Lightroom Error Building Smart Previews

Well, apparently I'm the first one who has encountered this because there is absolutely no reference to it anywhere I can find on the World Wide Web (no one uses that term anymore but it's technically more accurate than Internet here so I'm using it!) and whenever I encounter a situation like that, I like to write a blog post about it so that the next person who comes up against the issue can find at least 1 result when he/she searches. Perhaps no one will actually ever search for information on this issue because there is a sense in which how to deal with this issue is pretty obvious once you understand what the issue really is, but if you're seeing the error and missing the underlying issue, you will find this post helpful.

Okay, on with it: I moved all my photos off my Apple MacBook Air to my incredible new ioSafe N2 (I did this from within Adobe Lightroom 5 so that the Lightroom 5 catalog would be kept in sync with the move; I followed the instructions in this blog post and it worked great, if slowly, for me but I'm not claiming it's the only or best way to go about making that kind of a move). Then my next step was to create Smart Previews for all the photos so I still have access to a version of them when the MacBook Air isn't on the same network as the N2 (as that link to info on Smart Previews states, to do this you need only to "Select the files for which you want Smart Previews, and then click Library > Previews > Build Smart Previews" and so I selected all the files and Lightroom started building away on Smart Previews). At the very end of the process, this dialog box popped up:

As you can see, it says "Some Smart Previews were not built" and then farther down it says "Photos failed to build" and it lists out one lone photo for which the Smart Preview was not built. Not shown but also present in Lightroom is a new entry under the Catalog listing on the left side (the place where you can find "All Photographs," "Quick Collection +," "Previous Import," etc.) that is titled "Photos That Failed to Build a Smart Preview." When I take a look at the offending photo in Grid View, I see that in the upper-right corner, it has an error indication icon and when I hover over that with my mouse, the tooltip message "Lightroom has encountered problems reading this photo" comes up; if I look at the photo in Loupe View, it has a banner across the top indicating "There was an error working with the photo"; given this, it is unsurprising that further attempts to build a Smart Preview for the image result in the same error dialog noted above. But knowing that the real issue here is that there is a problem with the image (it's a corrupt image I suppose) the course of action is clear: remove the photo from Lightroom and re-import it (of course this assumes you have another copy somewhere; hopefully you either directly kept the original or you had Lightroom save a backup for you or you backed up the photos yourself or something). The way I accomplished that was to remove the photo in Lightroom then copy the original version of the photo to the proper directory in Lightroom and then I right-clicked on the folder in the Folders section on the left side and chose "Synchronize Folder" and Lightroom found the photo and then I told it to import it--and the cool thing was that at the end of the import, Lightroom presented me with a dialog box indicating it had created a Smart Preview for the image so I instantly knew all was well!

Keywords for search indexing: Lightroom Photos That Failed to Build a Smart Preview, Lightroom Some Smart Previews were not built, Lightroom Photos failed to build, Lightroom Smart Preview Error, Lightroom Smart Preview Build Error, Lightroom Smart Preview Building Error, Lightroom Smart Previews Error, Lightroom Smart Previews Build Error, Lightroom Smart Previews Building Error.

Adios, Flash Player! (or How I Uninstalled Flash Player and Got Away with It)

When I worked at Adobe, people would often tell me they knew of Adobe because "that's the thing that is always telling me I have to update on my computer." Those comments have echoed in my mind of late after the release of 3 security updates for Flash Player in February 2013. Now here's the thing: I appreciate that Adobe takes pains to plug the security holes discovered in Flash Player and in this sense, these updates are a good thing. Additionally, I know that Flash Player is one of the most widely distributed pieces of software in the world and as such it makes sense that it would be a popular attack target for the bad guys out there. And finally, I know that making perfect software is simply impossible. Still, it's an unavoidable fact that if Flash Player didn't have these security holes in the first place, it wouldn't need all these security updates.

When I mentioned on Facebook my perturbation with having to install these frequent Flash Player updates on my MacBook Air (every time I install a Flash Player update, I have to restart all my browsers which is inconvenient), my friend John Mason suggested I simply remove Flash Player, saying "you'll be surprised how many sites have already moved on." And so I thought about it: I do a lot of web browsing on my iPad and I essentially never have issues with my web experience as a result of the lack of Flash Player on the device (and of course, it's worth noting that it is precisely this lack of Flash Player on iOS devices that is the reason why many sites have, in John's words, "moved on" from Flash content). So I realized maybe I could live without Flash Player on my MacBook Air--and when I thought about the fact that on my MacBook Air, Flash Player has a tendency to use up massive amounts of resources for no apparent reason (don't get me wrong: I know this issue isn't entirely Flash Player's fault but that in fact the developers of the Flash content delivered to my MacBook Air have a role in this issue too--but it doesn't matter who is responsible for the issue, what's pertinent is that the issue exists), it became pretty clear that John's suggestion seemed to have a lot of merit.

