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Ingrained habit and hanging on to software

On my Opera Community blog, I posted some words on what my problems with the latest Opera release are. Most of that is only interesting if you're an Opera user yourself, but the final paragraphs indicate a wider problem with software usability:

Still, I am very used to doing things the Opera way. On my other platforms (the Windows machine in my studio and the Linux machine at home), the idea of switching, moving over my bookmarks and my passwords, and getting used to doing things differently than I have been doing since 1998, makes me slightly queasy in the stomach.

Which is why I wrote this post in Opera. Uhm, better back it up in an editor window before hitting "Post"...

The same thing applies with Paint Shop Pro. I've been using it since version 4, when I found its very existence liberating. A full-featured image editing program that doesn't cost an arm and a leg and is easy to use? Fantastic! Now, with version 8, Paint Shop Pro has functionality that is even better than it was then, and the interface has continued to improve. But it also has the worst bug I've ever seen in commercially-released, non-beta software: the Intractable Undo Bug that can destroy hours of your work irretrievably. It even makes the sensible practice of saving regularly actively dangerous, because the only way to know if the Undo Bug has kicked in is to look at the whole image before you save, then to look at individual areas of the image in detail. The Undo Bug affect areas of the image other than the one you were working on.

This bug alone makes Paint Shop Pro a very dangerous program to work with, and I can tell you that not being able to trust software puts a crimp in my creativity. But it's still slightly less nerve-wracking than doing the same work in another program. At least the Undo system in PSP is functionally well-designed and works like it does in all other Windows programs. CTRL-Z causes an undo, pressing CTRL-Z again causes another undo. In Photoshop, CTRL-Z toggles between Undo and Redo, which is annoying and forces people to use its non-standard Undo History widget (other image editing apps now have that, but it's still non-standard within the larger body of GUI apps). Things like that interrupt my creative flow even more than the once-an-hour Undo Bug in PSP.

Basically, the software I am used to has me by the balls. I think that goes for a lot of people.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 8, 2005 11:57 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Stone me, it's a serious article about the Flat Tax!.

The next post in this blog is The stride.

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