Adobe Apps Can Be Rough Without A Roadmap. Thankfully, Your Guide Is Here


The Adobe Creative Cloud is exciting, comprehensive and intimidating all at the same time. With nearly two dozen apps aimed at servicing all manner of creative projects, there’s undoubtedly a way to accomplish any content creation task you’ve got on your mind.

But glazing at that sweeping array of icons, each harboring its own untold powers and hidden depths, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything in front of you.

But as the saying goes, the only way to eat the whole elephant is one bite at a time. So check out the deals on these five different Adobe CC training packages, each expert-driven collection focusing on a particular app or subset of apps in the Adobe CC galaxy. And right now, they’re all available at big discounts off their regular price.

The Essential 2020 Adobe CC Mastery Bundle – $39.99; originally $396

For a little taste of the biggest apps in the Adobe CC constellation of stars, this package has you covered. The collection features four courses with more than 25 hours of instruction in three of the absolute biggest apps, including image editing powerhouse Photoshop, vector graphics favorite Illustrator and layout king InDesign. Plus, you also get training in one of the newest — and buzziest — Adobe app, Adobe Spark, which features lots of cutting edge templates to create social media posts, images and videos that look professional grade in record time.

The Essential Adobe Web Design Bundle – $19.99; originally $396

Creating for the web, including everything from websites and apps to graphics and animations, comes with its own set of rules — all of which are spotlighted in this four-course, seven-hour bundle. From the prototyping framework you’ll find in Adobe XD to all the construction ability of perennial favorite website builder Dreamweaver, you’ll be ready to tackle any digital building project. Plus, you’ll also get Adobe Spark training as well as down-and-dirty video editing with Premiere Rush.

The Essential 2020 Adobe Photography Training Bundle – $29.99; originally $297

Taking quality pictures, then presenting those images in their best possible light is a skill set all its own — and this trio of courses explains exactly how Adobe CC can help. Over these eight-plus hours, the Digital Photography Introduction course explains all the basics of shooting digital images the right way, then introductions to Photoshop and sister image editing aid Lightroom can each help you tweak your shots into gorgeous gallery quality prints.

The Complete Adobe Hollywood Filmmaker Bundle – $39.99; originally $495

Everybody is shooting video these days, so this five-course collection with over 24 hours of intensive training breaks down the tricks to proper video editing. Anchored by Adobe Premiere Pro, the app that many Hollywood editors and other creative talent use daily, you’ll fully understand the art of assembling a complete video project. You’ll also get training in Premiere Pro’s slimmed-down companion Premiere Rush, special effects wizard After Effects and full-service audio editor Audition.

The Adobe XD Professional Certification Bundle – $29.99; originally $995

User experience is key in any design project — which is where Adobe XD can be a godsend, helping designers create and share interactive app and web prototypes across all devices and platforms. This package of five courses includes everything to get familiar and working with XD, from building responsive websites to engaging app designs to even creating digital animation that will take all of your projects to the next level.

Note: Terms and conditions apply. See the relevant retail sites for more information. For more great deals, go to our partners at TechBargains.com.

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How to install Windows 10 in a virtual machine

This is you, chasing driver compatibility

There are a lot of practical reasons to set up an OS like Windows 10 in a VM rather than using it as a native installation. If you have to deal with files you can’t trust, need to test multiple OS installations on the same system, or need access to the operating system without wanting to use it as a daily driver, using it a VM offers access to its features and capabilities without worrying about needing to keep the OS installation around long-term. Luckily, setting up Windows 10 in a VM isn’t particularly difficult.

VirtualBox installation

1. Download the Windows 10 ISO

First off, head over to the Windows 10 download page. If you are a Windows user, MS will prompt you to download the Media Creation Tool before allowing you to download an OS image. You can use this tool to create an ISO file locally, or you can follow these additional instructions if you want to download the ISO manually without being forced to grab the tool first.

New VM

2. Create a new virtual machine

Go to the VirtualBox website, and download the latest version of Oracle’s free, open source software. Go through the installation process, and then launch the application. Press the “New” button, and name your virtual machine. Make sure your “Type” is set to “Microsoft Windows,” and your “Version” is set to “Windows 10.” Just make sure you match the x64 version with a 64-bit VM, and the x86 version with a 32-bit VM.