And so I uninstalled Flash Player. But I also have Google Chrome installed on my system and Google Chrome has its own built-in version of Flash Player so I had to disable that instance of Flash Player too (disabling Flash Player in Chrome is as easy as browsing to chrome://plugins and selecting the Disable link in the Adobe Flash Player listing on the page).

And how did my web experience change? For the most part, it didn't: as I mentioned was already the case with my iPad, by and large I can use the web just fine without Flash Player. Every now and then, I have to use a little deception to make that happen (don't worry: I'm only deceiving servers, not people!). Let me explain: I've noticed that YouTube will sometimes tell me that I have to have Flash Player to view a video (it's my understanding that this has to do with advertising but the reason isn't of any actual importance so I'm not going to look into it further)--yet these same videos work just fine on my iPad. Why is this the case? Well, without doing all the work required to be able to give a definitive answer, I'll give an answer in which I have complete confidence: YouTube knows that I could have Flash Player on my MacBook Air if I wanted to but on my iPad, Flash Player cannot be installed; accordingly, YouTube tells me on my MacBook Air to install Flash Player but on my iPad it simply serves up an alternative format of the video. So where does the deception come in? I installed the User-Agent Switcher for Chrome extension to Chrome and that allows me to set Chrome to "masquerade" as another browser; when YouTube tells me that I need to install Flash Player, I simply use User-Agent Switcher for Chrome to have Chrome masquerade as an iPad and I'm able to view the video I want to watch just fine in Chrome. So far I've only done this for YouTube but I expect I'll use this same trick from time to time for other video sites.

So great! But it's all well and good to trick a site into giving me another format of a video but let's say some part of a site's functionality is in Flash and there's no alternative functionality I can use; if I need to use that functionality, what do I do then? The great news is that enabling the Flash Player plug-in in Chrome is just as easy as disabling the Flash Player plug-in: you simply browse to chrome://plugins and select the Enable link in the Adobe Flash Player listing on the page; the changes take effect immediately without Chrome needing to be restarted. So if I need to view any Flash content, I just enable the Flash Player plug-in in Chrome and when I'm done with my need for the plug-in, I again disable it in Chrome. Since you can do this same thing for any plug-in, I recommend disabling other plug-ins in Chrome you don't expect to need frequently. On my MacBook Air, I disabled the Java plug-in Chrome in addition to Flash Player and I recommend you disable the Java plug-in in Chrome too: chances are slim that you'll have greater need for Java than you do Flash Player so you may as well turn it off and preclude it using resources and creating security holes (I'm not giving Java top billing here because I didn't actually go to the point of uninstalling it from my MacBook Air completely...yet!). If you're on Windows, the same holds true for the Silverlight plug-in in Chrome.

Let's say you don't currently use Google Chrome: what then? Well, install it! You don't have to use it all the time: you can keep it on "standby" and use it only when you need a browser with Flash Player. Now, I personally do use Chrome as my main browser because it won me over with its ability to sync bookmarks and open tabs across devices and perhaps you too will find this capability makes it worth giving Chrome a look.

One other thing I recommend you do while you're adjusting Chrome's settings is set the Plug-ins for "Click to Play" (browse to chrome://settings/content and choose the "Click to Play" radio button on the page); this option precludes any plug-ins from running content unless you specifically click on the area for the content (you can do a similar thing in many other browsers; I leave it to you to search out the details for your browser of choice). With this option on, Flash content, like all plug-in content, won't play even with the Flash Player plug-in enabled unless you click on an area for Flash content (thereby expressly indicating you want that specific content to play); this gives you granular control over Flash content at such times as you do choose to enable the Flash Player plug-in. So why not just use this and not disable the Flash Player plug-in? First, I just don't want Flash Player there at all where it can use up resources (though I suspect that with "Click to Play" set for plug-ins, Flash Player wouldn't use significant resources). Second, I want my browser to tell sites I don't have Flash because that way they'll send me any alternative content they may deliver to clients without Flash Player (and remember, all iOS clients are Flash Player-free so alternative content for Flash Player-free browsers is a very real and common thing for sites to deliver).

