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Apple Dumps Most of Aperture Dev. Team 305

Posted by Zonk
from the smart-guys-looking-for-work dept.
SuperMog2002 writes "An article over at Think Secret is reporting that Apple has fired much of the Aperture development team. The Shake and Motion team was assigned to work on Aperture's image processing pipeline for version 1.1. Apple has also dropped the price of Aperture from $499 to $299, and is offering those who purchased the program at $499 a $200 Apple store coupon." From the article: "Perhaps the greatest hope for Aperture's future is that the application's problems are said to be so extensive that any version 2.0 would require major portions of code to be entirely rewritten. With that in mind, the bell may not yet be tolling for Aperture; an entirely new engineering team could salvage the software and bring it up to Apple's usual standards."
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Apple Dumps Most of Aperture Dev. Team

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  • by Gunfighter (1944)
    Any Aperture users out there know what the problems were or perhaps have a link to a list of the problems?
    • Well, it looks like the RAW processing was both slow and gave unacceptably poor results, the program was buggy and at least one review called it 'unusable in its current form.'
      • by jcr (53032) <[jcr] [at] [mac.com]> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:47AM (#15212169) Journal
        The fact is, RAW data doesn't look very good, but Apple showed it with as little alteration as possible, because customers had said that's what they wanted. The RAW importer in Aperture 1.0 showed what was really there, without the prettying-up that the cameras do when they convert to JPEG, or that Photoshop does when it coverts RAW to TIFF.

        Several reviewers, including the clown at ARS technica who is admittedly not a pro photographer, and had probably never seen RAW data in his life, complained that it didn't look like images that had been through Adobe's converter.

        -jcr
        • by NutscrapeSucks (446616) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @11:18AM (#15212471)
          The flamefest at Ars Technica about that was actually quite informative. RAW really is a raw dump of Camera sensors and looks like nothing without being "prettyed-up". So's apparently it is incorrect to say that Apple wasn't manipulating the RAW, they just weren't doing it to the same level of other products.
        • by ChrisA90278 (905188) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @11:21AM (#15212507)
          "customers had said that's what they wanted." That's something as a software engineer I learned years ago. Customers don't really know what they want. What you have to do is work with the and get to know them well enough that you get to know what they need. Aperture was not a total failure. It does most of what isneeded but Version 1.0 was not at all ready to be realeased. Aple should have done what Adobe did with Lightroom. They called the first release "Beta" and made it a free download. Adobe gets comments from real customers and no one is upset with Adobe because they didn't pay anything. But Adobe gets free feedback from real users The other thing in Apple's favor is that no one knows what one of these kinds of programs should do. Spreadsheets are mature, we know what one should do but these "raw workflow programs"? What are they? Apple was breaking new ground and taking a risk. Get them credit for that.
        • That's somewhat valuable, but unfortunately it doesn't provide very usable results if the processed images look poor, as you suggest. When you use a RAW converter that comes with the camera, like Canon's Digital Photo Professional, the software includes camera-specific profiles that allow it to compensate for the weaknesses of each camera in distinct ways (noise reduction is a very big part of this). Adobe has done a decent job mimicking these algorithms for each camera's RAW files (not a small task), thoug
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 27, 2006 @12:19PM (#15213100)
          I keep seeing references to the "non-pro" "clown over at Ars Technica" who reviewed Aperture, but you know what, I thought the Ars review was quite solid, not only because his reasons for his opinions were legitimate, but also because his conclusions were corroborated by many other reviewers who have more "cred." I HAVE worked with RAW files, and after reading his review I concluded that the Ars review was fine.

          jcr also reveals his own lack of knowledge about RAW by claiming that "The RAW importer in Aperture 1.0 showed what was really there, without the prettying-up..." That is flat-out wrong. RAW files have no intrinsic appearance. They are a single-channel grayscale file that is interpreted into three-channel RGB. There is no such thing as an "unaltered" RAW file because every RAW file must be interpreted using a set of assumptions. Every RAW converter is coded with its own set of assumptions as to what a "good" image looks like. It is much like printing from color negative film (as opposed to color positive film).

          You need to understand that in order to understand the next point. Because there can be no "reference image," there really is no 100% right or wrong interpretation. So how could Aperture make an image that looks "right" with respect to user expectations? For that you have to understand what user expectations are based on. User expectations are based on the conversion performed by each camera maker's own RAW converter. Those are the individual targets Apple tried to hit.

