Adobe CC 2015 update

Adobe have recently released the Creative Cloud 2015 update, making speed and feature improvements to many of their key apps. If you have a CC subscription, there are plenty of new features worth checking out, though not all of them are quite finished yet. One important note, though, is that the default installation option now deletes older versions of the apps rather than leaving them there alongside the new ones.

I actually don’t have a problem with this, because for most apps the improvements are welcome and the files made by newer versions are compatible with the older ones. However, InDesign changes the .indd format with every major release. If you don’t keep older InDesign apps around, then collaboration with anyone who hasn’t upgraded yet becomes a dance involving .idml interchange files.

If you upgrade, but forget to untick the right box under “Advanced Options”, you can still download the older version of the app, but it can take time and will be a large download.

For more info on how to upgrade safely, read this article at InDesign Secrets. For more on the Adobe update, I’ll have an article live at macProVideo shortly.

The Star Trek Experience

I wish I couldn’t write this article, because it gives away a great secret, and reading about that secret ruins it. Sadly, because the experience has been taken away, dismantled, and the chance to experience its magic has been lost, I can indeed write the article which you are already reading.

In Las Vegas, at what used to be the Hilton (no longer) there was once The Star Trek Experience. There was Quark’s Bar, an assortment of costumed staff wandering around (including a Klingon who became pleased if you said “Qapla’!”) and two separate “experiences” where live actors guided you and a small group of other guests through sets filled with other actors.

My wife and I were lucky enough to visit in 2004 while on holiday. We tackled the older of the two experiences first, the one based around Star Trek: The Next Generation. It started out in an unassuming way, where a staffer showed us to a room, we started to watch a safety video, and then the lights went out.

When the lights came back up, just a few seconds later, we were in a different room. Of course, we hadn’t moved — some trick walls had somehow been switched in — but it was silent, effective, and totally unexpected. The door opened, and we had been “transported” to the Enterprise, background hum and all.

I’ve never experienced a better illusion, and the magic of that moment carried through the rest of our tour. An officer led us to the flight deck and beyond, while he and other actors battled a Borg incursion and tried to return us home. The invisible phaser shots did poke a small hole in the facade, but still, they got us to the “shuttlecraft” safely, whereupon we flew violently back to Earth and crash-landed, conveniently, in the Las Vegas Hilton. A “cleaner” let us back into the hotel.

It was perfect. The unexpected “transportation” at the start is something I’ll never forget, and the mild cheesiness after that was forgiven at once. It’s as close as I’ll ever come to being on the Star Trek set, and utter fun. For a more thorough re-telling of that experience, read Wil Wheaton’s take.

After the Next Gen experience, there was a more modern Voyager experience too, featuring a fairly straightforward “4D” video show. It was OK, but not an interactive event with actors on sets like the first. That’s something I’ll never get to do again, except perhaps in VR in a few years time, or on some future holodeck program whose authors have decided to get all meta.

Computer, end program.