Only the guilty need be afraid Did you ever try Paint Shop Pro? It is the most splendid of programs, a faithful collie dog of a program. Whistle for it and it bounces up off your hard disk, and licks your face, and gambols around all eager and excited and ready to play. Design industry pros may swear by Photoshop, but that …
All so true...
I used to love PSP. Used to recommend it. Bought numerous copies at work for people who needed image editing. Great software at a good price. Now it has delusions of being Photoshop, takes longer than Adobe Reader to load and has too much stuff in it. Meanwhile, Adobe got sneaky, turned Photoshop Elements into something useful and cheap, and that's what I now recommend for people who don't really need actual Photoshop.
Oh, and .docx files? You'd bee surprised. I see several helldesk requests most weeks from people unable to open a file someone has sent them. We'll be giving everyone the converter...
This article just made my day... It lists so many things that are broken in the wordl today...
But it's not only limited to the windows world sadly... Even free software projects
did this and now some are getting back on track...
Keep up the great work...
We all remember Coral Xara don't we?
The ultimate software murder must be the purchase of the distribution rights of a marvellous British made vector drawing package called Xara back in the 1990s.
It was 100x faster at drawing than Coral Draw, ran in piddling small amounts of RAM and was incredibly cheap.
Coral immediately bought the rights to it and it became CoralXara.
They stuck it in remote web site before anyone was using the web and effectively removed it from the shops.
Amazing that you can actually kidnap software isn't it?
Happily Xara managed to escape after several years out of Coral's dark cellar (no leopards) and is now whoring itself to any one.
Do a google on it.
PaintShopPro - version 5
The only shareware program I was ever impressed enough to fork out the cash for. But they broke it after five - version six took twice as long to load an image. The only really annoying issue I had was its demented insistence on saving everything in its proprietary format, when it had a perfectly good .jpg there, and not defaulting to the previous saved type.
Though I have to confess - I have an email from the makers responding to a request of mine in V5 days in which they sadly denied any intention to include a scripting langauge... it can be a pain when you have a hundred pages of scans, all of which need turning on their sides and saving as jpgs.
Totally agree with you. Some more examples:
- Visio after it got bought-up and absorbed into MS Office
- MS Office - I think the best version was the '97 (or was it '98?) version. Anything after that is just a huge blob of code that doesn't actually do anything that '97 did
- I fear PHP is going the same way as Perl - getting bigger by the week and will finally get to the point where it's just too big and slow to run
- Gnome desktop - Started off as an ok idea. Turned into bloated yuk long ago!
- What about Sidekick? For those that don't know/remember, this started as a teeny and fast little DOS app that allowed quick access to some neat things. Eventually turned into a huge blob of useless crap.
- MS Windows - Started off as an inefficient blob ('95). Turned into a HUGE virus-ridden blob that manages to eat up so much processor time and memory that it runs slower on today's multi-GHz multi-GB machines than '95 did on a 100MHz Pentium! And the worse bit is, it doesn't actually DO any more than the '95 version!
Thanks for that tip off - it's lightening quick! Adobe Reader will be gone forever - just as soon as I restart.
(Just breathtakingly awful that a restart is required after uninstalling a simple PDF reader. I think that's a perfect illustration of everything that's wrong with Adobe.)
All this goes to remind me
All this just goes to remind me again why I'm one of those evil, penguin-shagging communists.
If an Open Source project dares to jump the shark, it will end up well and truly forked.
I think it's the Big Company factor....
...it's not just PSP and Acrobat that've been killed by Adobe either. Anyone seen the monstrosity that is "Audition 2"?!? Take a perfectly good piece of software (Cool Edit) and add in lots of things that utterly break it and stop it being of any use to the main users of it...
I'm surprised you didn't castigate Adobe on the "FedEx" button in the new 'reader. Capitalism + bloatware
Indeed you should talk to the US government about how easy it is to unmask supposedly 'read-only' pdf redactions. Deredact, deract, de-dact? what's a good verb for this?