          The Adobe converter engineers, on the other hand, believe that most camera software makes images that have too much contrast and clipping and lack shadow detail. In other words, Adobe believes most camera defaults are aimed at making nice snapshots. The Adobe converter's interpretation is based on this philosophy. A certain number of users believe the Adobe conversions look better. Those who believe (rightly or wrongly) that the camera maker's interpretation are gospel tend to think the Adobe conversions look worse and Aperture looks better.

          Every default raw conversion will involve a certain amount of image processing, sharpening, etc. that was not present in the original RAW data, and it is for that reason and the reasons in the previous paragraphs that jcr's statement is incorrect.
          • Re: Not really fair (Score:3, Informative)

            by HuguesT (84078)
            Personally I think that your reply makes perfect sense, and I'll add that if the camera manufacturers were so sure of themselves they would not think there would be any point in producing RAW files out of their cameras (TIFF would be adequate).

            On the contrary, new methods and algorithms to produce better output out of the Bayer-like mosaic of most sensors are published if not every week at least at each new major Image Processing conference. The whole point of RAW is to allow future such algorithms to be us
    • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:04AM (#15211792) Homepage Journal
      There's a good list of bugs at ars's review of aperture [arstechnica.com]

      The one people complained about most is the thumbnails not matching the actual image (and there's reports of this happenning in iPhoto too).
      • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:54AM (#15212225) Homepage Journal
        I think before you put TOO much weight on the Ars review, you should take into consideration what jcr said above [slashdot.org], because I think it's an important point.

        Saying that Aperture's output isn't as pretty as Photoshop's is like complaining that your photos look shittier on slides than on prints, without taking into consideration that with the slide you're looking at your own (and the camera's) handiwork and nothing else, while with the print you're looking at something that's been optimized by someone else (the printer) to look good.

        The speed problems are unacceptable though. I just thought the Aperture/Photoshop comparison wasn't a great one; although it's odd to say it, Photoshop has become a "mid grade" application, I think Aperture was going for an even 'more-pro' crowd than the average Photoshop user.

        I think in retrospect Apple is realizing maybe that market is smaller than they originally thought.
        • I think you've accidentally replied to the wrong post.

          I didn't say "Aperture's output isn't as pretty as Photoshop's" or mention the speed problem - the only bug I specifically mentioned was the thumbnailing one.

          This application is designed to speed processing of thousands of photos. If the thumbnails don't match the picture then it is unusable.

          I note that I am the only Mac Fanboy in this discussion who's mentioned that particular bug. Everyone else seems to be concentrating on Aperture's other shortomings.
      • by kuwan (443684)
        Except that these are bugs for Aperture 1.0. Now that 1.1 has been released I wonder how many of these are still an issue.

        Also, there are problems with the Ars review. It starts out by saying that "Aperture is not a competitor to Photoshop" but then goes on to review Aperture as if it were a competitor to Photoshop. Basically it glosses over some of Aperture's strongest features, completely leaving out many of them, and then compares Aperture directly with Photoshop. The reviewer forgets that Aperture i
    • by pixelated77 (472348) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:06AM (#15211804)
      Check out Ars Technica's Aperture 1.0 reviwe:
      http://arstechnica.com/reviews/apps/aperture.ars [arstechnica.com]
    • by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) * on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:15AM (#15211887)
      Not an Aperture user, but I was struck by the review in Popular Photography that made some apologies for the horsepower needed to run it. Yes, imaging is tough, but the program was apparently too slow to test unless it was installed on the absolutely most-tricked-out, highly-upgraded Power Mac G5 you can lay your hands on. Usually, the creampuff reviews from such magazines will give this sort of thing only the barest mention. The fact that the review actually talked about it for a few sentences told me that the program had problems.

      I really hate having to read between the lines of reviews from mainstream outfits. That's why I love my online sources.
      • by kuwan (443684)
        Actually, when using Aperture the Graphics card is the most important part of your machine. You don't need the fastest G5 with 4 or 8 GB of memory (though it always helps), what you need is a very fast Graphics card. This has been very hard for many people to understand because traditional programs like Photoshop rely almost solely on the CPU for their speed. Aperture is an entirely different program because it relies very heavily on the GPU for its speed.

        I'd guess that the low end G5 (Dual-core 2.0 GHz)
  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:03AM (#15211782)
    Apple had a "bug-ridden" program, due to the (bad) "architecture", where the development process was a "mess" - so they fired the (whole) team responsible. Just a thought.
    • by Tweekster (949766) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:43AM (#15212125)
      In related news Microsoft has fired 60,994 employees leaving 6 people working at the company...
      • In related news Microsoft has fired 60,994 employees leaving 6 people working at the company...