Memory Size

3. Allocate RAM

Now, you need to decide how much RAM you want to allocate for this VM. For the x86 version, you’ll need at least 1GB of RAM. For the x64 version, you’ll need 2GB. I have 16GB of RAM in my desktop, so I decided that 4GB was right for my configuration. Whatever you decide, just make sure you stay in the green. If you allocate too much RAM, you’ll end up with serious performance issues.

Virtual Drive

4. Create a virtual drive

Next, you need to create a virtual drive. Microsoft says that 16GB is the minimum space needed for the 32-bit version, but 20GB is required for the 64-bit version. I decided on a 50GB virtual drive on my desktop, but feel free to make it as large as you need. Just be sure that you have enough space on your actual hard drive to handle the size of your virtual drive. Depending on what you intend to do with the OS, you may want to allocate more or less storage. Applications installed to a VM should be assumed to require the same amount of “real” storage that their standard installations would.

Add ISO

5. Locate the Windows 10 ISO

Now, go into the settings for this virtual machine, and navigate to the “Storage” tab. Click the disc icon with a green plus next to “Controller: SATA.” Click “Choose disk,” and then locate the Windows 10 ISO you downloaded earlier.

Video settings

6. Configure video settings

Before you jump in and start installing Windows 10, move over to the “Display” tab. You can configure how much video memory you’re willing to allocate to the virtual machine, but make sure you stay in the green. You can also toggle on 3D acceleration if you like.

Installation

7. Launch the installer

With all of that setup finished, press the “Start” button in VirtualBox, and begin the Windows 10 installation process. Follow the instructions on the screen, and you’re well on your way.

VirtualBox Guest Additions

8. Install VirtualBox guest additions

Once you’re at the Windows 10 desktop, you’ll need to install all of the proper drivers for VirtualBox. In the VirtualBox UI, go to “Devices,” and then select “Insert Guest Additions CD image.” Navigate to that disc image in Windows Explorer, and run the installer. Once you’ve gone through the entire process, you’ll need to reboot the VM.

Windows 10 Desktop

9. You’re ready to rock

Back at the desktop, you can finally use full-screen mode at the proper resolution. In the VirtualBox menu, go to “View,” and select “Switch to Fullscreen.” For the most part, this is now the same experience you’d have running it natively. Enjoy yourself, and feel free to poke around all the new features.

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ET Weekend Deals: Pre-Order Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G Smartphone w/ Up To $1,000 Trade-In Bonus


Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 20 smartphone will be one of the fastest and most feature rich smartphones on the market upon it’s launch. If you’re eager to get your hands on this new devices you can pre-order it now and receive up to a $1,000 credit when you trade-in your old phone.

Coming equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865+ SoC, the Galaxy Note 20 should be exceptionally fast with performance on par to today’s latest flagship phones. The phone also utilizes a Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O display with a 120Hz refresh rate that measures 6.7-inches diagonally. It also has 128GB of storage along with 8GB of RAM and a 4,300mAh battery.

The phone is listed for sale for $999.99 from various retailers and set to be released on August 21, 2020. By using trade-on bonuses, however, you can get up to a $1,000 credit towards your purchase. AT&T is the only one offering such a lofty bonus, but you can get up to $700 for your trade-in from Verizon or up to $650 from Samsung. If don’t have a device to trade-in or would prefer to buy the phone outright, you can also get order it straight from Amazon for the full price of $999.99.

Featured Deals

Note: Terms and conditions apply. See the relevant retail sites for more information. For more great deals, go to our partners at TechBargains.com.

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President Trump Signs Ban on TikTok, WeChat as Government Declares Hostility Towards Chinese Digital Goods and Services


President Trump has signed an executive order declaring that both TikTok and WeChat will be banned in the United States within 45 days. At the same time, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has released a comprehensive roadmap for denying Chinese companies access to United States infrastructure. The text of both executive orders reads, in part:

Specifically, the spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China (China) continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.

In order to safeguard US citizens and interests, both TikTok and WeChat must be banned. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Pompeo has released a five-point Clean Network program that is intended to make certain that Chinese carriers are not connected to US telecom networks, that “untrusted applications” are removed from mobile app stores, that US companies are not making their applications available on the storefronts of untrusted partners, that US data is not being stored on servers owned by Alibaba, Baidu, or Tencent, and that undersea cables are not being subverted by foreign operatives for spying.

The text of these orders raise significant questions about the ability of the President to make unilateral policy via executive order and the degree to which US government policies should exert market control over corporate behavior.