However, you shouldn't be too hard on MS for .docx files. How many of us have gotten an email with a .odt attachment, hmm?
Re: Stuart Halliday
I looked in google for it, and it produced the expected result:
"Did you mean: corelxara "
Also, isn't the death of COM a good thing? Especially since it was replaced by the GAC and .NET? As far as C++ goes, it's taken on a completely new role. Since it's the only language that runs native and CLR code, it's perfect for migrating projects to .NET slowly. Also, as a systems language it's not dead either, with C++0x coming out at some point in the future, introducing native garbage collection, etc.
Applying a style to a paragraph...
in each version of Word from 6 onwards costs me (an experienced Word user) a few minutes of muttering and clicking. Since 2003, add 'and swearing, and possibly throwing my squashy stress ball at the screen'. So no change there, then?
5.1a for the Mac still rules :-)
My memory isn't that bad!
Yes, Stuart. I remember Xara very well, just as I remember where they came from (I still use Impression Style on RISC OS, and I know more than one person that swears by Artworks). A pity they can't relive those heady days prior to their sell-out!
But then I've just read this after reading that article about XP SP3 and the comments about it and Vista and, suddenly, it all makes sense! Muckysoft are just doing to the NT system what Verity is suggesting others do to their applications.
Hmm... wonder what I did with that copy of Wfw3.11 I had?
Oh so true - give me PSP7 back
I'd been using PSP 7 for years, and whey my boss finally upgraded me to a PC from a Mac, I needed some image manipulation software. I said, I'll have a copy of PSP, please, thinking I would get something like PSP 7, with perhaps a few improvements. But no, what did I get? PSP 10, and I regretted it immediately.
Why oh why do people have to take software which is close to perfect, and bastardise it into something horrible?
Everybody this xmas will have Word 2007
It comes as a pre-install on all new PCs.
But its a 3-month evaluation. So the owner will be forced to cough up for it as little Johnny has done all his homework assignments in it.
It often happens that a small software house with a successful product is bought out by a much larger company
What like JASC (your beloved Paintshop Pro) being bought by Corel? Although PSP still doesn't have native support for CMYK meaning Adobe PS has to remain the professional choice.
Macromedia bought out by Adobe? *waves goodbye the the lovely Macromedia EULA that allowed you to install on work and home PCs*
Syntrillium bought out by Adobe? CoolEdit was the greatest audio editor on Win PCs; what remains of that is now buried somewhere in Premier apparently.
Oh, and every single half decent minor games publisher being bought out by EA and becoming tedious cloning machines.
And that's just off the top of my head, the words merger or aqcuisition generally mean "prepare to kiss goodbye to much that was great" in whatever it has that's been bought.
"There is that groan of realisation that can be regularly heard everywhere on the internet, when an accidental click on a PDF in a search results page means that the user is now confined at Adobe’s pleasure for the next minute or so, until Acrobat chooses to give back control of the web browser." so true, so true....
Adobe not wholly evil...
Adobe aren't wholly evil. Last year they bought a good program used by photographers - Pixmantec RawShooter - and have so far turned it into a significantly better one - Adobe Lightroom. It ain't broke (yet!). Still, they're only on v1.x, I guess that there's time yet...
You make a Good Product. People buy it. You make a lot of money. Eventually all the people who need this product and aren't addicted to a competitor's POS will have a copy.
How do you continue to make money? You have to sell Version 2 to your existing client base. Why will they buy Version 2, though? Because of all the new features you've added since Version 1.
Now move on a few years. The wish list is empty. The bug list is fixed (apart from a couple of things too complex to address and yet so trivial that only Matt from Fartbutt, Indiana gives a shit and he's 45 and lives with his Mum). What do you do? How will you afford your next yacht. Yes folks, it's Strategy boutique and Focus Group time...........
I really do miss PSP <sigh>
It was the best picture editor out there - and the bloody easiest to learn and use - and FAST!
I've had Photoshop since 2002, but it isn't a shade on the old PSP's useability - barriers to entry are way too high!
