Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Download Day

It is strange to admit but… every so often I like to play with new software.

I know that it can be a source of pennies for the swear box.

I also know that it can be a great way of kidding oneself that you are being productive and doing cutting edge stuff. However, I also find that cranking through tutorials for the new features and functions is a great way to challenge my pre-conceived notions of what I can and can not do on my desktop.

Today I have downloaded Studio 8 by Macromedia and Skype. It is interesting to note how I got on.

The Macromedia download went well…at first. I have used various versions of these pieces of software for a while now and I quickly recognized that both Dreamweaver 8 and Flash 8 offer some functions that I will actually use on a regular basis. I decided to invest a little bit of my hard earned by buying both these products bundled up as Studio 8.

It is moments like these when I actually like being a PhD student. The commercial price for Studio 8 is about £380 (don’t quote me on the exact number…as I am not a consumer magazine). However, for a mere £65 or so (80 something Euros at today’s exchange rate for those who like to be exact) this new version of the software was mine (in theory). The only restriction on its use was that it should NOT be used for commercial activities. I should be so lucky!

You would have thought buying online from a computer software company would be simple. Not so Neddy! Firstly I had great deal of difficulty finding a link to the educational version of the software (it is at the highly memorable - if you are interested). Then the site would not allow me to buy the software online. Being persistent, I rang up Macromedia to find out what was going on. It turns out that, indeed, the educational version of Studio 8 was not available through the online store to someone living in the UK but I could, however, buy it over the telephone.

Buying over the phone was kind of nice as the Macromedia-oid at the other end of the line was very friendly. However, much as I enjoyed chin wagging with sales I found myself surprised as this rather old-world charm experience does not fit with the lean-mean image that e-commerce and software sales likes to portray of itself (where my database talks to your database/ low friction capitalism). Is there something amiss in Macromedia land?

The telephone was not the only piece of retro tech that I had to use. The friendly Macromedia-oid also asked me to fax over a copy of my student ID so that they could make sure that I was indeed a bone fide brain box. I was interested to know why I could not e-mail an image. The Macromedia-oid told me it was due to problems with viruses. It is an odd turn of events when one can not e-mail an image to the makers of Fireworks – a respected piece of image manipulation software).

Skype proved to be less problematic ..though rather more costly in turns of online time. I found the skype and the download without too much trouble. I also managed to download the software without too much difficulty. The set-up wizard, however, seemed to take hours as it chuntered its way through the online contacts list held by skype.

I am now ploughing my way through the online help, getting to grips with VoIP and Internet Telephoning. I am also praying that I actually have some one to ring at the end of the day. In a way, this experience reminds me of setting up my first e-mail account…when I had a headful of hopeful ideas for the new technology but a completely empty address book.

Some thing rather special happened as I started to fill up that address book with e-mails and @s. I can’t imagine that skype will change me in the same way…but you never know!


Post a Comment

<< Home