, she had been there and done that. To her, this surprise video stunk to high heaven.

The video was copied and the defense attorney ... had a date with Fox-11 news. His interview was televised that night.

“The cops lied. Clearly,” he told Fox-11 news, as they played a supposedly “enhanced” copy of the video, which clearly showed a license plate on the car. “I have been practicing 42 years, criminal law, and this is the first time in 42 years that I have a videotape that shows the police lied,” the defense attorney told the camera and the nation. And he had more, the reporter stated. [The news] cut back to the defense attorney, who said, “My client denies he had any knowledge of that gun in his car, and we think it could have been planted by the police.” Then the reporter stated that the sus- pect had been so harassed by the LAPD that he was fed up and was going to move his busi- ness elsewhere.

The defense attorney jumped straight from trial by court to trial by media, and the media was more than happy to play. So was the deputy district attorney. It was after-hours, and she began calling all over the City, looking for an expert to examine the video before court resumed the next day. Many would have said it was an impossible task. Difficult maybe, but not impossible when you have dedicated people working for the Department.

Click here to read the rest of the story.


What's new in Photoshop CS5

There's a lot that's new ... and a lot that you will really love.

Selections, HDR, ACR, media management, 64bit, and black/white conversion have all been dramatically improved.

Content Aware Fill might cause you some trouble - "how do we know that you didn't remove the alien that was holding me captive in this image?"

Puppet Warp - don't like how something/someone's positioned, change it/them with ease.

Automatic Lens Correction - works great as long as there's EXIF data to guide it.

GPU Acceleration - faster, faster, faster ...

We'll get into all of these and more in future posts.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Hands-on Photoshop training for LE

Get your hands on Photoshop

There are still some seats left at my next hands-on class at LA HIDTA. The date/time is April 29th, 8a-4p. Click here for the flyer.

Photoshop CS5 is here!

I think that I can say now that I was one of the thousands of Photoshop CS5 beta testers. I've been hard at work seeing what's under the hood, if it works right, and will the stuff that I've put out there still work in CS5.

All that's left to do is to update the Configurator panels (this will happen when Configurator comes out of beta) and everything should work fine. I'm going to leave the old panels up for those with CS4 and have a separate link for the CS5 (Configurator v2) panels.

Check out the Adobe web site to see what all the fuss is about. As usual, I'll have a ton of posts dealing with the new features, dos/don'ts, and ect. Stay tuned on that as I want to base everything off of the shipping copy of Photoshop CS5, which won't be in my hands for a while (they're expecting to ship by mid-May).


Saturday, April 10, 2010

The office has moved

A couple of astute readers have noticed the small change in my profile. In answer to your questions, yes ... I've moved.

I'm now about 75 miles north of Los Angeles. Depending on where you are, you can find me by driving to the end of the world and turning either right or left.

Seriously though ... LA has gone nuts. LA's business climate is insane. It's little wonder why so many businesses are leaving the city. They are very hostile to businesses. The cost of operating in the city is way too high. City taxes are way too high.

A few months ago, the public utility raised their power rates. Tier 1 rate - turn on one light blub in your house and you'll be OK. Tier 2 rate - about the power usage of a pensioner in a studio apartment - however much you made this week; send it in. Tier 3 rate - what most would consider normal southern california power usage - however much you made this month; send it in. So, for a home based business owner with a few pieces of electronic equipment running - I was tier 3'd right out of the city.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Premiere Pro CS5

I've been getting a lot of questions about what's new in CS5 applications. Here's a link to Adobe's site to find out what's new in Adobe's Premiere Pro CS5.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Surveillance and the Limits of Law Enforcement

Surveillance and the Limits of Law Enforcement
9th Annual Police conference - Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, Berkshire, UK

Is the loss of liberty the price we pay for freedom?

How much information is being held on UK citizens? What is it being used for? Is trust in public bodies being eroded by the excessive collection and possible mismanagement of data?Now that we have become one of the most monitored societies in the world, are we safer or should the public be mistrustful?

On an issue in which suspicion is rife, this conference – held under the Chatham House rule – will present the hard facts about our increasingly watched society. Informed by national and international experts, we will explore the ethical boundaries of surveillance as a means of enforcing the law.

For more information about this conference, click here.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stryker PoleCat

Here's an interesting product that will be on display at the NaTIA national convention this summer.

The Stryker PoleCat's configuration lets it look in multiple directions at the same time, increasing the effectiveness of the unit over single camera installation.

Check it out.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

CCTV debate in the news

From the CCTV User Group's CCTV Image Magazine:

"IT SEEMS AS IF CCTV is hardly ever out of the headlines. Stories range from the positive (eg. “Man convicted on CCTV evidence”) and the hopeful (eg. “Police release CCTV images of suspect”) to the doubtful (eg. “Why weren’t CCTV cameras working?”) and the negative (eg. “Thousands of CCTV cameras cost millions”). Meanwhile, the story that arguably kickstarted the CCTV revolu- tion in the UK is back in the news, as Jon Venables – who along with Robert Thompson abducted, tortured and murdered Jamie Bulger in February 1993 – has been recalled to prison for an unspecified violation of his licence of release.The grainy CCTV images of the toddler Jamie being led away by two children (aged 10) is widely credited with the surge in public support for CCTV. And now CCTV appears to have become a political football, with the Prime Minister Gordon Brown calling out the Conservative Party leader David Cameron for his lack of public support for CCTV.

