Wednesday, December 12, 2007

JMO - Software Upgrades

Ok, this essay is more a vent of frustration or a rant of anger, but I really hate upgrading software packages. For several reasons, not just having sometimes to fork over money to a company that continually knows some of its income is from updates and upgrades than for sales. But for the fact you have to relearn what they added and removed, where they moved things, what default setting they use and can be reset, and all the new logic they built into it. And then you have to replace some of your books because some or much of the information in the old manual don't apply anymore.

Ok, we've all been down that road. Sometimes I don't mind upgrades because the company was smart enough not to do much except add features or functions to make it better and only change subtle things in the look and use of it. Adobe's Photoshop is a good example. But today it was a real, "Argh!" moment and several hours wasted installing and using the new version of GoLive.

People who know me know I'm no fan of PC's and especially Microsoft, and heaven forbid if I were the rants and vents I could write about a company that dumbdowns their software where it's either too stupid and written for grade schoolers or hides the workings of their software where it's too complex for anyone except those geeks who love it. And trust me, I worked with some of them. You know the guy that takes the multi-hundred page manual home to read it cover to cover, and loves making fun of people who don't know the tricks?

That description is an overstatement but sometimes it wasn't far from the truth as their condescention is sometimes obvious. But I'm wandering. I like Mac's for the simplicity of their software installation and of third party software, except when it goes wrong and there is nothing you can do but call the support line. I've never had a problem with Apple's software and OS-X and haven't had problems with Adobe software packages, that is until this week.

You see I've been working on Web pages since 1995. Yes that long, and long before these WYSIWYG Web design and development packages came along. I only use the Web tools to view layouts, for browser preview and Syntax checks, otherwise I'm one of those curmudgeons who writes code and has a shelf of reference books on Web design, html, css, and so on. I'm comfortable understanding the code to write KISS designed pages.

Ok, and the rant? I've been using Adobe's GoLive 8 in Creative Suite 2. I upgraded to Creative Suite 3 but it has Dreamweaver something instead of GoLive 9. I tried Dreamweaver at work a few years ago and I didn't like it. It's designed for Website development and management than Web page design. It's over kill and too complex for simple Web page work. So I decided to upgrade to GoLive 9.

Well, I bought and downloaded it. When I went to install it, it asks for the license numbers to verify it's an upgrade. Nada, it wouldn't recognize any existing license numbers. So I sent e-mail to Adobe and two days later I got an e-mail to call the support center with a case number as a reference. I did, and after an hour we had to use a backdoor approach around the license number prompt to finish the installation and registration.

But then I brought it up. And the anger began. Years ago as a data/database manager and sometime Website manager I gave up yelling as computer screens. They don't listen, so why yell except to get yourself horse. I get up and leave for awhile. When I come back I'm more sane and rational to understand what's wrong and decide what to do. This time I ate lunch and watched a little TV.

And after that I printed the manual and started skimming through it to fiind the answers I needed and wanted. And sure enough, slowly I got used to it. While it's a great software package, and has far more tools and capabilities I need let alone ever use, I did manage to understand it and replicate how I work with Web pages. I can't say it's better than GoLive 8 for me, just different.

And the neat thing about Adobe products, you can run them independently and they won't interfer with each other, unless you're trying to use them on the same file or image. That's your stupidity, not the software's. But personally I would recommend GoLive as a good Web page development package and whatever else it has. For me, I'll tinker with it while using GoLive 8 until I'm more comfortable with it.

And so most of a day spent sitting in front of a computer wondering who's stupidier, me or it. Or who's really the smarter and if I'm simply the trained seal.

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