I still find it difficult to find many of the functions that I used to take for granted on the old PSP.
I used to create all sorts of graphics and images and it used to take minutes; not hours - not to mention the fact that it used to take seconds to start up.
I could go on...
Paint.NET is the new way to go...
It has all the quick loading charm that PSP used to have.
And it isn't the coders that make this crap so complex, I can't tell you all the times I've told my clients not to add some stupid bloody feature because it wasn't worth the complexity. But every user begs for his own little additions, and managers feel that they need to keep releasing new versions. I guarantee at some point someone emailed JASC and asked for Python scripting, and being as sensible as they were, they refrained from adding it until they finished every other more important task.
Ironically its the same bloat that gets added in order to "compete" that drives everyone to the next smaller startup program (Paint.NET). It turns out faster and more intuitive are actually more important features than having python scripting.
For some reason this whole insane industry honestly believes that there is a "cool new version" to be made of the text editor. Why in the fuck should I be expected to pay $400 every couple of years to buy a new version of Office that does the exact same bloody thing that the last version did?
VB6'ers, go get stuffed, if you want to live in the past, go learn Fortran. VB9 kicks ass and has nearly identical syntax, and conversion tools to upgrade your sorry ass VB6 programs.
Thanks for the tip regarding FoxIt. Its fast and simple, just like Acrobat Reader was before it was "improved"
Only PSP7? The rot set in before then
PSP used to be cheap, easy to use and quite powerful. A few releases later it was tricky to use and overpriced for what most people used it for. At least there are cheap, half decent paint products out now.
As to MSVC++, all the C++ compilers can produce unmanaged code, even in the free Express editions - although you'll have to run the Windows 2003 SDK to find the 64 bit compiler. Alternatively, 150 quid or so will buy the optimising Intel compiler that's somewhat faster.
MSVC6 was a well integrated, reliable product, but its complete lack of support for the STL limits its usefulness. Also, the debugging support in later versions is considerably improved.
Scripting image manipulation stuff
Actually, it's hardly surprising that scripting is being built into graphics editors ..... it's yet another example of Caged software playing catch-up to Free software.
Under Linux, we already have the Open Source ImageMagick suite of command-line tools for manipulating images in various formats. Which makes it possible to do stuff like
$ for i in *.jpg; do shrunk="`basename $i .jpg`.mini.jpg"; [ ! -e $shrunk ] && convert -resize 200x200 $i $shrunk && echo "Shrunk $i to $shrunk"; done
to generate a bunch of thumbnails from digital photos; or
$ for i in *.bmp; do jpeg="`basename $i .bmp`.jpg"; [ ! -e $jpeg ] && convert -rotate 90 $i $jpeg && echo "Rotated $i and changed to jpeg as $jpeg"; done
to rotate a bunch of scans (almost invariably .bmp files if you were using a cheap scanner under Windows) and convert them to jpeg.
Oh, and we get a C / C++ compiler included with the base system.
"I used to love PSP. Used to recommend it."
I still run version 4.12, dated 1996, as my main image librarian / editor. It has a built-in browser that's faster and less annoying than XP's thumbnail view, and it's lightning fast for the simple stuff (rotating, resizing, cropping etc). It loads in a split second and it doesn't have a splash screen, or any of that nonsense with colour profiles.
The other legacy application I still run is CoolEdit 1.52, of a slightly older vintage. It was bought by Adobe and became Adobe Audition, but CoolEdit is - like Paint Shop Pro - still fast for the simple stuff. I want to record audio, normalise it, crop it, and fade the ends. It has some excellently well-written help files. And a "brainwave simulator". Audacity can probably do exactly the same stuff, but I am used to CoolEdit's interface.
I used to think that Cubase and Pro24 were complicated, back in the Atari ST days, but judging by recent screenshots it seems to have turned into the control panel of a late-1970s airliner.
C/C++ compiler 'included with the base system'
Well, no, it isn't actually. You get it included on most but not all Linux distributions. If it's not a dev system, and if the OS has a decent package management system, bundling a compiler is daft for the average non coding user.
