Sunday, 26 September 2010

What is a fair price?

Warning: more nerdish stuff follows...

Further to the previous post, I've spent more time working on this new Mac getting it to the point where I can actually produce some chargeable work on it, as opposed to just having fun in iTunes and Skype. I must admit I'd taken my eye off the ball in terms of developments in Mac hardware and Adobe software, and it's become sadly evident that I can't install my old copies of Photoshop and Acrobat on the new machine. They plain won't run, no matter what. End of.

OK, both are still available on my old Mac and indeed on the old Powerbook. But it's far more convenient to have everything you need on one machine, isn't it? So let's have a look at whether we can have a word with those nice people at Adobe and upgrade the software.

A few hours are now spent browsing the Adobe store website and various user forums.

OK, forget that. Maybe, as far as Acrobat goes, if I can persuade Adobe to allow a cross-platform upgrade. Yuh-huh, like that's going to be so easy. Given that I'm approaching 50, I haven't got the time left to call Adobe and go through the necessary routine to upgrade my PC version of Acro 6 to Acro 9 for Mac. It could take years and cost thousands of lives. No, we are looking at buying the latest versions. Fair enough, let's see what they cost these days.

Baise-moi. Now, I can remember the days when Adobe were every graphics pro's favourite as they were hungry for business, very cost-effective and much more user-friendly than those psychotic bastards at Quark. Those days would appear to have gone. The full version of Photoshop is around the £600 mark and the full Acrobat is over £500. Jeez.

I think I'll muddle along as best I can using my old machines. And investigate alternatives to Adobe software. For example, Photoshop is acknowledged to be the best photo manipulation software, but how about Gimp?

Having tinkered with this for a couple of hours, it would appear to do everything I need except that it doesn't handle CMYK colourspace. Well, that doesn't matter as much as it did a few years ago. In terms of everything else I regularly do in Photoshop, it's got it sorted. And guess how much it costs? Zip. Nada. It's free. Go read about it here if you're interested.

As for Acrobat, well, Quark's pdf export function is much more sophisticated than it used to be, and at first sight the new version I've got appears to be up to what I will need. If I get pdfs in from clients that need some work, I'll tinker with them on the PC - or send them back to the client with a politely rude note - until such time as the open source community sorts that out as well. The days when you had to spend vast sums of money on software may be drawing to a close. For example, instead of Micro$oft Office, why not try OpenOffice? I can thoroughly recommend it. Yes, it takes a little while to get used to, but then so did MS Office the first time you saw it, and OpenOffice is free too. You know it makes sense.

Right, no more techie nerdspeak for a while, I promise. We return you now to the usual mix of facile commentary and sweeping generalisation. It's what I do best.


  1. I've often thought about Open Office but have been reluctant to take the plunge. I might do so now on your recommendation.

  2. Well, apart from your own time, you literally have nothing to lose in giving it a go. I installed it on a new laptop (not feeling up to spending what MS wanted for Office) and it's proved perfectly satisfactory.

  3. I recently enrolled on a New College Nottingham night course for £100 quid. The student status gets you 80% off all Adobe products. Picked up the full Adobe CS5 suite for around $250. MS Office is also greatly reduced, and Visual Studio 2010 is free! Worth it even if I never attended the course.