Archive for August, 2013

Adobe Application Manager: “the remote server is not responding in a proper manner.”

Saturday, August 24th, 2013
Adobe Application Manager gave error popup:
  • “the remote server is not responding in a proper manner.”
The following explains the cause (in this instance) of what appears to be a very general catch-all error-message.  It is a copy of my posting to an Adobe forum thread:

Yet another potential cause:

  • Wrong (obsolete) Adobe Application Manager executed, of more than one present on the system.  The latest one should be present in Windows 7’s QuickLaunch tray.  Run it from there.

Cause of that situation:  update from a state of over a year ago.  I recently recovered a Windows 7 laptop back to over a year ago (from total system backup), due to partial disk failure and consequent corruption of operating system, and was in the process of updating everything.  However in principle could the same thing have happened if it had been a laptop I simply hadn’t touched since then?

In that (historical) state, CS5.5 and CS6 were installed and there was an existing Adobe Application Manager (AAM) Shortcut from Desktop to [C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Adobe\OOBE\PDApp\core\PDapp.exe].  Naively I ran that and (not surprisingly) it triggered a newer version of AAM to download. I let that happen, then (naively) I double-clicked the same shortcut (which I assumed now pointed at the just-now downloaded new AAM).  That gave the infamous error:

  • “the remote server is not responding in a proper manner.” (etc.)

Following a day of re-trying – as the remainder of that error message suggested, I  checked the Soft-Firewall settings, where I noticed two instances of AAM (both fully enabled to network).  Consequently I went into “Detective Mode”.  Maybe there was more than one AAM on the system, or uninstalling and reinstalling AAM would help.  But looking in Windows’ “Programs and Features” Control Panel, I could find no instances of AAM.  So maybe AAM was not a “Program” in that sense but some kind of background “Service”, the thought of which led me to look at Windows’ QuickLaunch tray.

AAM was indeed present in the QuickLaunch tray so I ran that instead.   It initially opened but then failed to progress, because the error popup from the previous (wrong) AAM was still open (buried under some other windows).  However, once I closed that popup, the new (QuickLaunch) version of AAM progressed as expected, listing applications to be updated.  YAY!

A rare situation perhaps, but with Adobe’s popularity, maybe even “rare” is too big a big number of users, especially if the occasional VIP/deadlined/embedded user/suer 😉 could be embarrassed/frustrated by this.  Regardless of technical definition, it could be perceived by such a person as a “Cloud Glitch”.  Thus…

Suggestions to Adobe:

  • Make the new (QuickLaunch) version of AAM check for the presence of any obsolete ones and (prompt user to?) delete?
  • Or if it’s actually the same program [PDapp.exe] but it must only be executed from the QuickLaunch tray then could it detect that “state of misuse” and give a more helpful error nessage?
  • Would AAM benefit from more thorough development attention to its (direct or indirect) processes of error messaging?  For example could it do simple diagnostics (broadly like ping) to check network connectivity and rule that in/out (and inform the user).  Then maybe higher level protocol-tests (which might reveal that AAM version’s obsolescence or corruption)?

Groove Folder Synchronization? What’s that?

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

While recovering and auditing a laptop I came across “Groove Folder Synchronization.  I have vaguely come across its name before, but that’s all.

It’s apparently a dropbox-like thing (loosely-speaking), by Microsoft.


Adobe CC Suite (Premiere etc.): Migrating the Effects Plug-ins

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

I installed the new Adobe CC (which I had expected to be called “CS6.5” or “CS7”) suite of video production applications, primarily Premiere and After Effects.

However when I opened an existing project in Premiere, it gave error messages about missing effects, expected by that project. Ah yes, “that old chestnut…”.


  • From [C:\Program Files\Adobe\Common\Plug-ins\CS6\MediaCore]
  • Copy missing files to [C:\Program Files\Adobe\Common\Plug-ins\7.0\MediaCore]
    • (Incidentally, the FieldsKit3 plugin effect was already there)

Tried opening the project once more, and yes there were fewer error messages, but one remained: SpiceMASTER.

  • Search for [SpiceMASTER] in [C:\Program Files\Adobe]
    • Found in [Adobe Premiere Pro CS6\Plug-ins\en_US]
  • Look in CC’s equivalent folder
    • Note the files already there
    • From CS6 folder, copy over the missing files.

