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25 March, 2009

New world order

When I upgraded to a new work computer recently, for the first time since 2003, I was obliged to upgrade some of the software, too.

  • Version 4.5 of my preferred web editor, Macromedia HomeSite, was a security risk on the campus network (it only worked when logged in as Admin, which isn't best practice for everyday use) so I bought v.5.
  • I took the opportunity to replace my seven-year-old copy of Photoshop 7 with Photoshop CS4 Extended.
  • The very reason for the new computer was that we were obliged to 'upgrade' to MS Office 2007, which wouldn't run on my old PC.
Since then, my productivity has dipped slightly as I've been relearning my workplace.
  • Homesite's functionality is much the same, but the dialog boxes are rather different – and not for the better. It's suddenly become distinctly clunky, and I'm beginning to wish Dreamweaver could handle the campus network better (I have root access to several large web servers, and DW had a habit of trying to index every directory, every time I tried to open a file).
  • MS Office is... surprisingly okay. The UI can't be customised as much as I'd wish, but with as much 'assistance' disabled as possible, Outlook and Excel are actually usable. I've even started to organise myself in Outlook Calendar.
  • Photoshop is the reason for this posting. I've encountered numerous changes in the UI, which were momentarily irritating, but almost immediately I've realised that every single one is an improvement. Photoshop was already my favourite software package (not that I'm the sort of person to have 'favourite software'), so that's quite an achievement. Well done, Adobe. To be really picky, the toolbars occupy a greater proportion of the screen, leaving less room for the image being processed, particularly on my 1024x768 monitor at home, but it's fine at 1440x900 at work.
'Relearning my workspace' wasn't an overstatement. The majority of my working week is spent in Windows, so the UI of my tools and 'virtual environment' really does matter, almost viscerally, and the transition was quite unsettling – it even affected my dreams.
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