A Complex Kettle of Fish

Over the past year, I’ve written multiple stories about how US companies have been willing to give in to Chinese demands to control the speech of private citizens in the US, even going so far as to get a low-level hotel social media employee fired for the crime of liking a tweet that shared an article featuring her employer. There have been a number of troubling instances where US companies like Google actively partnered with the Chinese government to spy on its own citizens more effectively. China has also imprisoned the Uighur ethnic minority in camps and treated them as a slave labor force. Any concrete action that addresses these concerns is going to have a governmental as well as a corporate component and I generally agree with the Trump Administration’s decision to have a conversation on this topic in a way that has been lacking in both Democrat and Republican administrations dating back at least to the late 1990s, though the effort won’t help US companies whose IP has already been stolen. At the same time, however, the paper trail on TikTok and WeChat does not match what we know about companies like Huawei.

Where Huawei is concerned, the government has articulated fears that the firm could build backdoors into its products and that its position as a 5G hardware provider could allow it to build backdoors into its products that are impossible to close. It is unclear what fundamental threat TikTok or WeChat pose to either American infrastructure or American citizens, and the broad language of Secretary of State Pompeo’s declaration gives some cause for concern. The “Cloud” section of the article above declares that the US will act “To prevent U.S. citizens’ most sensitive personal information and our businesses’ most valuable intellectual property, including COVID-19 vaccine research, from being stored and processed on cloud-based systems accessible to our foreign adversaries through companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent.”

What constitutes “most sensitive personal information?” The document does not say. This is not a trivial question. If “most sensitive personal information” is defined as “Private medical records and financial histories,” people would be unlikely to argue. If “most sensitive personal information” includes credit card numbers, you’ve just made a case for outlawing League of Legends based on the fact that Riot Games processes credit card data. Tencent, after all, owns Riot. It owns a hefty share in Epic Games, too.

“My Heart and Swole, Always for Demacia!” Image by Riot, which is owned by Tencent.

I cannot recall another time when the US government declared that a foreign company had 45 days to sell itself to a US firm (Microsoft, in TikTok’s case) or face a complete operating ban. I also do not recall any previous time when the President of the United States declared that the US government expected a bribe — pardon me, “key money” — in return for facilitating the purchase. One imagines the author of this Bloomberg article writing it with a drink in one hand and several empties already on the table. Regardless of one’s political leanings, interjections of this sort do not make evaluating the national security implications of global political changes any easier. Similarly, what exactly is contemplated by the criticism of US companies selling applications in app markets overseas? Previous technology export restrictions, lifted decades ago, did not contemplate banning a TikTok-like application (if such had existed). If anything, the popularity of a US application in the Chinese market would have been more likely to be viewed as a demonstration of soft power.

While the national security implications of closer ties with China have deservedly been criticized, there have been only general data privacy concerns raised about products like TikTok and WeChat. Many, though not all, of those concerns apply to US companies as well and the manner in which they secure (or, rather, don’t secure) the data of US citizens. If the Trump Administration wants to articulate a set of policies by which current and future Chinese software and hardware will be evaluated on national security grounds, that may well be within the scope of its purview, but the standards should be transparent and fairly applied. If a company violates them, Americans who used the applications deserve to know exactly why they are being banned — with specifics, not vague hand-waved gestures towards potential risk.

It is imperative that we not declare the data mining practices of foreign firms illegal solely because they are foreign firms. Daily, it seems, we learn more about how various companies have invented various means of tracking people. Many of these methods are based on incredibly intrusive practices — one federal contractor just acknowledged embedding tracking spyware into dozens of APIs that were incorporated into third-party products with zero oversight, with the intent of using this information for law enforcement purposes. No, this isn’t the same as throwing members of an ethnic minority into forced labor camps. That doesn’t make it good. Many of the same companies caught engaging in unethical actions in China, like Google, built the US ecosystem that’s now systemically used to strip-mine our privacy for profit. Pretending the problem is solely an overseas issue allows US companies to skirt blame for their own egregious actions.