        Which are Bill Gate, Steve Ballmer, Jim Allchin, Brian Valentine, Will Poole and Chris Jones

        (sources : minimsft [blogspot.com], microsoft [microsoft.com])

        I can't wait for the MS Vista relase ! How impressive it will be !
      • by PsychicX (866028)
        The parent is of course comic, but readers going down the replies will find two posts (at least one from an Apple employee) indicating that none of the engineering team was fired. The people who were fired were middle management, and let's face it, nobody likes the managers anyway. They're there because they need to be, however incompetent and useless. And the same applies to MS. They could stand to lose some of management too.
    • Don't forget, this is Think Secret, who hasn't been right about anything for nine months now. Where is our touchscreen video iPod, our Mac mini PVR, our "iPhone," etc.?

      It's weird how in tech journalism, you can get away with being wrong about nearly everything for almost a year and still get your stories read.
  • Standards? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:04AM (#15211788)
    an entirely new engineering team could salvage the software and bring it up to Apple's usual standards.

    For a reference, the "Apple's usual standards for software" are "the best application in the Universe" (tm), that's tought to achieve.

    They might as well fire all of their Windows ports division as well, QuickTime/iTunes on Windows is a piece of cr*p.
    • ... isn't it? Although I use a Mac Mini most of the time, my work PC with Windows 2000 makes some beautiful music with the latest version of iTunes. What's so bad about it? Seems to function precisely as it does in Mac OSX, my iPod syncs beautifully, etc ... what makes it so awful?

      I remember installing QuickTime and some of the preferences are a wee bit clunky, but no more so than **chuckle** Windows Media Player **shudder**.

      • iTunes is (IMO) a good piece of software functionality-wise, but it is sooooo slooooooow. It can take a couple of minutes to start up on my (reasonably fast) PC, and normally takes another minute before it's noticed that the iPod is plugged in.
      • by suv4x4 (956391) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @11:12AM (#15212414)
        "... isn't it? Although I use a Mac Mini most of the time, my work PC with Windows 2000 makes some beautiful music with the latest version of iTunes. What's so bad about it?"

        Installs services that take up RAM and CPU even if an iPod isn't attached? Is terribly slow to resize compared to a normal XP application? Is taking too much RAM and CPU for what it is?

        Also iTuned doesn't "make some beautiful music", it just plays it, but I guess Steve had you people convinved otherwise. There's some magical filter in it that makes music the best in the universe, doesn't it?

        "I remember installing QuickTime and some of the preferences are a wee bit clunky, but no more so than **chuckle** Windows Media Player **shudder**."

        It takes ages to start, has horrible interface (slightly improved in version 9 but still very odd) for a Windows application, crashes way too much in Firefox (brings the whole Firefox down one time of 4 when there's a QT movie: crashes in the QT dll), crashes one time out of four when I click a high definition trailer link on apple.com?

        It's very slow to go in and out of full screen mode and sometimes displays odd interpolation artifacts (seen neither in WMP or other media players)?

        What more reasons can I have to not like it?
      • by xant (99438)
        1. Doesn't remember where I was in the playlist when I shut it down. That's fine if you always randomize, but I have hundreds of tracks in my collection and most of them are meant to be played in sequence (ambient, classical, etc.).
        2. Ogg support sucks. I had to install a 3rd-party plugin, and there's noticable pauses at the beginnings of ogg tracks.
        3. Has a system tray icon, but still appears in the taskbar.
        4. Doesn't use global HID-device keys. For example, winamp pauses when i hit the pause key, no ma
    • They might as well fire all of their Windows ports division as well, QuickTime/iTunes on Windows is a piece of cr*p.

      I'm not an Apple fanboy, but it seems to me that it's rather easy to just toss out an "iTunes is crap" type comment with no explanation at all. What exactly do you find deficient? Do you feel that QuickTime and iTunes work better or have functionality missing in the Windows version? My biggest complaint about them both is that they are too simple and have been dumbed down too much. Somet
      • My biggest complaint about them both is that they are too simple and have been dumbed down too much. Sometimes I have problems doing very simple functions on both because I assume incorrectly that sure you have do more than step X to make it work because that's how most other software works, but I have always been able to figure out how to do what I wanted even if it took a few tries because I wasn't looking for the simplest way possible. That is part of what has made Apple so successful - any idiot can fig
      • I'm not an Apple fanboy, but it seems to me that it's rather easy to just toss out an "iTunes is crap" type comment with no explanation at all.

