If you live in California and have been eyeing some camera gear on Amazon, you might want to bust out your wallet and make the purchase this week. On September 15th, 2012, Amazon will start collecting sales tax for purchases made from California. The tax rate ranges from 7.25% to 9.75% depending on where you live, so the cost difference could be quite significant depending on what you buy. For a $1,500 camera or lens, the tax could be as heavy as $150.
Bad news for photographers in Southern California: the Los Angeles Police Department issued a notice regarding its official terrorism handling policy earlier this week, and the document still identifies photographers as potential terrorists. The intradepartmental correspondence, sent out by the Chief of Police, warns officers about the following:
Photography. Taking pictures or videos of facilities/buildings, infrastructures or protected sites in a manner that would arouse suspicion in a reasonable person. Examples include taking pictures or videos of ingress/egress, delivery locations, personnel performing security functions (e.g., patrol, badge/vehicle checking), security-related equipment (e.g., perimeter fencing, security cameras), etc.;
Observation/Surveillance. Demonstrating unusual interest in facilities/buildings, infrastructures or protected sites beyond mere casual or professional (e.g., engineers) interest, such that a reasonable person would consider the activity suspicious. Examples include observations through binoculars, taking notes, attempting to measure distances, etc. …
Dennis Romero of L.A. Weekly writes that “the LAPD is now poised to detain and question half the L.A. Weekly staff.”
Remember Facebook’s “zombie photo” problem? Photos that users deleted on the website actually remained very much alive on Facebook’s servers, available to anyone who held on to the images’ URLs. Earlier this year Facebook acknowledged the issue and promised changes that would ensure permanent deletion within 45 days.
Now, it appears that Facebook has honored its word. The company tells Ars Technica that deleted photographs are now vaporized from the web within 30 days — a claim that Ars has confirmed through tests.
In mid-January, Nikon sent an letter out to independent camera repair technicians across the US, informing them that “it will no longer make repair parts available for purchase by repair facilities that have not been authorized by Nikon Inc. to perform camera repairs.” After July 13th, 2012, unauthorized repair shops will no longer be able to repair Nikon cameras — a huge part of their business — with official manufacturer-approved parts. iFixit writes,
Scott Jarvie, a full-time photographer, outlined his concerns with the policy in a detailed Google+ post. He demonstrates how silly the new policy seems by comparing cameras to cars. What if your car broke, and you went to your favorite mechanic, but he told you that you’re out of luck? Though he could fix your car by tomorrow, your car’s manufacturer will no longer allow him to buy the necessary parts. Instead, you have to send your car to your car manufacturer’s own repair shop (which, if we’re taking this analogy all the way, has a much poorer BBB rating than your own local shop) or one of two dozen manufacturer-authorized repair shops—oh, you don’t live near one of those? There’s not even one in your state? Too bad. Forget driving to work this week; you’re going to have to ship in your car.
If you want to speak out against this new policy, there’s an online petition you can sign that has already raised thousands of signatures.
How Nikon is Killing Camera Repair [iFixit]
Image credit: No more photos temporarily by Stefan Marks
Adobe caused a stir last November after changing its upgrade policy to only cover one version back instead of three. This meant that only Photoshop CS5 owners would qualify for the upgrade price on CS6 when it’s launched, leaving CS3 and CS4 owners the not-so-nice option of buying the CS5 upgrade before buying the CS6 one. Perhaps in response to the angry customer response, Adobe announced a “special offer” for CS3 and CS4 owners today:
[...] we want to make sure our customers have plenty of time to determine which offering is best for them. Therefore, we’re pleased to announce that we will offer special introductory upgrade pricing on Creative Suite 6 to customers who own CS3 or CS4. This offer will be available from the time CS6 is released until December 31, 2012.
We’ll find out just how much of a discount those users will receive once CS6 is released. It also appears that Adobe isn’t planning to restore the old upgrade policy — today’s announcement is more of a one-time fix for angry customers.
(via Adobe via John Nack)
Image credit: Adobe Creative Sweet CS5 by pcfishhk
If you’ve been waiting to upgrade Photoshop CS3 or CS4 to CS6 when it’s released sometime next year, here’s some bad news: the upgrade price won’t apply to you. Starting with CS6, Adobe will be enforcing a new upgrade policy:
[...] we are changing our policy for perpetual license customers. In order to qualify for upgrade pricing when CS6 releases, customers will need to be on the latest version of our software (either CS5 or CS5.5 editions). If our customers are not yet on those versions, we’re offering a 20% discount through December 31, 2011 which will qualify them for upgrade pricing when we release CS6.
The existing policy is that customers with software from three versions back quality for upgrade pricing. For example, owners of CS2, CS3, and CS4 and upgrade to CS5. Buying the full version of Photoshop CS5 right now costs nearly $500, while the upgrade is only priced at ~$150.
(via Adobe via PhotoWalkthrough)
Image credit: Adobe CS5 nude by pcsiteuk
According to Nikon Rumors, Nikon has introduced a new Unilateral Pricing Policy on DSLR gear sold in the US that will take effect on October 16th. Saying that the policy is “designed to allow customers to make purchasing decisions based on service provided and not have to worry about hunting for a better price”, Nikon plans to withhold sales to any store caught pricing equipment below “national prices” that the company will set for each product.
Apparently Nikon has decide to save some trees (and shipping weight) by no longer including user manuals in some of its digital cameras. Since most people likely never touch the manuals anyway, it’s not really a problem, but the company’s draconian stance towards downloadable instruction manuals has some customers grumbling.
One of the big complaints users (or ex-users) have against Flickr is that its account deletion process is often unexpected and almost always permanent. Many users — even paid subscribers — have found their accounts deleted and have had no way of appealing and no chance of recovering their data. Flickr finally addressed the issue today by changing its deletion policy — data is now stored for 90 days on the server after accounts are deleted, giving users a chance to appeal. Huzzah!
Your photos and data on Flickr [Flickr Blog]
Image credit: delete by Vitor Sá – Virgu
The White House is ending its long-running practice of reenacting speeches for still photographs after the controversy was rekindled last week by President Obama’s Osama bin Laden speech.
After Obama’s live, late-evening address from the East Room of the White House on May 1, five photographers were ushered in to shoot pictures as the president stood at the podium and re-read a few lines of his speech – a practice that news organizations have protested for years.
Even though The Associated Press and other news outlets said in captions to the photos that they were taken after the president delivered his address, many people who saw them may have assumed they depicted the speech itself. That raised questions of whether news organizations were staging an event. [#]
Today a spokesperson for the President stated, “We have concluded that this arrangement is a bad idea,” and that the administration is working on a new method for photojournalists to make photographs of actual speeches.
White House Announces End To Re-Enactments For News Photographers (via Rob Galbraith)