Updates (and downgrades)

I recently nstalled updates for two favorite programs: Beyond Compare and SnagIt. I can recommend Beyond Compare 3.0. I can’t recommend SnagIt 9.0.

Beyond Compare is an essential tool. It’s cost effective, efficient, effective, and the upgrade adds features without spoiling its strengths. I am pleased that version 3.0 compares CSV files as tables, and highlights changes in a new pane at the bottom of the screen. (That was a little hard to get used to. I found I kept having to double check which change was coming from which document.)

I wish I could be as complimentary of the SnagIt upgrade to version 9. I’ve used SnagIt for years, and I was esctatic that version 9 opens multiple files. The limit in earlier versions was the only thing I disliked about the software. Other than that, though, it’s also been an essential tool I use daily.

SnagIt is, or was, a lightweight tool that quickly captured screens (by region, window, element, etc), provided simple but nice annotation tools (balloons, arrows, etc) and some simple image processing. The interface was clean and it was easy to find the tool I wanted. Not surprising it captures scans, but it also does a fabulous job capturing scrolling webpages.

Sadly, the upgrade to version 9 has bloated the software without adding much in the way of new features that offset the bloat. It loads slowly and the interface is hiddeous, IMO. The aesthetics are moot, of course, but unfortunately TechSmith has adopted that abortion of an interface, the Microsoft “ribbon,” which means form taking up space content could use, and complicates finding and using tools.

TechSmith has made the mistake other software companies too often make. They’ve lost their focus on what it was that made SnagIt great, and have tried to push it in a direction[1] that makes it unsuccessful at the original job and the new one. I’ve uninstalled it and am back with SnagIt 8.

[1]It seems to be shooting for Adobe Photoshop Elements, software I hate to use. Honestly, when I need to do extensive image processing I’ll either slit my wrists or I’ll suck it up and buy and learn PhotoShop.

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2 thoughts on “Updates (and downgrades)

  1. Nancy…

    I had to offer my two cents worth on your last paragraph about dealing with graphics (i.e. Photoshop and all versions thereof). I had the same level of frustration every time I had to deal with a graphic of any kind. One BIG reason was that the only way I could edit a .bmp, .gif, or .jpg was using Microsoft Paint. How tedious?!?! (How UNCOOL!)

    Like you, I swore that someday I would learn Photoshop so I could “easily” make those minor modifications. After several attempts at teaching myself Photoshop and failing miserably (or is that failing successfully?) I enrolled in a one semester Photoshop class at a local junior college. ONE OF THE BEST INVESTMENTS I EVER MADE! Bottom line… if you DO ever decide to learn Photoshop, DO NOT waste your time trying to pick it up on your own. Get the basics from a qualified instructor (local JCs are the best source, IMO) and then you can improve your skills to the level you desire on your own, but YOU NEED TO KNOW THE BASICS first. What is so nice is that now I can make my own icons, splash screen, website graphics, etc. and (usually) I end up with what I actually envisioned. ;-)

    Bestest,
    …Dave Aring

  2. Cool tip, David, to try the community college for classes. I’ll keep that in mind for Photoshop for sure. I know that’s going to be a bear to learn.

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