        That's because if you ever used it on Windows, explanation is not needed.

        But the explanation is that in terms of startup times, RAM, CPU, speed and responsiveness, it's on par with 3DSMax or Photoshop, except those are big heavy professional apps with lots of components, and iTuned/QT are just a damn media player (with a library and a browser pane, in the case of iTu
  • I heard... (Score:5, Funny)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:05AM (#15211802)
    I heard they're bringing Woz back to fix it all up nice and purty...
  • by ThousandStars (556222) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:06AM (#15211803) Homepage
    The Ars Technica Mac Achaia already has a discussion about the Aperture issue here [arstechnica.com], and the consensus seems to be that this is more likely a reorganization than a sign of Aperture becoming abandon-ware.

    Before posting conspiracy theories and such, you may want to read what others have to say.

    • by znu (31198) <znu.public@gmail.com> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:18AM (#15211910)
      Mac rumors sites have made mistakes like this before. There was one famous case where they confidently predicted the iMac was being canceled, because some sources at the company which had the manufacturing contract reported that the contract wasn't being renewed. Of course, it turned out that was because Apple had signed a new production contract with someone else.

      I suspect the discussion over at Ars is right, and this is really just a reorganization. A lot of the technologies Aperture uses (including RAW image processing) are actually operating system features, so it might make sense to fold the people working on that stuff into the OS development team. The article rather overstates Aperture's problems. I find it to be a very useful program. The RAW processing was never all that bad (at least for my camera), and got better with the 1.1 release. I seriously doubt the program would require major rewrites to 'fix', since there really isn't all that much wrong with it.

      The article also sort of tries to spin Apple's price cut as evidence that maybe the app is in trouble, but I'd say it actually shows the opposite. If Apple didn't care anymore, they wouldn't have bothered. To me, the price cut says they're trying to pick up as many users as they can, in preparation for the battle with Adobe that we'll see when Lightroom is completed.
    • The headline says that Apple is dumping the dev team, not the program itself.
  • Aperture 1.1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:11AM (#15211861)
    I don't think anyone's saying that Aperture 1.0 had some bugs and problems (as a 1.0 release of a MAJOR product), and the recently released major update, Aperture 1.1 [apple.com], addresses many of these (not to mention making the application Universal for PowerPC and Intel).

    Apple may feel that Aperture's architecture needs to be completely retooled, but it's not going to kill one of its pro software products that has been out for mere months, especially one that was desired as much as Aperture. Apple just needs to figure out internally which teams are going to be responsible for ongoing development and/or retooling.

    Yes, Aperture has had mixed reviews, but many people already love it and are basing their entire workflows on it. It's not like it's the incapable piece of utter shit Think Secret makes it out to be. (Gotta love Think Secret's sensationalism lately...must be bitter about becoming progressively more and more wrong about almost all of their pre-event predictions.)
    • Doh, of course the first line should read:

      "I don't think anyone's saying that Aperture 1.0 didn't have some bugs and problems..."
    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @11:22AM (#15212511)
      Yes, Aperture has had mixed reviews, but many people already love it and are basing their entire workflows on it. It's not like it's the incapable piece of utter shit Think Secret makes it out to be.

      Actually, it is pretty bad.

