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).

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!

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 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

And check out the official ColdFusion Product Team blog at 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.

ColdFusion IDE Survey

The ColdFusion team is conducting a survey on ColdFusion IDEs. From the survey:

We are conducting a survey to understand the the IDE that you use to build your Adobe ColdFusion applications.

Your feedback is valuable for us. It will take less than a minute to answer this simple two question survey.

Would you be so kind as to provide your feedback? You can find the survey at

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

The beta releases of Adobe ColdFusion 10 and Adobe ColdFusion Builder 2.0.1 are now available on Adobe Labs at Check them out and give us your feedback!

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.

And check out the official ColdFusion Product Team blog at 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.

ColdFusion 9 and FusionReactor Offer

I received the following information from my friends at Intergral:

---- Intergral (makers of FusionReactor Server Monitor) are currently running a promotion together with Adobe. If you purchase either a new or upgrade license to ColdFusion 9 Enterprise, you will receive FusionReactor Enterprise Server Monitor 1 Year Subscription, absolutely free. If you purchase a new license of ColdFusion 9 Standard, we'll give you a copy of FusionReactor Standard 1 Year Subscription. Our prices for ColdFusion are also very competitive, so this is really a great deal. If you purchase Platinum Support with your new ColdFusion license, then you are entitled to receive all upgrades and updates to ColdFusion in the next 12 months following your purchase – this means that if Adobe releases the next release of ColdFusion [note from Josh: the next release of ColdFusion is currently known by the codename Zeus and you can find more information on it by Googling for "Coldfusion Zeus"] within the next 12 months [note from Josh: Adobe has stated that the next release of ColdFusion will be in 2012, so certainly within the next 12 months], you will receive it as part of your Platinum Support contract. As support only costs 20% of the license purchase price, this is a fantastic offer to ensure you stay on the latest version of ColdFusion. These offers are only available until Jan 31st 2012! See all our offers here: ----

This is great stuff! Thanks for making this great offer available to ColdFusion customers, Intergral!

ColdFusion: Staying the Course

Following on the heels of the slew of Adobe announcements of last week, Adobe evangelist Terry Ryan released a blog post stating that ColdFusion Zeus is still under development and on schedule. We're still here--same leadership, engineers, and sales team as before last week--and we're still selling ColdFusion 9 and working hard on the next version of ColdFusion, codenamed ColdFusion Zeus. If you're interested in more on ColdFusion Zeus, your best bet at this point is to search "ColdFusion Zeus" but know that we'll be releasing more official information as the release draws closer (the official information we are able to disclose at this point is that we will be releasing Zeus sometime in 2012). If you have any questions or need licenses for ColdFusion 9, please feel free to post a comment here or to contact me directly.

ColdFusion 9 + Solr: Upcoming ColdFusion 9 eSeminar

One of the exciting new features in ColdFusion 9 is Apache Lucene Solr integration. Solr is an open source enterprise search server that you can use in place of Verity in ColdFusion 9 with few limitations? Want to learn more? I'm excited to announce that Adobe's own Ray Camden will be presenting an Adobe eSeminar on this top on Thursday, September 8, 2011 @ 10:00 AM PT (1700 GMT). For more details and to register, please visit

If you'd like to read about ColdFusion 9's Solr integration, please visit

Getting Started with ColdFusion: Upcoming ColdFusion 9 eSeminars

The Adobe ColdFusion team has set up a 2-part eSeminar series that I will be presenting to help those new to ColdFusion get started. The first of these sessions is geared towards those who have never done any development but who are familiar with the basics of HTML. The second session builds on the first and is the perfect time for those who have done previous development but are new to ColdFusion to jump in. The sessions have been scheduled for a week apart so that attendees at the first session have a little time to practice their skills on their own after the first session in preparation for the second session. Join us!

Here is the information on these sessions:

Purchasing a ColdFusion Builder 2 + Flash Builder 4.5 Bundle

If you purchase either ColdFusion Builder 2 or Flash Builder 4.5 Premium as a standalone product (that is, not part of a Creative Suite 5.5 product bundle), you will get a license for both ColdFusion Builder 2 and Flash Builder 4.5 as follows:

  • ColdFusion Builder 2 includes a license for Flash Builder 4.5 Standard.
  • Flash Builder 4.5 Premium includes a license for ColdFusion Builder 2.