Yes that seems to have worked: The project now opens with no error messages and the expected effects are now all present in the Effects list in Premiere.


Mac OS: Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion: How?

Saturday, August 17th, 2013


My trusty old 2009-vintage MacBook is still running the Snow Leopard edition of Mac OS, 10.6.8.  I wondered whether I could upgrade it to Mountain Lion, direct or via intermediate versions, and also how to go about purchasing it, and at what cost.


The answer appears simple:

  • Yes, probably.  Check this and make purchase directly from Mac OS itself, simply by going to Mac OS Menu:[AppleIcon > Software Update… ]
  • Cost at time of writing is ???


I wonder whether FCP7 will still run on this new version of Mac OS, given that it has been end-of-life’d by Apple and in any case I never really liked it that much, especially with all its technical niggles, especially with regard to gamma level changes and quicktime versions that had to be “just right” (only discoverable in ad hoc manner by hunting through specialist forums). (more…)

YouTube Slide-Show Creation

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Lessons from creating a YouTube slide-show – which I did for the first time just now:
(Can’t recall exactly what I did, but it was approximately as follows)

To create a video from your own images via YouTube’s on-line timeline editor:

  • Ensure you are logged-on to YouTube under intended account
  • Upload (not dropdown) > Photo slideshow (Create)
  • -> Select the photos for your slideshow: Upload photos
  • Use [Advanced editor]
    • (Now you should see a video editing timeline)
    • Alter the image order, transitions, durations to suit
    • For a background-free lower-third text overlay:
      • Banner, set [Position]=[Bottom], [Text size]=[Small], [Opacity]=[0].
  • Select the Thumbnail.
  • Add text intro/comment.
  • etc.
  • SAVE

To specify the video as a response to one or more other videos:

  • Ensure you are logged-on to YouTube under intended account
  • Go to the target-video
  • Post (initially as if you were making a text comment)
  • Specify it as being a video-response
  • Select which of your videos you want to be the response.
  • SAVE

Xplorer2: A Far Richer Alternative to Windows Explorer

Monday, August 12th, 2013

I found, downloaded and am currently evaluating Xplorer2, a much more functional alternative to Windows Explorer.

My initial impressions of it are extremely favourable…


Replacement Hard Drive for MacBook Pro of 2009 Vintage

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Need a replacement for a failing drive in my MacBook:

My late-2009 MacBook Pro has been acting oddly, with corruptions, suggestive of a failing disk.  I suspect this was caused by the machine coming out of Sleep while travelling by car…

Replace with what kind of drive?

I could simply replace with an identical make and model to the original, which is:

  • According to W7 WindowsExplorer Properties:
    • ST9500420AS ATA Device
  • Printed on disk:
    • Seagate Momentus 7200.4
    • 500GB
    • WWN: 5000C500380A2AC9

On the other hand, I could see if there’s anything better I can rfeplace it with now, e.g. offering greater capacity and speed.  Of course, have to be careful to ensure capacity…

Following a web-search, and due consideration, my plan is:

  • SSD is possible, but may have to be careful about some technical issues in selection and ongoing system maintenance.  Also, given they cost a small number of hundreds of pounds, it is difficult to justify investing such an expensive component in a computer that, due to its age and visible wear-and-tear, is only worth about the same amount itself.
  • Hybrid SSHD is plug-compatible and looks the same to the OS as an ordinary HD, thus no technical complications should arise (no special configuration or ongoing maintenance).  Also, the price is below £100, which is justifiable for the described system.
  • Physically, to fit in the MacBook, the drive must have a SATA 2.5″ form factor and no more than 9.5 mm in height.

A recommended SSHD Drive:

  • Seagate 750GB Momentus XT hybrid
    •  ST750LX003
    • This (unlike larger 1TB variant) comes with 7200 rpm HD
    • It is available from Amazon:
      •  SATA 6Gb/s compatibility with NCQ for interface speed.
      • Product Dimensions    10 x 7 x 0.9 cm
      • Item model number    ST750LX003
      • Shock Tolerance:350 g @ 2ms (operating) / 1000 g @ 1ms (non-operating)
      • Interfaces:1 x Serial ATA-600, Compatible Bays:1 x internal – 2.5″ x 1/8H
      • Spindle Speed:7200 rpm
      • Drive Transfer Rate:600 MBps (external), Average Latency:4.2 ms
      • Non-Recoverable Errors:1 per 10^14
  • There is a 1TB variant but its spindle speed is only 5400 rpm


Windows Explorer: Sorting & Grouping & Boolean Filters

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Sapphire Activation/Registration: Machine-Lookup

Friday, August 9th, 2013

To discover on which machine (by name) your Sapphire is registered/activated, enter your Sapphire’s serial number into the following:

LightWorks: Will it Coexist with Adobe & Avid?