      • Like every other "Pro" application, Apple seems to throw the entire Mac UI out the window. All the UI elements get tiny, and start behaving strangely. Dialog boxes you can't escape out of look like Windoids- and in one case, I hit "delete" while a text field wasn't selected in the Windoid, and Aperture trapped the delete in the main window instead, and deleted a photo! What the?
      • The backup system sucks- you can't archive anything conveniently (you have to export projects by hand, remember where you put them, etc). That flies in the face of how almost every pro photographer works. Aperture instead only allows you to basically rsync the Aperture folder (oops, I mean, Library) to another disk, aka "Vault", and if you delete a "master", on the next sync, it deletes it from the "Vault" as well. There is no way to reconcile specific differences from Vaults; it's an all-or-nothing system to make it as fast+easy to implement as possible.
      • Aperture can wedge the system so badly during an import that clicking on a menu in the Finder (nothing else open), the system takes 10+ seconds to respond. On a Macbook with 1GB of ram.
      • You create a project. You have 700 photos. You've already sorted them, or they are different days, etc. Anyway- you want to logically seperate them out and only have ONE master in ONE folder. Nope, sorry, can't do that- masters reside in the Project all together. If you import a folder with 6 subfolders, the main folder is created as a folder, and the subfolders are created as "albums". The wonderful joy with albums is that a "version" can be in multiple albums.
      • You can't use != in any of the smart folder/album/whatevers. Let's say I want to find all images in my project that I haven't tagged with "adjusted" (more on why this is necessary below); I can't.
      • Aperture lets you assign plenty of metadata, but can't make smart folders based on steps in a workflow. I import an image, rank it, then adjust it, fix rotation, crop, etc. I want to be able to set up smart folders based on those steps to show me only what is left to do in any particular category. Nope! I have to create custom metadata buttons/tags to do it.
      • Stack multiple adjustments, and Aperture turns into a total pig loading the photo. Some adjustments are clearly not "accelerated". My personal favorite is the rotate mechanism; it takes a half second to a second to update as you tweak it.
      • A lot of tools are less than elegant, if not downright annoying. For example, in Capture One, you can draw a line along what should be vertical in the photo, and Capture One rotates the image to make it vertical. Aperture forces you to grab a corner of the photo and rotate the whole thing until it sorta kinda looks like it is right. Stupid.
      • Aperture is almost completely undocumented on a functional level. Photoshop's manual will tell you what each and every slider does, its implications, and advises on its use. Aperture? "There are tint controls available in the Exposure adjustment." So- why would I want to use that over white balance adjustment tools, or Levels? No idea...
      • Certain JPEG exports are massively oversharpened (example- "size within 900x600" produces this result.) That said, a full-resoluton export looks pretty gorgeous; I think the RAW converter has improved substantially, though I don't think it is as good as Capture One yet.

      That's just a small smatterng of the problems I've found with 1.1...

      • Like every other "Pro" application, Apple seems to throw the entire Mac UI out the window. All the UI elements get tiny, and start behaving strangely. Dialog boxes you can't escape out of look like Windoids- and in one case, I hit "delete" while a text field wasn't selected in the Windoid, and Aperture trapped the delete in the main window instead, and deleted a photo! What the?

        The reason non-modal dialogues are used heavily in Pro apps is because they are more flexible, and offer a much faster workflow rat
    • , and the recently released major update, Aperture 1.1, addresses many of these

      Yes, it appears to have addressed many of those problems. However, it also appears to have introduced a major new flaw [apple.com] - the White Balance tool is now completely broken. Quoting the Apple forums:

      White Balance tool used on a standard gray card, gives these results:

      R: 153
      G: 131
      B: 111

      Whoopsie - I think Apple need to 'reorganise' their QA team as well....

  • Rebate?? (Score:5, Funny)

    by dumpsterdiver (542329) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:20AM (#15211931)
    Apple is rebating for software already sold, because it isn't good enough for their standards? My god, what would happen if Microsoft had to live by these standards?

    • Re:Rebate?? (Score:2, Funny)

      by Jerom (96338)
      We'd all be zillionaires by now.

      ***WARNING***

      It'a joke OK? A JOKE!!!
      If you mod me down I will become more powerfull than you could ever imagine,... or something.

      *grin*

      J.
    • Bill wouldn't have millions of your dollars to donate to charity.

      OH PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

      hehehehe. I so hate that loser.

      Tom
    • I think it's crap that they give you a $200 voucher for the Apple store. If the consumer overpaid give them their money back. Not a flippin' voucher.

      So to answer your question, if MS did the same thing for their buggy software, users would just get a voucher to purchase more MS products that they may or may not really want.
      • The reason stores/companies do this is not to "trick" the customer, but because it would cost them *lot* more money to do this, not because of the refunds, but in lawyer/consultant fees to verify that tax laws and rates hadn't changed since the person originally bought the product. If they just give you a rebate to spend at their store, you've already paid the taxes on whatever you'll buy, so they don't have to do any of that.
      • Rebates and vouchers and gift cards are SO POPULAR in business. I have actually been a meeting and seen the numbers on rebates and I've seen the focus group data.

        In most people's mind a voucher or gift card or rebate is 80% as good as getting actual money. In other words, the company gets 80% of the "benefit" from a voucher.

        On the other hand, they pay around 20%. That's right. My company did a $99 rebate on the product I worked on (a consumer electronics hardware/software product) and only 20% of the custom
  • Isn't Apple the original strategic partnership company? Aldus, Adobe and Quark...

