Softwares (some musing and alternatives)

The big tech guys are really dominate our lives and out of convenience we keep using their products.

Of course sometimes the products are just better, or they are so established in an industry, that you really need to use them for compatibility.

But sometimes, I think it is a good idea to look at alternatives.

A) This is actually playing one tech giant against the other. Only difference, you pay for one and the other is part of the hardware (of course you actually pay for it either way). I am talking about Microsoft vs Apple.

I have a Microsoft Office on my MacBook. Since I do not need all the bells and whistles of the Office 360 version, plus I abhore the ‘rental’ of sofware, I bought the Offive version, which is still available for purchase. So far so good. However, increasingly, when I am launching the software it wants to be verified. So it blocks me to start my work, while it connects to the Microsoft server. Depending on the online speed, that can take a minute or two, or even more. Over time that adds up.

Also it does it for Words, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook separately. Most annoying.

So this morning I decided to use the Mac ‘Office” softwares more often. Pages, Numbers and Keynote or The “Open Office”.

I agree it is a pain to have to relearn all the functions and to find the various menu points. But I think it is worth it to keep the giants in ‘Schach’, so that we users can retain some of our freedom.

B) I have been paying for some time for a subscription for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Not to much every month, since it seems Adobe has decided against the advertised price increase, but again, it sums up over time.

I am not an overly advanced Photoshop user and possibly only utilize 20% of what the software can do. But paying all the time? Call me old fashion, but if affordable, I rather own the product, though technically you never own software.

Anyway, 8 weeks ago I came accross the Afinity by serif software. It was offered at a 50% discount til June 30, but actually at about AUD 80.00 normally the price is more than reasonable per software pack and you do ‘own’ it.

So I got Afinity Photo, Designer and Publisher. Publisher will replace my very old Microsoft Publisher program. I tried Adobe Indesign, but was somehow never comfortable with it and Words does not cut it.

The programs requires some steep learning but they turn out to be very good. I can use them on up to two Macs or the Windows version on up to two PC’s. Unfortunately you need to buy separate editions for PC and Mac. But again, the price is very attractive and Afinity provides you with a stack of training videos, accessible from within the start-up screen and on Youtube.

Yes some features, such as ‘Bridge” are not available and some of the filters could have a bit more grip. But maybe I am not using it right or some is still to come.

Afinity further offers you some access to effects libraries for download into the programs.

There is a great level of cross-software compatability at in-and export, so that existing files can be openend and you can export into a Photoshop file, for example. So far I am most impressed.

I think, maybe once I am fully familiar, I may cancel my Adobe subscription.

Ah, I forgot. Afinityhas three great training and project books for each program. Not cheap, but very helpful, if you like to study properly and not want to spend to much time with trial-and-error.

By the way, this is not payed advertising.

So if you so inclined, give the big guys a bit a run for their money, so that they do not steamroll you into their schemes and if you are European (I still regard the UK as part of Europe, at least geographically), you may want to support products coming from there.

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