iOS Messages App Handles Replies to Group Messages Completely Wrong

Imagine if you will an email program in which Reply All is not only the default reply option but also the only reply option. Most annoying thing ever? Nope: a text application that works like that would be the most annoying thing ever--and as it happens, that's exactly how the iOS Messages application works: if you receive a group message (or group MMS or group SMS or group iMessage message or whatever else) on an iOS device, you can reply to all the recipients of that message but you cannot reply directly to only the sender*. I'm shocked that Apple--that anyone--would implement Reply All as the default for replying to a group message and I'm even more dumbfounded that this is the only reply option available: surely it is not unimaginable to Apple that some users might value the ability to reply back only to the sender of any given group message as a per-message option.** But hey: mistakes and bad decisions are made by all of us in life; it's not the end of the world! But it sure would be nice if it were fixed: Apple, please recognize the disaster that this implementation is (if by no other means than by way of all the annoying group text replies that your employees themselves surely receive as a result of this implementation) and fix it. My thanks!

*Workaround (albeit one that, as well as I can tell, pretty much no one ever uses): create a brand new message to only the sender. The keyword there is "workaround": it is not by any means a justification for not enabling a direct "reply to sender" functionality in the Messages app.

**There is apparently the ability to turn off group messages at a global level in iOS. This apparently prevents you from being able to send group messages; I do not know if it prevents you from receiving group messages or not. Going back to the earlier email analogy, this would be like an email program that won't let you put more than a single recipient on any given email and potentially like an email program that won't let you receive emails unless you're the only recipient on them.

The Times They Are A-Changin': New Baby, New Job

Well! These past 2 days have been rather action-packed!

First things first: I am pleased to announce that yesterday afternoon, my beautiful wife Kendall delivered our first child. Our daughter Hallie Elizabeth Adams was born into the world at 12:14 PM EST on Sunday, January 6, 2013. She is being monitored for some kidney issues we already knew about from prenatal ultrasounds but otherwise is healthy and doing very well. We posted a picture of our happy family on the post we added on our family blog.

As if that wasn't enough activity for one day, I started a new job today as well! I'm honored and excited to have accepted a role as a Senior Solution Consultant with Ariba, an SAP company. It's interesting how sometimes things come full-circle: Ariba is the leader in business commerce and corporate procurement, an industry in which I worked at the start of my career over 15 years ago! Ariba has been very understanding about the near-simultaneous timing of these 2 wonderful events and they are allowing me to ease into the job slowly, which I very much appreciate.

I think I'm going to be just a little bit busy for a little while... :)

My New Job: Senior Solution Consultant at Ariba

I am pleased to announce that I started a new job today: I'm honored and excited to have accepted a role as a Senior Solution Consultant with Ariba, an SAP company. It's interesting how sometimes things come full-circle: Ariba is the leader in business commerce and corporate procurement, an industry in which I worked at the start of my career over 15 years ago!

Recommendation for First-time Expectant Fathers: Boot Camp for New Dads

A couple of weeks back I took a Boot Camp for New Dads class at Northside Hospital and it was awesome! I didn't realize it at the time, but it turns out that Boot Camp for New Dads is a national and even international organization! So if you're in the Atlanta area, you can participate in a class at Northside or (at least ostensibly) a class at Kennestone and if you're elsewhere, the Boot Camp for New Dads site will help you find information on classes in your area. At Northside the class was a mere $35 and I felt like it was money extremely well-spent in helping me learn practical and useful information regarding what to expect as I get ready for fatherhood. I'm not saying this class, or any class, is sufficient for one to learn everything one needs to be a father, I'm just saying for me it was very beneficial and I highly recommend it. If you'd like a copy of the notes I took in the class, request one in a comment on this blog post and I'll see about shooting you off a copy via email.

By the way, our little girl is now due in only 1 more month! :)

Lindsey Buckingham's Holiday Road (from National Lampoon's Vacation) on CD: A Hollywood Christmas

I'm reticent to post this because, topically speaking, it's extremely out of character for my blog, which up to now has been pretty much exclusively about technology with the occasional personal post. However, in my experience this is difficult information to find--and detailing hard-to-find information is very much in keeping with the character of my blog! Hopefully this post will be found by others searching for the song on CD in the future. So with that: onward!

