Sometimes, I’m not sure I really want to spend the money to upgrade my Adobe software to CS3. Yes, I did buy a Mac Pro, and my reasons for that had to do with the improved speed and design on the Intel based Mac towers as well as an opportunity to hand down a perfectly good dual G5 PowerMac to one of my sons. That would seem to necessitate buying CS3 versions of all my Adobe software to take advantage of the speed gains the Mac Pro promises. Believe me, I want to! But it’s a lot of money to do that, especially for a “prosumer” like me who currently stands to gain not one dollar in income from the extra expense.
An online article making the rounds on the It Enquirer website has called Adobe’s CS3 Creative Suite “bloatware” because of the increased pricing levels and the dearth of new, compelling features. It might be; I can’t comment because I haven’t really used or evaluated the software yet, except for the Photoshop CS3 beta, which I did find disappointing. While it did give me greater speed on my Mac Pro, it was unusable because of a cursor bug that no beta version fixed. I have to believe they’ve fixed it in the final release; but instead of buying PS CS3 as soon as it’s available in the next few weeks, I’m thinking of waiting until I see the reviews and can download a trial version some six weeks or so after the release. My finances are arguing for just that approach; the only even somewhat compelling reason for me to step up now is to be able to write about it here. Except for the expected raves about CS3’s greater speeds on Intel powered Macs, I have to wonder if the reviews are going to come out lackluster, as those for Vista have mostly done.
On the face of it, the cost of individually upgrading all my Adobe packages is really not significantly higher than it has been before. The big jump in pricing occurs when one wants to move up to the CS3 Suites, and it would not surprise me if in the next upgrade cycle or two, that becomes the only way Adobe customers can upgrade their applications, in the same manner that Apple has bundled its professional level movie making products into one thirteen hundred dollar suite and killed off its individual product lines. There seems to be a trend here of moving to squeeze out the prosumer and financially differentiate professional level and consumer level software packages, reversing the bright promise that computing has brought to the masses in video and graphics over the last thirty years.
One of the individual problems I’m facing is which website management software to use; and so far, I’m leaning toward staying with Go Live. But Go Live is not incorporated into any Adobe CS3 package. Dreamweaver has taken its place. The implicit message there is that Go Live is on its last legs, which is why I wrote “The Apparent Death of Go Live” blog entry. A day or so after that, Adobe reiterated they will release an update (and the last one, I suspect) to Go Live called “Adobe Go Live 9”. That’s good; and if I make a move to upgrade my other 3 Adobe applications to CS3 versions, I will more than likely upgrade my Go Live application as well.
So, what kind of upgrade costs am I talking about? Well, by day, I work in operations and engineering realms and my wife is a medical professional. At night, I sometimes work as a video editor. All that together means I’m interested in the new Photoshop Extended. The upgrade version of that costs $349. Individual upgrades for Illustrator and In Design run $199 each, and I suspect the Go Live upgrade will cost the same. That totals up to $946. That’s a bit more than going to CS3 Design Standard (which would cost me $899) but $653 less than going to Design Premium (which I would only do if I was willing to move to Dreamweaver). Design Standard would also only give me the Standard version of Photoshop.
I realize I may be shooting my blog in the foot, but my intent after moving to the CS3 versions of software is to hold there for quite some time (and maybe not upgrade for a very long time…like a decade?!). I would not expect to upgrade those packages unless I also upgraded a machine, and that’s not going to happen for some time unless I win the lotto. It’s going to take a good bit of time to pay off the Mac Pro and Adobe upgrade expenses.
I’ve thought about upgrading one or more of my Mac’s to Vista, but I haven’t because of the high cost of the upgrade and the lack of compelling features being reported. I’m quite happy with XP. What I don’t understand are a lot of the complaints I’m seeing about the lack of Vista drivers. Are these people who have never ever performed an Operating System upgrade? “Lack of drivers” has always been and probably always will be a complaint of anyone who’s ventured into new OS territory. In many cases, it is true the OS will have the drivers for many older peripherals folded into it, but one always has to check on whether their individual devices are covered. I went through those growing pains when I moved from Windows 98 to Windows XP. My memory of that has been one of the reasons why I’ve been cautious about moving to Vista. Right now, everything on the Windows sides of my machines works, and I’d like to keep it that way.
Eventually, the peripheral makers will catch up. They always do, unless the product is so old they’ve already been thinking about suspending support anyway. In that case, you’ll have to make do; and your only solace will be to scour the web to see if another poor soul has found a solution you can use.
On the new Mac Ads…
My wife and I have always enjoyed the Mac Ads. I realize they have not always found favor with PC users, and I can understand why. There are two new ones, and my favorite is the “Flashback” ad with the two kids, not only because it captures a human struggle that lies within each one of us but because the two kids so closely resemble and expertly emulate their older counterparts.
I have mixed feelings about “The Computer Cart” ad because I feel Apple is overstating its case. My experience has undoubtedly been that I spend significantly less time chasing system errors on the Mac platform than on Windows, and that the error messages Macs issue aren’t usually as cryptic as those on Windows. But to say I’ve never had to go to the Apple Support site (or somewhere else) to look up what an error message is telling me would be a lie, and the Mac equivalent of a “fatal error” is known as a “kernel panic”. I’ve seen those too, though infrequently.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Macs are a LOT less painful to use than Windows and they generally DO “just work”; but computers are computers and they’re all going to have some problems.
It’s just not a perfect world, even in computerdom.
The problem with the ad is it sets the bar so high Apple’s going to lose those switchers who get a “kernel panic” (which generally are hardware related and therefore more likely to occur with a new system or one that’s been modified) out of the box. They will also get an immediate bad taste in their mouths, and Apple will only have a short time to rectify that. Word of mouth always goes a long way, whether what’s being said is good or bad. Apple needs to be careful to balance what it’s saying with reality, no matter how much that goes against the grain of normal advertising.