It's equally possible to download the Microsoft SDK/DDK with compiler for free, or gcc in cygwin, MingW, a non cygwin gcc, or all the Unix apps (including GCC) in the Subsystem For Unix in Vista.
Penguin power ftw!
Linuxland is where most apps do what they need to do, and don't try to do the bloat thing :]
<< Not a fanboy, just tried it a couple of years ago after windows was due a reinstall and damn me if it didn't actually stay on this time, and yes one of its main attractions is its plentiful small apps/scripts that do one simple job very very well.
But well, Linux isn't for everyone, and linux isn't the cure all for every ailment, its just great at what it does and if it does what it does at what you want, winner!
Like Guiness, its something everyone should try at least once, you may get a taste for it.
Here's your paragraph.
Present on more than 25 million sites, according to Netcraft, PHP is one of the most popular scripting languages on the internet. Borland is the first large traditional company to invest in this language with Delphi for PHP, champion among development tools. The sofware brings with it many of the interface conventions from Delphi and make application creation more like what you have on the desktop.
Also a speedy pdf alternative. Maybe the add-ons like in firefox is the way to go.
Delphi for PHP award
Completing bob's comment about Delphi for PHP award, this magazine is known within experts to write only good reviews of its biggest advertisers products. I don´t know about Borland, but Microsoft is one of then. Windows Vista was on the first page on the last 4 or 5 months. Microsoft won other categories, for example virtualization, with Virtual PC (followed by VMWare and XEN).
I have used Paint Shop Pro since version 1.0. I have owned versions 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11. the only one I use is PSP 7. It loads quickly and does exactly what I want, with readily accessible commands. PSP 9 and 11 are boggy.
It is sad to see a good dog die.
Thanks for Foxit. It has what Adobe gave up: speed.
Acrobat, Autoroute, Norton (Ghost+NIS), "Office Ready"
I still use Acrobat 5, I may look at Foxit. Occasionally Acrobat 5 is apparently required to say "this document may contain features newer than your reader can support" but so far I have never found a single document that wasn't usable.
Microsoft bought UK outfit Nextbase for their Autoroute package. Within a couple of versions, they'd completely broken it. Autoroute 97 was so bad that one of the mainstream UK PC rags was seriously suggesting it be taken off the market (has any serious rag been so brave yet with Vista, which seems to have similar issues?). The "97" also illustrates that software rot is not a recent phenomenon. Fortunately the bottom's fallen out of the Autoroute market in the last year or two; who wants to pay for Autoroute when for a little more money you can buy a complete satnav.
Marginally more recently than Autorute 97, maybe five or so years ago, Symantec managed to seriously break both Norton Internet Security *and* Norton Ghost. No more Symantec here or on any PCs I support, which is kind of hard because Symantec are one of the leaders in factory-installed consumer/SME blackmailware aka trial versions which can't readily be uninstalled by punters AND cost punters money once the trial is over.
Which leads us neatly to MS "Office Ready", the current rash of PCs factory installed with a two month "free" trial of MS Office 2007, which has to be done because there's no other motivation whatsoever for either Joe Public or the sensible helpful IT (s h IT, geddit?) Department to look at Office 2007 rather than any previous Office (or even, heaven forbid, OpenOffice). Then after two months pay another £100 or more to the PC supplier to "activate" Office (what, no edu discount any more?). Way to go, Billco, you finally caught on to the Symantec scam, only took you a few years!
The UK has laws against inertia selling, why is nobody testing them on this kind of thing?
Merry Christmas everyone (well, except the tosspots that bring us this kind of thing, you can burn in hell forever please, and never mind 'goodwill to all men').
A warning about Foxit
Probably best to stick with Adobe Reader if you want to print your PDF; I've used Foxit for a year now and it's perfect for every PDF need I have - except that :)
Take MediaPlayer which gets bigger and bloated by the version - and updates. Real bad thing is you can't go back to the verison you like, because Bill gates knows best. Same with IE.