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

I expect so…


Windows Media Player doesn’t like Cineform

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

I have on many occasions double-clicked an AVI file on my system, only to have it come up in Windows Media Player, where it plays shakily, as if getting frames or fields alternated.  VLC won’t play it at all, I believe this is because VLC only uses its own internal codecs, which do not include Cineform.

It is nice to know that I am not alone in this experience:

  • (forum thread from 2008)
    • harshvfx
      • I view the footage and it is distorted. it shakes badly as if it is playing 2 things at once. one on the right and one on the left. But when it is in premier it looks fine.
    • Eugenia Loli-Queru:
      • DO NOT try to playback Cineform on WMP (I have the same problem too btw). It is not a viewing codec and it is obviously not optimized to work well with WMP. If your video editor supports Cineform correctly, then you need not to worry.
      • Try windows media player classic. Free for download on the net. If your computer is up to it you can play back CineForm AVIs without a hitch. With a quad core and good card you can actually use CineForm as a delivery format straight from the PC to an HDTV. I do. Looks fantastic.

Premiere CS6 on Windows 7 makes QT 10-bit crazy in “Max Bit Depth”

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

 Problem: 10-bit QuickTime (QT) Cineform footage in Premiere CS6 on Windows 7 looked ok with Sequence in 8-bit mode but crazy (mostly noise) when same Sequence was in “Maximum bit depth” mode.

Solution: Re-wrap the footage as AVI-Cineform (or else use Premiere CS5.5 or a different NLE).

I posted this on the Adobe Premiere forum at

Windows Performance-Tuning

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

The following is aimed at Windows Vista, but I think (though being no expert) thatmuch of it applies equally to Windows 7:

Video with 10-bit Channels: Update: Sony Vegas (12) Handles it OK

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

In my post I reported that when I imported 10-bit footage to Sony Vegas 10, even in 32-bit mode, it still appeared to act as if only using 8-bit footage.

Since then, I re-did the test for Sony Vegas 12.  I applied a 10-bit recording from a CineDeck, in QuickTime (.mov) containing Cineform 10-bit, taken from SDI output of a Sony EX3 camera.  In that case, Vegas 12, with 32-bit (Video Levels) mode, did correctly make use of the 10 bits, as verified by bands on the vectorscope on dark areas of high-alpha-increased underexposed footage.

One thing I noted was the tendency of 8-bit to round-down.  Consequently, when switching project to 32-bit mode (hence 10-bits used), the dark levels visibly (and on vectorscope) brightened.  I guess better compatibility would in that case be obtained (in that NLE or by pre-processing the footage) by first subtracting “4” from the 10-bit levels, since the “2^4” represented by those extra 2 bits would in 8-bit format not exist, hence effectively would be rounded-down.  Or maybe the offset should be 1 less than this, i.e. subtract 3 (depends how the rounding gets done).

Workarounds would be to either pre-process the 10-bit footage (to subtract the offset) or else, less conveniently, apply a levels effect to increase the input minimum level by that amount.  But would be awkward and may or may-not work, depending on Vegas 12 nuances.  Something to be tested!

Adobe Premiere Pro CC …is the version after CS6, *should* co-exist with it

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013


Today my Adobe updater reported that a bunch of new Apps, all with a “CC” suffix, were available.  This naming confused me: was this the new version after CS6?  Or was it some kind of  collaborative bloatware I didn’t need right now?    Such confusion arose because I had expected the new version to be called something like CS6.5 or CS7.

  • Premiere Pro CC is the new version after CS6, Adobe have chosen not to name it numerically e.g. CS7.

OK but then the recurring (every version) question: if I install this new version, will it coexist with the old one or will it wipe it out?

  • According to a websearch (as below), they should coexist.  But I haven’t tried it yet.