Matt Stoller, quoting Lucas Kunce, also makes an excellent argument here, pointing out that the entire reason TikTok is an American fad to begin with is because Facebook actively used its market clout to kill Vine, Twitter’s version of TikTok, while giving TikTok huge amounts of advertising. In other words, we now have a Chinese competitor sitting in an American market because an American company was allowed to abuse its monopolistic power. Facebook launched Reels this week, as a direct competitor to TikTok at a time when the federal government is proposing to ban the company. While I am not accusing the Trump Administration from acting in deliberate concert with Facebook, President Trump’s declaration that the US government should get a cut of the still-theoretical sale of TikTok’s US business to Microsoft, combined with Facebook’s decision to launch a new TikTok competitor now, looks like the federal government “picking winners and losers” (to borrow an old phrase) far more overtly than any decision to award grant money to a bad pick in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

These issues are complex because there are few actions the federal government takes that don’t have implications for someone in a “win/lose” context at some point. NASA’s decision to tap SpaceX for launches literally saved the company by funding its development. Was the government “picking winners and losers,” or was it “Providing funding for the long-term development of US national interests in space by collaborating with a corporate partner?” How you answer that question depends on how important you think space travel is, how good a partner you think SpaceX has been, and who you think should be paying for it. Real-world politics never condenses into sound bites as easily as some wish it did.

For an additional perspective on this issue I recommend The Verge’s writeup, which focuses on an issue the author nicknames information-nationalism. Information-nationalism, as described, is the idea that discussing problems at home or confronting, say, historic inequalities in how America treats people weakens our ability, as a nation, to call out these problems abroad. It views containment of this type of discussion as essential to the capability to project power in other respects because acknowledging fault is seen as equivalent to acknowledging weakness.

Such arguments are dangerous because they can easily become justification for internal censorship. The President’s repeatedly-stated belief that testing more people for COVID-19 is literally the reason that America’s disease figures are terrible is an easy example of how this kind of thinking can lead directly to a justification for suppressing information: If acknowledging the truth of the pandemic makes America look weak, the solution is not to improve the quality of America’s pandemic response, but to stop testing people. As The Verge notes, that’s basically the same argument the Chinese government uses as a justification for suppressing conversation around events like the Tienanmen Square Massacre.

There are good reasons to be suspicious of China, but the question of inappropriate surveillance is not unique to China. US citizens do not deserve to have their lives strip-mined for corporate profits regardless of whether the miners are domestic or foreign and any effort to create new rules on these issues should center data privacy and security for American citizens first and foremost. The idea that these practices are deployed purely in benign ways in this country and that the only real abuses occur elsewhere is a set of cultural blinders we do not have the luxury of wearing.

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Apple Won’t Allow Cloud Gaming like xCloud and Stadia on iOS

Apple talks up iPhone security, but Zerodium says it’s falling behind.

Complaints about the Apple App Store are as old as the App Store itself, but that doesn’t make the latest development any more aggravating for gamers. Despite extensive beta testing, it looks like Microsoft will be unable to launch its xCloud gaming service on iOS, and that means the prospects for Google’s Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now aren’t any better. 

Cloud gaming has seemed to be just around the corner for the last decade, but we might actually be on the way now. Internet access is fast enough that you can render games on a remote server and stream the video to phones, TVs, laptops, and other devices without too much lag. I’ve spent a fair amount of time playing Google Stadia, and it works surprisingly well — unless you have an iPhone. None of these services have launched on iOS, and now we know why. 

Apple has issued a statement about xCloud, but we can assume other cloud gaming options are facing similar issues. According to Apple, it has no objections to cloud gaming in principle. However, it will only allow the likes of xCloud if the company agrees to compete on a “level playing field” with native app developers. That means each individual game needs to be submitted for review, and they need to appear separately in the App Store charts and search. 

Obviously, these are near-impossibilities for a cloud gaming service. There’s little chance a full PC or Xbox game would pass Apple’s review process, and it would take ages to get approval for the dozens of titles these services currently offer. Listing all those games outside of the streaming client would also be a confusing mess for users. 

xCloud streaming Forza to an Android device in an MS demo.

Apple seems to be making a distinction between cloud games and local streaming services like Steam Link. Apple did initially block Steam Link when it launched last year, but Valve appealed and was able to get its app approved on the basis that it was essentially a remote desktop client. xCloud, Stadia, and the rest seem to be in a much tighter spot. 

At the same time, cloud gaming doesn’t look to be going away this time. The only thing likely to move Apple is its own user base. If a lack of cloud gaming makes the iPhone look less competitive, the company might suddenly reconsider. For that to happen, gamers would have to view cloud gaming as an important enough feature to drive smartphone purchases — and it’s not clear if that will ever actually happen. 

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