According to an article on Bloomberg, at a major speech on law and order in Reading recently, the Prime Minister challenged the Conservative Party’s view that British society is “broken” and sought to use its opposition to closed-circuit television cameras and a DNA database as evidence that the party is made up of privileged people out of touch with the majority of the population.

“I know some people think CCTV is excessive but they don’t have to take the night bus home,” Brown said in his speech in Reading, west of London. “I know the hard-working majority will never be able to live in a gated community or hire a private security firm.” It is, according to Simon Hoggart in the Guardian, part of a wider attempt to repaint Labour as the “hanging and flogging party, whereas the Tories are a bunch of bleeding-heart, Guardian-reading milquetoasts”.

Read the rest of this interesting article by clicking here.


Monday, April 5, 2010

How safe is your storage?

From CCTV Image Magazine:

"Video storage is like a vault: you expect your data to be safe inside but circumstances – and worse yet – system design can conspire against you, leaving you sitting high and dry when you need your footage most. We take a look at some of the technologies and ask how safe it is.

There's nothing simple about digital storage. The manufacturer, installer or specifier who tells you that you don’t need to worry about storage either doesn’t under- stand what they’re talking about or is trying to keep you from asking too many awkward questions.

That’s the message that we got from speak- ing to three manufacturers of storage systems: Veracity UK Ltd, Promise Technology Inc. and Intransa Inc. These three companies specialise in digital storage for video surveil- lance.

According to them, storing video surveillance data is a unique challenge, unlike any other IT storage requirement. To appreciate the challenges, first you have to understand a little bit about storage technology.

Click here to read the rest of the story.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Using CCTV as a defensive measure

From CCTV Image:

"It is suggested that approximately 30 per cent or more of whiplash injuries are either fraudulent or exaggerated. Excellent examples of the above are explained in detail from recent court cases.

Billows v Riley, heard in the Liverpool County Court: The Claimant was a passenger on a bus when it was struck by a small vehicle driven by the Defendant. The Defendant was uninjured and there was little damage to the vehicles.

Medical and engineering evidence could have been obtained; however the key issue in reality was the CCTV evidence. While this showed some occupancy displacement there was considerable doubt as to whether this was sufficient to cause injury.

Despite this, a claim was presented by a passenger – a postman with a pre-existing back condition, which potentially made him more susceptible to injury.

Nevertheless, the claim was defended as the CCTV indicated that the Claimant had not been displaced as much as was suggested to the medical expert during the medical examination and was insuffi- cient to cause the injury alleged. The Court agreed, and accordingly the claim was dismissed with costs.

In another case, a man from Northern Ireland admitted that he had made a fraudulent claim for personal injury compensation following a bus crash.

The claimant said that he was injured in the bus crash, but after viewing CCTV evidence it was discovered he was not even on board the bus at the time of the crash.

In court, the 58-year-old man admitted that he wasn’t on the bus at the time of the accident. The bus company was successful in defending itself against the attempt to gain injury compensation and the man withdrew his claim for personal injury compensation, but the bus company wanted to prosecute him for his fraudulent attempts to extort money from them. As a result of the ruling, he had to pay the legal bill to the company, which amounted to £2,700.

Click here for the whole article - Benefits of Mobile CCTV.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

The importance of video in trial


"... Sometime after appellee's release from the hospital it was discovered that there was a videotape of the incident as well as a co-worker and a customer who had witnessed appellee's fall. Dr. Brue did not consider the videotape or any statements from the witnesses in reaching his medical opinion ..."

"... While appellant's reliance on Waller is not incorrect, appellant fails to prove that appellee fell because of a syncopal episode unrelated to appellee's employment. The only witness offering the syncopal episode explanation for appellee's fall is Dr. Brue who did not base his conclusion on the indisputable video evidence or the testimony of witnesses with first-hand knowledge of the incident. The stronger evidence is the opinion of the customer who witnessed the event and Dr. Dunne, who formed her opinion after reviewing the video of the fall. These parties agree, and the video is consistent in showing, that appellee tripped over a step stool while walking towards the counter. The circumstances revealed in the stronger evidence fall in favor of compensation ..."

"... Moreover, had appellant successfully proven that appellee's fall was caused by some idiopathic condition, appellant would still need to defeat the exception laid out in Indus. Comm. v. Nelson (1933), 127 Ohio St. 41. In Nelson the Supreme Court of Ohio set forth an exception which allows participation in the Workers' Compensation Fund despite an idiopathic condition "whenever conditions attached to the place of employment or otherwise incident to the employment are factors in" the resultant injury. Id. at 46. In Nelson, a welder experienced an epileptic seizure and fell, striking his head on the corner of the spot welding machine where he was working. Id. at 42. In our case, the video showed and appellee's co-worker testified that appellee fell into and hit his head on some cabinets ..."

Clear evidence of the value of video evidence at trial: "... who formed her opinion after reviewing the video of the fall. These parties agree, and the video is consistent in showing, that appellee tripped over a step stool while walking towards the counter. The circumstances revealed in the stronger evidence fall in favor of compensation ..."