    Guess their partners weren't strategic enough.

    • Maybe they're at the same party, but Adobe hasn't been Apple's date for a while.

      For years now there's been competition between the two companies in one spot or another. Adobe's CEO, Bruce Chizen, made some rather cutting remarks a few years back about the Mac OS generally, and last April described the relationship as "like a marriage where you're in it for the kids." [macworld.co.uk] Adobe generally has grown in Windows markets more than with the Mac -- with products like Acrobat -- and has made a point of saying so.

      Qua

  • by bananaendian (928499) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:28AM (#15211985) Homepage Journal
    Just an observation: Apple's website's frontpage ad [apple.com] for the new 17" MacBookPro has Aperture on it's screen. If Aperture was so crap and dead as some are suggesting Apple woundn't use it in their advertising for their latest flagship product.
  • Ongoing litigation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:33AM (#15212044)
    Considering the ongoing litigation "Apple vs. Does" and the fact that "Nick de Plume" of Think Secret fame may be involved, I wouldn't believe ANY information coming out of Think Secret.

    From what I've seen, Aperture is a great application that stumbled out of the blocks with some performance issues and fairly poor handling of many devices' RAW formats. The 1.1 update has resolved the bulk of these issues.

    If Aperture has any problem, it's that it is a solution in search of a problem. Most amateur photographers' needs are met with iPhoto. Most professional digital photographers are slow to adopt new technologies, because they directly impact the bottom line. It takes time to learn new applications and new methods of working; time that could be better spent working with clients and making money.

    Aperture also has direct competition in the form of Adobe Lightroom.

    In any case, I find it highly unlikely that Apple has dissolved the development team for an application that just released a 1.1 update and a universal binary to positive reviews. And with the recent price drop, Apple clearly wants to get this application in the hands of the users.

    Think Secret is wrong on this one. Perhaps they are wrong on purpose. Could they be intentionally smearing the application in the press? Were they paid off to do so by Adobe?

    Hmmm.
    • I don't see any reason to doubt it. Nick de Plume may be concerned when, say, someone who has a job in Steve Job's office rings him up and notifies him that Apple are about to launch the new iBox 360 (or some other similar rumour); but what exactly would be the legal comeback if an employee who has been fired from Apple phones him up and tells him he's been fired and the department has been disbanded, and, as there's not much more Apple can do to him at this time, it's ok to make public the name is Apple co
  • by stanwirth (621074) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:40AM (#15212103)

    Bibble [bibblelabs.com] is better, and was started by one guy in his garage that wanted some decent SW for the raw files coming off of his digital camera. At least four developers have touched it over the years...i.e. small, smart and agile development team. I think they're pretty cool. The principal developer/entrepreneur Eric Hyman gladly does the support, and he's a very nice guy besides. The SW is QT based and they do extensive testing on Mac (their professional customer base), Linux (where they get many helpful comments) and Windows. They have a freeware version. The whole series of changes you make to an image are stored as an .XML file, which lets you edit it and script a systematic image-processing stream to apply to whole shoots once you pointy-clicky on a representative image to see what works. Reputed to have the best white-balance algorithm in the business. They're usually the first to decode a new obfuscated raw file format for new cameras, too.

  • Apple recently asked the engineering team behind its Aperture photo editing and management software to leave, Think Secret has learned
    Microsoft and others would kill for fan sites like this - they love Apple so much that they make firings seem polite and cordial.

    I've always found that particular phrasing ("asked to leave") sorta funny - what if they said no?

    • I've always found that particular phrasing ("asked to leave") sorta funny - what if they said no?

      "It would be a shame if anything happened to that nice new MacBook Pro of yours. But accidents will happen..."

      -matthew
    • It's all about benefits (I suspect).

      If employee voluntarily leaves the job, they aren't eligible for unemployment. I imagine that there are things in the tax code that save the employer money in that case (anyone?). At the very least, 'firing' someone is difficult, unless the company is downsizing. In exchange for compliance, the company will give glowing reviews of the employee.