If you're a fan of the National Lampoon's Vacation film series, you'll doubtlessly be familiar with Lindsey Buckingham's seminal "Holiday Road." Now, let's say you want to enjoy this song on CD or download a legitimate digital version of it--well, it turns out it's not so easy to find! As well as I can tell, as of this writing, it's not available for legitimate digital download at all (well, there's a live version readily available but I can't find the version used in the film). And when it comes to finding a legitimate CD with the song on it, I've only been able to find it on one: A Hollywood Christmas. I had a lot of difficulty in finding the existence of this song on this CD by searching for the song on places like Google and Amazon; I was only able to find it via AllMusic.

What about soundtracks for the films? There are claims that "Holiday Road" was made available on CD via a limited CD run of the soundtrack for National Lampoon's Vacation as well as via a limited CD run of the soundtrack for National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. The research I've done leads me to believe that these CDs are merely bootlegs for which someone has created a compelling faux backstory. As far as legitimate soundtracks for these films go: there was a soundtrack for National Lampoon's Vacation released on vinyl and maybe cassette but not CD (it was released with the film in 1983 and not everything--or much of anything I think--was released on CD at that time; I like vinyl and all but it's not what I'm looking for here). As for National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, it appears it never had a soundtrack released on any media.

Incidentally, "Holiday Road" is in no way a Christmas song--and in fact, the irony is that it's so much not a Christmas song that, from what I've read, the only one of the four major Vacation films that doesn't include the song is Christmas Vacation (a fact that makes the purported limited run soundtrack for that film all the more suspect as there is no reason it should include "Holiday Road" if the song wasn't even in the film). So it is odd that it appears on A Hollywood Christmas. I suspect that someone at WEA knew it wasn't available on CD and took A Hollywood Christmas as an opportunity to rectify that situation, even though it wasn't exactly a perfect fit. But whatever the reason, I'm glad it's there!

My Savings War

I'm fighting a war on "savings." Not savings the concept, but "savings" the word: I'm fighting to get it back, back from all the marketing and advertising people who have stolen it from us.

Raise your hand if you believe that saving and savings are good. Now wave at everyone who is looking at you and wondering why you raised your hand while reading from your computer (or mobile device or whatever you're using). You may look silly with your hand raised, but the point here is that everyone believes that saving and savings are good and so if everyone else reading this participated as well as you, you wouldn't be the only one looking silly right now.

Now, raise your hand if you believe that you can save money when buying things, like perhaps due to a sale a store is having. If you're again looking silly with your hand raised, this time I'm hoping you're not in good company. But take heart: untold amounts of money have been spent by marketers and advertisers who want you to believe that you can save money when buying things. Unfortunately, this leaves you...wait for it...looking silly.

Here's the deal: we have all been taught that saving and savings are good things; these are values that are instilled in us. And saving and savings--real saving and real savings--are good things! Now, let's talk about spending: no, the point isn't that spending is, by contrast with saving, bad. Spending is necessary, at least for the vast majority of us. What spending always is, however, is the complete opposite of saving! So: if go into a store and come out with stuff, you have spent money and you have not saved money. What's wrong with that? In and of itself, nothing: as I said, spending is necessary. But what's good about spending? Well, when you're buying things you need, that's a good thing (or at least, if you're able to afford the necessities of your life, that's a good thing). But...well, the truth for many of us is that we don't actually need most of what we buy. Now, we all know that marketers and advertisers work to convince us that we need things we really don't need and they're good at this. But there's always something there we can argue against. So you know what an even better strategy for them is? Divert our attention away from that issue and instead focus on something we all believe in: saving money! So that's exactly what they do: they tell us how much we can "save" by buying from them during whatever sales promotion it is they're doing. And we get all excited because we get what we want (whatever they're selling) and we get to "save" (which we value). It's subtle--and brilliant.

It's brilliant because it works. And it works so well that they've managed to steal "savings" from us and completely redefine it. Take a look the last paragraph of this ABC News article and you'll see an example (I tried to post a comment about this subject to this article but I guess it wasn't approved; well, fine: I'll just include a link to their article here in my blog post instead).

You may think how we define "savings" is mere semantics and a trivial issue but it's not: because of the fact that we value savings, it's psychologically important for us to define it properly. So let's take "savings" back--and lets use it to refer to holding onto our money, not spending it.