So these products then are actually mini-bundles, hence the title of this post. :)

Two important notes:

  • While Creative Suite 5.5 Web Premium and Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection both include a license for Flash Builder 4.5 Premium, neither includes a license for ColdFusion Builder 2. However, if you purchase Creative Suite 5.5 Web Premium or Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection, you can purchase an upgrade license for ColdFusion Builder 2 (that is, you're eligible for upgrade pricing for ColdFusion Builder 2; you don't have to buy the full version of ColdFusion Builder 2).
  • Flash Builder 4.5 Standard does not include a license for ColdFusion Builder 2 and as well as I am aware upgrade pricing is not available for ColdFusion Builder 2 (that is, you are not eligible for upgrade pricing for ColdFusion Builder 2; you do have to buy the full version of ColdFusion Builder 2).

Speaking of upgrade pricing, there is (of course!) upgrade pricing available for those looking to move to ColdFusion Builder 2 from ColdFusion Builder 1 (at the time it was released, it wasn't called ColdFusion Builder 1, it was merely called ColdFusion Builder, but now that ColdFusion Builder 2 has been released, we often refer to the first release of ColdFusion Builder as ColdFusion Builder 1). And there is also upgrade pricing available for those looking to move to Flash Builder 4.5 or one of the Creative Suite 5.5 bundles from earlier versions of those products.

So let's see if I can create a helpful little chart here:

Product ColdFusion Builder 2 License Flash Builder 4.5 License
ColdFusion Builder 2 Included Standard Included
Upgrade to Premium Available
Flash Builder 4.5 Standard NOT Included
No Upgrade Available*
Standard Included
Upgrade to Premium Available
Flash Builder 4.5 Premium Included Premium Included
Creative Suite 5.5 Web Premium NOT Included
Upgrade Available
Premium Included
Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection NOT Included
Upgrade Available
Premium Included

* Note that while you cannot purchase an upgrade license for ColdFusion Builder 2 from Flash Builder 4.5 Standard, you will get ColdFusion Builder 2 if you upgrade Flash Builder 4.5 Standard to Flash Builder 4.5 Premium.

2011-06-06 UPDATE: There is no mention made of the type of license (that is, full or upgrade) required when buying Flash Builder 4.5 Premium or ColdFusion Builder 2 in order to get the "mini-bundle" benefit because that benefit applies to both the full and upgrade versions of Flash Builder 4.5 and ColdFusion Builder 2. That is to say, if you're upgrading to Flash Builder 4.5 Premium, you do in that case get a license for ColdFusion Builder 2 just as you do if you buy the full version of Flash Builder 4.5 Premium; if you're upgrading to ColdFusion Builder 2, you do in that case get a license for Flash Builder 4.5 Standard (I suppose the one exception to this may be if you're upgrading from Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection or Creative Suite 5.5 Web Premium, since these already include Flash Builder 4.5 Premium), just as you do if you buy the full version of ColdFusion Builder 2.

Entering a Serial Number into the ColdFusion 9 Administrator

Although this post is written for ColdFusion 9, the majority of information in this post applies to most releases of ColdFusion.

When you install ColdFusion 9, you can (but are not required to) enter your serial number (sometimes also referred to as a license key) during the installation (there's one caveat to this: there's a known issue with the 64-bit Linux installers not accepting ColdFusion 9 Standard serial numbers; see the related post listed below for more information). I'm not going to cover that in this post because there's no need: you just put your serial number in when prompted. What I'm going to cover here is entering a serial number into the ColdFusion 9 Administrator; you might need to do this for reasons including, but not limited to, not entering it during installation of ColdFusion 9.

Okay, so here we go:

  1. Log into the ColdFusion Administrator:

  2. Once you're logged in, click the System Information icon in the upper right; in the screenshot below, I've circled it in red:

  3. From there it's pretty easy; just put your serial number in the New License text box then press the Submit Changes button:

  4. That's it! The page will refresh and you can scroll down and see the information on your Edition of ColdFusion and the serial number you just entered (I've redacted mine in the screenshot below for reasons I think are fairly obvious):

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