      Of course, if you make things difficult and expensive for the employer, they probably won't be a very good reference...
  • aperture performance (Score:2, Informative)

    by derniers (792431)
    Aperture pegs both processors on an MBP but then so does Lightroom.... as to bugs there are about 13,000 posts on the Apple discussion site http://discussions.apple.com/index.jspa [apple.com] and there are probably about the same number in the Lightroom forums.... while I like most Apple apps I've been using Lightroom (so far) but it has its own "features".... both apps still seem like betas to me, both Apple and Adobe are going with interfaces unlike those in their other apps and each approach has some pluses and mi
  • by kuwan (443684) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:50AM (#15212197) Homepage
    When I read the article on ThinkSecret, which is entirely a rumor, I thought to myself "I wonder how long it will take for this unfounded rumor to spread as if it were fact through the Internet like wildfire." Well, obviously the answer to that is not very long.

    It's also obvious that whoever wrote the ThinkSecret article hasn't actually used Aperture. While Aperture is not perfect it does many thing much better than anyone else and some things that no else does. It's multi-monitor support is better than any other application on the market. And its photo organization and rating features are among the best. In my opinion Aperture was designed very well. Sure there are bugs, but it's only at 1.1 right now which is a good improvement over 1.0.

    I don't think that Aperture will be going away any time soon.
  • Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

    by jcr (53032) <[jcr] [at] [mac.com]> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:51AM (#15212201) Journal
    I know two of the engineers who wrote Aperture. They have both moved to other groups, one to Application Frameworks, and one to CoreImage. In each case, their new job is a higher-profile position. If there had been a round of firings of the Aperture developers, I would have heard about it.

    -jcr
    • Just curios what happened to the original Shake which was so popular for compositing pipelines at animation studios, on Linux in particular. Is it largely abandoned and did Apple expect them to migrate to Aperture on OSX.
  • I was on the team... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:54AM (#15212227)
    Posting anonymously for obvious reasons.

    Most of the team was not fired, they simply found new positions in Apple once 1.0 was completed because the project management was too shoddy. For instance I am now back working on Mac OS X. Most of the management however has been fired.

    Aperture is not being abandoned but is just being reorganised.

    Many of the problems in Aperture were caused, not fixed, by the Shake and Motion teams contributions. Originally the rendering pipeline, based on Core Image, was working fine but it was decided to speed it up so over a period of 4 months it was rewritten. It has never worked correctly since then.
    • by tknn (675865)
      Sounds like someone passing the buck here. While Aperture works, Apple obviously realises the given the codebase is crap, the work expended thus far gives them nothing to build on. Obviously with Lightroom out already in beta, Apple is now in a competition that they probably won't win because of the huge advantages Adobe has in leveraging Photoshop and cross-platform flow. If Adobe starts to really push integration with asset management software across all three programs then Apple will be completely out in
      • Obviously with Lightroom out already in beta, Apple is now in a competition that they probably won't win because of the huge advantages Adobe has in leveraging Photoshop and cross-platform flow.

        All that Lightroom can really borrow though is the conversion engine (ACR) whcih they already have - as far as the other features Aperture has there's really not much Lightroom can borrow from Photoshop, because it's a fundamnetally different kind of applciation not built for working on pixels.

        I would say Lightroom i
  • I've been on quite a few software project ranging from small to big over the last few years.

    Most of the time, if the entire thing requires a complete re-write, its not because the individual programmers are bad, its because of a lack of organization and planning at the beginning stages. Could be the fault of a team leader or lead architect (or whatever terms you choose to use).

    It's easy to program, its hard to design software in a well organized, modular, scalable way. And it requires good leadership... App
  • How can you fire programmers for a group failure? Normally a sacking that
    quick only results from gross misconduct. How can any individual coder
    be accused of gross misconduct for a bad product arising from a TEAM effort?
    Unless management went through the code module by module and tallied up the
    bugs in each and fired anyones who tally when over some limit. Even so, I
    feel some lawsuits gestating if this really is true (and not simply journo
    hype).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 27, 2006 @11:34AM (#15212636)
    The rumour/inside dope I got was, an untouchable star was put in charge of Aperture. He could do no wrong because of a reputation gained from another project, but the rep was built off the backs of others who had covered for his serious coding and management deficiencies.