Adobe Adventures, the Final Chapter: Moving on

It is with great excitement that I announce that I have left Adobe to seek new opportunities. My 4.5+ years at Adobe were amazing: joining Adobe was a great choice--in fact, it was without a doubt the best choice I could have made at the time. I am leaving very much better for the experience than when I arrived and I have incredible customers and partners as well as great colleagues past and present to thank for that. So thank you!

I joined Adobe in February 2008 as the Senior Solutions Consultant for ColdFusion for North America (see this blog post). At the beginning of this fiscal year, I was moved to a new team, the Web Experience Management Solutions Consulting team, and I worked with CQ and Scene7. Both of these roles were wonderful experiences and I gained so much from them. However, due to some organizational changes at Adobe combined with a number of extremely encouraging conversations with external organizations, I chose to leave Adobe at the end of September.

Leaving Adobe is certainly bittersweet for me: as I mentioned above, joining Adobe was a great choice and I'm leaving very much better for the experience and I will miss so many people I had the pleasure of interacting with in my roles at Adobe. Getting to be the ColdFusion SC was a dream job and the opportunity to work with CQ and Scene7 was tremendous as well. However, as I also mentioned above, the conversations I've had about external opportunities have me feeling very excited and encouraged about what comes next for me and it just appears at this point that the best fit is going to be outside Adobe. I was initially going to hold posting about my departure from Adobe until such time as I have made a choice as to what the next thing is going to be--but I decided to get this on out there now while I'm still investigating my options because it's always possible that someone reading this will know about an opportunity that is even better than the great opportunities I am already considering. :) So: if you have available or know of any opportunities I should know about, please let me know! The best way to reach me is to fill out my contact form. Thanks!

I look forward to updating you very soon about my next adventure!

We're Having a Baby Girl!

Adobe ColdFusion 10 and Adobe ColdFusion Builder 2.0.1 - Available Now!

Exciting news: Adobe ColdFusion 10 was released earlier today (sorry for the delay in posting: busy day!). Check it out at http://www.adobe.com/products/coldfusion-family.html. ColdFusion 10 (previously known by its codename, Zeus) has various exciting features such as HTML5 websockets, HTML5 charting, security enhancements, Tomcat integration, improved Web Services support through Axis 2, and more. Thanks to the ColdFusion Engineering Team for building a great ColdFusion 10!

Also released today was ColdFusion Builder 2, Update 1 (brings ColdFusion Builder 2 up to ColdFusion Builder 2.0.1). This is a free update for ColdFusion Builder 2. Get it at http://www.adobe.com/support/coldfusion/downloads_updates.html#cfb2.

And check out the official ColdFusion Product Team blog at http://blogs.coldfusion.com for posts from the engineers who built the features of ColdFusion 10 as well as announcements about eSeminars and other events where you can learn more about ColdFusion 10.

Setting Firefox to Open External Links in a New Window

I finally got fed up with Firefox (I'm using Firefox 11.0) opening external links (that is, links launched from other programs, such as by clicking a link in an email in Outlook) in a new tab in the current window instead of in a new window and so I figured out the setting to change to make external links instead open in a new window: browser.link.open_newwindow.override.external. I can't find this documented well anywhere and thus I'm writing this blog post in the hope it helps future searchers for the solution to this same issue.

In my install of Firefox, the value of browser.link.open_newwindow.override.external was by default -1. After some trial and error, I found that by setting it to 2, external links open in a new tab.

And to be clear, this is in the situation where I have Firefox set so that new pages opened from within Firefox open in new tabs (except in the case of popup windows: there's another setting for those). If you simply want all new pages to always open in new windows instead of new tabs, you don't need to set browser.link.open_newwindow.override.external: all you have to do is uncheck "Open new windows in a new tab" in the Tabs tab of Preferences and you'll be set to have ALL new pages always open in new windows, no matter if they're opened from within Firefox or from external sources (again, with the exception of popups for which there is another setting, specifically browser.link.open_newwindow.restriction).

If you don't know how to access these settings I'm talking about, the short story is that you type about:config in your Firefox's address bar. The longer story can be found at http://kb.mozillazine.org/About:config.

By the way, I make use of multiple tabs in Firefox, I just don't use them for random collections of pages: I use multiple tabs to open multiple pages related in a way I deem important. For multiple pages that are not related in a way I deem important, I use different windows. This keeps things organized effectively in Firefox for me. So since, more often than not, the new pages being opened in new tabs are not related to the other tabs in said windows, it makes more sense to open them in new windows than it does to open them in a new tab in an existing window.

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