Real player isn't much better, but at least you can uninstall it.
Not to start a Windows - Linux war, but in Linux I at least have control of what I want om MY PC.
Corel core competence
Corel has a long and distinguished record for screwing up perfectly good software, starting with its own Draw! which in just five years went from a Windows killer app (along with Word and Pagemaker) to a bloated zombie that had to be held up in the ring in a back-to-back review with Xara. But it's not all bloat bloat bloat - there's a lot of sheer incompetpence too.
A year or so later (1996) they published the (presumably acquired) CorelCAD a 3-D technical drawing package that was powerful and easy. I still use my copy, but the product seems to have sunk without trace shortly after release.
And Wordperfect for Windows? Let's be honest here, it was a crock of crap when it first appeared and kept up this fine
tradition through its sojourn at Novell and its arrival at Corel. I haven't looked at the most recent version, but the last
time I looked (2004) it still eschewed Unicode. Oh, and whatever happened to Corel Linux?
Seems YMMV when printing from Foxit - I just installed it and it prints fine for me. Is there a more specific issue?
Paintshop Pro was the best up until version 8. Version 9 saw a first shift because they ware adapting for a buyout by Corel. That company has a penchant to destroy software....
Ever since it is in the corel stall it has gone down the drain. the installer throws all kinds of stuff on your machine like installshield update manager and tons of other stuff. furthermore they broke compatibility with a number of file formats. PSP7 reads a WMF or EMF file correctly. 9 doesn't.
Another program that went down the drain : Micrografx Designer. I used that under windows 2.0 and 3.0 . Was a dream to work with... until it got borged by Corel... They still sell it albeit under a different name. I actually played with the downloadable demo. i immediately recognised it as Micrografx Designer.. throw a couple fo old files against it: opencorrectly. but the shortcuts have changed , and nothing works as it was.
why paris ? ah we'' there someone you can build on. she'll always remain unreachable.
Can I nominate TextPad 5 for a bloatware award. Previous to this version it was the ideal light weight editor for coders. Version 5 looks like it might have been C#/.NET'ed. It now has that characteristic slow, flickery rubbish feel of all C# apps.
> penguin shagging communist
Try getting any of the major Linux distros to install on a little oldbox that has got more than enough power to handle the job you have in mind... say a DNS or Apache server... It would run just fine if I could install it minus the 10,000 bloated useless packages... half of which seem to have to go on for pointless dependencies so you can get a minimum X screen... Everyone suffers from it...
CA eats all apps
The biggest culprit, apart from MS - I used to run Windows 286 from a single floppy - is/was CA. They took the development languages Clipper and Visual Objects, rebranded them CA-Clipper & CA-VO, promised ongoing support and then parked them somewhere, probably in the far reaches of their evil empire with the Jasmine database.
They also managed to take SuperCalc, made it CA-SuperCalc and capitulated to Excel - And whatever happened to SuperCalc 3D? Stunning piece of spreadsheet that allowed you name columns and rows instead of A1, and was truly 3 dimensional.
And where is Ashton Tate now? I vaguely remember it was subsumed by Borland and that was it for dBase ...
@Stephen (RE: TextPad)
Stephen, give EditPlus a look (http://www.editplus.com). Its been my text editor of choice for the past, oh, 10 years or so. Since then, the developer has added some nifty features, while keeping the original core application small, simple, efficient, and nimble.
One of the main reasons I continue using it (even after trying many others which may be arguably better) is because of the developer's philosophy of rejecting the feature-du-jour of other text editors in exchange for speed and core functionality.
That said, it still has syntax highlighting, auto-completion, external user-tool/filter support, mulit-file search and replace, and even simple code-folding.
I'm not associated with the developer in any way; I am just very excited about the product.
C'mon, seriously? Blaming Python for PSP's bloat? Besides that PSP was already a bloated pig at v7 (v6 was probably the last lean version), you're just tossing personal vendettas into the article.
"I don't like Python so nyaaaaaaaaa"... that's all I got from this.