    He was given free reign with Aperture, and since it was built from scratch, the projects structural flaws were built in from the beginning, without anyone having the clout to say "Hey, somethings wrong!". Nobody in the company knew nothing until around the first public demonstration, when it looked awfully pretty, but was nowhere near ready to be handed off to market. With a clear picture of what a mess the project was (and the star floating above the fray, unsullied of course), upper management gutted every other project to get SOMETHING shipped in time. So Aperture shipped, who knows if the star's status will be re-evaluated, and NAB gets less of an Apple splash because of all the talent diverted to clean up a mess,

    The major problem, of course is that Aperture originated within Apple. Name a great piece of Apple software (OS X, FCP, Shake, iTunes). It was brought in from elswhere and given a pretty face. Stuff that was created from scratch--ignore until version 3.0
    • Apple originated software always seems a little lightweight:
      iPhoto, Aperture, iChat, AddressBook, Pages, Keynote, iSync, Backup

      However that doesn't make them poor or bad, and you are right that by v3 they are usually pretty good, sometimes even faster if it isn't a freebie.
  • by joetheappleguy (865543) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @11:56AM (#15212876) Homepage
    DVD Studio 1.5 was a steaming pile of **** and at $999 was a poorly layed-out, extremely confusing and unfinished application, basically it was little better than the raw app Apple picked up from Macromedia.

    Half a version number and $500 less you have DVD Studio Pro 2, a complete rewrite that is easy to use, very well organized and works as advertised. The later versions get even better.

    Apple seems to know when to throw away a dead end project and start again (Copland ring a bell?), and although I personally don't think Apperture is all that bad, I did think that it was too expensive at the original $499 price. I expect great things from Apperture 2.0
  • by luketheduke (945392) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @12:04PM (#15212956)
    I have a studio, I shoot professionally every day. I run aperture on a Quad G5 with 8gigs of RAM it has been the best peice of image management software to date. The workflow is increadable. Yes the raw quality isn't as good as adobe's Camera Raw but adobe's wasn't as great in its first version either. The quality is 95% there. Yes there were some bugs and with any new software a learning curve (which scares most people) but honestly everything runs fine for me and it has cut my post production time and image management time 75% Also when i bring clients in i can whip photos around on two apple Cinema Displays with ease make selects in 15min normally, and there's the wow factor of images flying around (clients like blinking lights and razzle dazzle). What apple "Did" with their team is what apple does. Makes the best software availible bar none. This isn't for this article but lets face it they make the best desktop system bar none. They don't settle for 95% they settle for 110% (10% being the extra things they invented that you need but didn't know you needed untill they showed them to you). I personally think fireing it had a lot to do with the level of hardware needed to run it lets be honest how many times have you programed something and it chokes on your parents 5 yo comp but runs perfectly on yours. At anyrate if you buy a new $5k~20k camera every 2~3 years you can pony up for a Quad G5 to get the job done.
  • Excessive (Score:4, Informative)

    by smackthud (116446) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @12:17PM (#15213085)
    I use Aperture daily, along with photoshop and the other programs you'd expect a professional photographer to use heavily. Since the release of the 1.1 update several weeks ago, I can honestly say that Aperture is one of the nicer apps I use on a regular basis. But prior to that, Aperture was already saving me more time (read: $$) than any other tool I have.

    Aperture is designed to let me import hundreds of photos from a shoot, in RAW, jpeg, whatever, QUICKLY add metadata, rate, sort, color correct for white balance, exposure etc.. This gets me to the point where I can now proof the images to my clients. The photos haven't been retouched, they are just in the form that lets a client see my skill as a photographer, and what images they have to choose from.

    No matter who the client is, commercial, fashion, wedding, headshot... the faster I can let them see the proofs the better. From the 500 images in an average session... the client will only choose a few, which are then retouched in photoshop. I think this is what is hard for non-photographers to grasp; the sheer number of images NOT used. The workflow is designed to select only a few choice images, and then begin your post production processing of those selected images.

    In many cases, especially with studio sessions, nothing really needs retouching after the image has been "tuned" in Aperture. Many times I'm sending the image versions directly from aperture to my lab printer. It is wonderful to use the Soft Proofing built-in to Aperture. It works great.

    An important, but often overlooked core feature of Aperture is its top notch asset management system with versioning. Sure Subversion and CVS do version management better, but many of my colleagues have trouble with the concepts behind webmail, so Apertures simplicity in this area is admirable. I expect many new features will be added to the versioning and Vault system (like multiple library support), but much of what it does already is a major time saver. There are certainly alternatives, like lightroom, and bibble, which are each excellent in their own ways, but Aperture is more complete, and meets my needs better for now. Your mileage mat vary.

    Lastly, I'm running Aperture on a G4 Powerbook. It runs fine. My RAW files are between 15Mb and 20Mb in size, and Aperture handles the hundreds of images per session fine. Could it be faster? Sure, what couldn't. But its not the nightmare that some report.

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