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    Russell Viers is a Transition Expert in the publishing world. Since 1997 he has helped newspapers and magazines adapt to changes in the industry. Read more...

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  • If I only had a G5 with Creative Suite 2 in the 80s

    May 9th, 2006 by Russell Viers

    Often I think back to the early days…not wood or lead type…not that early. My early days, when I used to use a CompuGraphic MDT350 to write my stories. Or my old Nikon Nikkormat film cameras…and layout boards…and line tape…
    Or what about PageMaker 1.0…on a PC 286AT…with run-time Windows…and a 300dpi laser printer? Ahh…those were the days.
    I was thinking about one of my first freelance projects using PageMaker on that old machine, and I remembered that it had a memory limit. Not based on RAM or Harddrive space, but a limit within the program.
    It would happen something like this: you’d be typing along, working on page 25 of the document and all of a sudden…POW!!!…a message would pop up…mid-sentance…saying “you have reached your memory limit” or something to that affect.
    So now what do you do? Delete enough characters to work, save the document, do a save as and break your document into two parts. Eventually I had broken my 120 page catalog into six 20-page docs.
    Aaaahhhh…the good ol’ days.
    And what about the speed? Outputting the final pages at a blistering 1 page every day.
    There was the project where I wanted to put the page number inside a circle. When I printed the page out, they weren’t arranged like they were on my monitor. To make it work, I had to move the page number until it looked good on the printout…which, of course, meant the file on screen looked like a train wreck.
    Remember Photoshop pre-Layers…and pre-Actions…and pre-History? Oh yeah…they weren’t always there.
    It doesn’t take long for my thoughts to move to “What if I had a time machine? What if I could go back to the 80s with a G4 laptop, loaded with Creative Suite 2? What would that do to the competition?”
    Oh, I know it’s just a pipe dream, but it’s still fun to think about how different things would be.
    I think of how I really could have used things like Object Styles, Snippets, Anchored Objects and the eyedropper over the past two decades.
    One thing that hasn’t change, though. I think it’s funny when I hear people say “This Creative Suite is so easy to use and so powerful, now everyone is going to think they’re a designer.” Well, I’ll tell you…I heard that back in the mid 80s at the birth of the Desktop Publishing age.
    These faster computers and more powerful software programs don’t magically make people designers…they just help people create crap faster than ever before.
    So tell us what it would have been like for you if you had a G5 with Creative Suite 2 in the 80s…or the 90s for that matter.

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