XP + Version Cue + Antivirus = A Bad Time

Yesterday was a good day, I'm just waiting for it to end.

Bound, but sadly not gagged, to my aspirations of programming acumen is the need to create and support the infrastructure that makes it possible. This is mostly an abstraction during my day job; I entered an existing situation (legacy fun) where others have better knowledge concerning the reasoning behind certain decisions. Often, however, that seems to be a generous statement, but the short of it is that I am expected to normally remain on the sidelines. For my side interests, however, that are happily blending in with others, I am where the buck stops.

Unfortunately, that means that there are times when that means tomorrow becomes today without even noticing it. I'm on the downside of such a weekend, and I reckon I better record the events before they are cleansed by some seriously anticipated log cutting, (Note: Even though I don't think that I have apnea, just roll with the metaphor )

So my weekend woes revolve around Version Cue CS4 in two very different ways and hopefully this will serve, if not as a public service announcement, at some sort of aid in the debugging grief of another. The first is not an Adobe bug, even though it looked that way, the second ... maybe.

Version Cue is great. I may one day regret or even have to eat those words, but today I like it and sing its praises (as Alex will tell you I am wont to do, even at his disinterest and aggravation). Sort of peculiar to this is that I am not an artist or visual designer nor do I have aspirations in that regard. I personally use subversion (though I have been looking into git), but I like that solutions are available to graphic assets and workflow is a concept I am trying to tame. So I have been working with others on experimental collaborative projects involving Version Cue and the early results are very promising. (for me, the major hurdles that yet remain include getting Adobe Drive to live through a broadband router and integration between the VC users and the network users)

All that said, I discovered an interesting problem, the misdiagnoses of which gutted my weekend. On an XP box, CS4 was installed and access was quickly gained to the VC projects. The hardest part about connecting to Version Cue is to make sure to check for upgrades before trying to connect. [Adobe crippled Bridge right before production release due to some late discoveries and the update is required to restore them; them being the needed startup scripts] Everything worked great for about a week and change and then suddenly ... dog slow. Adding to the fun, a multitude of unrelated problems manifested themselves on the same day (to multiple people in multiple venues - even my refrigerator died and I hadn't even upgraded it to CS4 yet - it was still on Cold Storage 3 ... I'm sure there is a special place in hell for me because of my warped sense of humor, so I figure I ought to be fully deserving of it).

So a series of calamities drove us to a mindset that said, "screw it - we'll wipe all the workstations and start from scratch"; this takes time. So, starting with a freshly formatted partition, in goes the OS, followed by anti-virus, followed by CS4, followed by updating all intermingled with coffee and Dr Frankenstein tendencies as I spelunk through my random accumulation of antiquated machines (including 20 retired HP 1GHz P3 boxes I scored for free in an auction mishap that I once had planned to use for an experiment in clustering and live linux cds, but haven't got around to yet).

The Vista boxes came up great; no problems at all. And the XP box came up seemingly the same way. Connection to the VC Server was no problem and all of the projects were visible and accessible. So I double clicked a file in Bridge to launch Photoshop ... and I'm waiting, and waiting, ..... and .. oh wait, it finally comes up. This is the same behavior the prompted all the machinations in the first place, wtf? So I go trotting to a Vista box, what's its access like? Quick as can be. Another box, also Vista, also speedy. This is 2AM Sunday morning. This sucks.

So I start looking for configuration settings in Adobe Drive, in Version Cue and then start probing the network adapter device settings. I'm also beginning to tax my ability for keywords to feed to the great gift-giving grandeur that is the guru Google but all this garrulous grouser got was gabble. Gosh darnit & Golly! (I now grovel and grope for your graciousness due to the grimace this gust of guttural grievance likely gives).

That was weird ... moving right along ... I did get lucky and see a mention of Version Cue and a different anti-virus software package (I was searching on the troubled machine and haven't been able to relocate that article .. will update if I find it). So I immmediately disabled the anti-virus software. Everything worked great. Son of a bitch.

The next bit of fun involved tearing through the anti-virus software, avast, only to discover that the only way to ensure that the network delays are not overwhelming is to disable everything. Oddly enough, this includes IM and Mail protection. The dilema is how to move forward and the rationalization essentially goes like this: the main user of the machine does not have administrative rights, there is no reason she ought to be installing any software and the best immediate SOP will be to toggle the antivirus protection when not working in CS4. If I come to believe the last thought will reflect reality, self delusion will have won. Anyway, the quest begins to find an obliging anti-virus software. (Of course, there are no problems with avast on Vista so maybe I'll be able to upgrade out of the problem)

Round two of Version Cue fun is odd as it is somewhat the opposite - the expected behavior occurs on XP and Vista leaves one scratching his head. So the skinny is that in Photoshop you want to improve your performance by creating a scratch disk and it is best if this be a dedicated drive. Fine, easy enought to configure, but the experience that I have had in PS CS4 on Vista 64 (both 32 & 64 bit) is that if the scratch disk isn't on C, you're gonna have a bad time. That said, it will work if you select "run as administrator" to open Photoshop. So, OK, a little annoying but you can pick up a performance gain. Here's where it sucks: When you start it as administrator, you lose access to your P drive (Adobe Drive).

Reset the scratch disk to C, start normally and you get it back. Nutz.

Anyway, I'm not doing the principal investigation on this, but I'm sure I will be obliged at some point to pursue it further or at least followup to see if any patches are released to address it. (Maybe it's not a bug and something stupid was overlooked - happy happy joy joy)

Maybe this'll be helpful to somebody.

Maybe I'll get some sleep.

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