Try Damn Small Linux or Puppy Linux then. Both are tiny, will run on steam-computers, are *extremely* fast with a full desktop.
jep. plus latley i get more 'updates' for ubuntu server' than i get for windows XP .... i wonder why.. must be an awfull olot of bugs in that ubuntu that it nees that mny kernel patches and other module patche. lloks they are handing it out before its completely debugged ...
what's next lin$x ??? ( red hat is on the right track to become a lin$x. they charge an arm and leg for install .. )
if only there was a 'gun aiming at pengiun' icon ....
Everything IBM Ever Bought
Suffers from "buy a small company with a cool product and fuck it up beyond all recognition" syndrome.
For those of you not familiar with their festering pile of filth, I offer you ClearCase, Rational Rose and Rational Purify.
Every now and then, for a laugh, they also invent their own tool from scratch (e.g. Rational Software Architect), then abandon an old but perfectly serviceable tool (Rose), forgetting along the way to give you an import facility that actually works.
As these new tools are based on Eclipse, you need more RAM than the combined computing resources of NASA just to start them up - and then you find they can't do half of what the old tools did anyway.
And don't get me started on maintenance fees. Despite paying tens of thousands of pounds annually, we get about one bug in five actually fixed. The remainder are acknowledged, but don't get fixed because there's "not enough demand".
Best of all is when they come round trying to sell you their "Unified Process", or whatever it's called this week. Apparently this is the Holy Grail of software development processes. Oh, the irony.
Anyway, keep up the good work. Stob and Orlowski are the reasons I keep coming back to the Reg. Oh, the insane reader comments are good too.
Wot? No XPDF??
You're seriously suggesting using that "**** FOR **** EVALUATION **** USE **** ONLY ****" piece of dog's bollocks over xpdf? Which even has a better GUI than Foxit does. (what? pageup/pagedown doesn't go to the previous/next page?!) Plus you can alter the source to manage your digital rights as you see fit (YES, I want to PRINT the f*cking form!)
At least it did get me off my duff and install the latest version of xpdf.
Anyway, just picking nits, the article was absolutely a delicious rant and spot-on.
My favorite software kidnapping story is "Microsoft Streets" where they bought some company to compete with DeLorme and Garmin. 2003 had all sorts of functionality. You could save locations (such as home, work, closest pub) permanently, so they could be referenced on any map you made. You could export & import locations using CSV, which means I could import my GPS' plot trails. Plus some primitive drawing functions and "measure this distance" stuff.
2004? We'll be having none of THAT! Export/import totally disappeared. Locations became "map-specific" and everything you did was a "new map" starting from a totally blank slate. Basically you could pan around and look at their out-of-date streets, and that was about it.
And the sad part is that's the only piece of MS software I've actually bought and paid for myself. Needless to say, it was also the last.
FWIW, if you have a moderately too much time and not enough pain in your life, you can always try - http://www.linuxfromscratch.org, and its various progeny, if you want to create a skinny, lithe penguin to shag....
Re: MediaPlayer any?
MediaPlayer after verson 6.4 became a steaming pile of bloated crap IMHO, why does every company decide they want the interface to look like it was designed for a Fisher-Price computer? I love the simplicity (and usability) of the GUI that pre-WindowsXP came with as default.
I use Media Player Classic all the time now, doesn't need installing which means you can carry it (single exe) on a USB stick/drive, even plays DVDs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_Player_Classic
*fnord* http://www.oldversion.com/ *fnord*
Office 2007 converter magic trick
Some of the kids at our school started bringing files in from their home computers in .docx format. To allow the teachers to open the files and check they had actually done their homework we began installing the Convertor app onto staff PCs.
Only it turns out there is a sneaky little function that the app has - when you right click on an Word file in explorer a new menu option has been added. 'Save as...'. This can be used to copy the file to another location... only the format it saves it in is .docx! If a member of staff uses this function to move a file to a flash drive they get home to find that they can't open their file any more.
As a result, we have taken the decision that we will not support Office 2007 format files on-site at all.
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