New Software Blues - Forgetting What You've Learnt

Serif DrawPlus X5
Image: Serif Website.
There was a time when I could skim through a manual for virtually any application software in the space of a weekend and that would be all I'd need to find my way around the program from then on.

There was even a time when I could work out applications based on my previous experience of using similar software.

Whilst those days aren't completely gone I'm finding it harder and harder to learn new software simply because the software can do so much more than it used to.

For example, I got very used to using Corel Draw 8 and the suite of tools that came with it back in 1995. I learnt to use it over the space of a weekend so I could complete a large commission I was working on for a client.

I'm from the school of if it does the job then don't upgrade. Corel Draw 8 has done the job I need it for well for nearly 15 years. Plus I don't like spending money unnecessarily on upgrades - I just don't buy into the whole concept of computer software and hardware being obsolete from the moment it's released.

However after 15 years, even I can see there's a need to upgrade so I did. I went with Serif Draw X5 because it worked with my graphics tablet and because it was far  cheaper than an upgrade to Corel Draw X6.

The problem is I seem to be really struggling with learning it. Sure I know the very basics. The common features that most drawing programs have such as the Pen and Pencil tools, how to adjust line widths and change colours etc. It's all the advanced stuff that I'm struggling with.

Serif Draw X5 comes with a lot of built in context help that you can read as you draw. It has a help panel that you can keep open for a refresher of how to use any tool as you select it. Despite this I still don't seem to be able to make things stick in my brain.

I've done all the tutorial videos for the program at least twice to help out but even that isn't really working - even though the tutorials are really good with step by step examples.

It's not helping things that I've bought quite a lot of software lately and am experiencing similar problems learning them as well.

I know I'll get there eventually if I keep persevering but it's very frustrating knowing that the tools I have are the right ones for the job if only I knew how to use them confidently.

I guess the analogy I could liken it to is learning how to walk again after an accident. You know how to walk  but until you strengthen all the muscles it's going to take time to get back to where you were before.

That said, if I"m having trouble learning some of these programs, I can only imagine what difficulties someone with less experience of using application software packages must be having.


4 comments:

  1. It's bad enough for me as everytime I get my head around some new technology, something else new comes out for me to learn.

    VCR's faded away and we had to learn to use DVD players, thus also having gone into CD's instead of cassette tapes. I've replaced a lot of my videos onto DVDs now, but would still like a VCR to play my manually recorder material, as my VCR doesn't play now since it started chewing up tapes, (only the DVD player side of it works) and apparently not worth having fixed, but people that fixed them seem to have disappeared or don't do it anymore.

    I'd still like to have a VCR to play all the tapes I've got recorded from TV such as concerts and such things that haven't been put to DVD, as they've been lost, apparently, but they have to be transferred onto DVDs by yourself now.

    I'm still on a basic Sony Ericson mobile, but wouldn't mind one of these Smart phones with internet and that you just use your finger to scroll etc, but people seem to have a lot of trouble with plans and prices sometimes. I don't necessarily want to be using them while I'm out or checking emails etc, as that's bad enough to do when I'm home.

    All my DVD and stero system needs up dating now. I've got out of taping with having the Iview for ABC and can catch-up other channels if I want, but I've gone back to the old way of just selecting what to watch and what to miss, it doesn't bother me as much now, and I used to do a heck of a lot of taping before.

    Just wish technology wouldn't keep bringing out new things when we've just got used to something! What was wrong with VCR's anyway, apart from not having tapes to wear out or chew up?

    It just goes on and on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd suggest you get hold a VCR player from someone and buy a thing for your computer that can record the video tape to digital video and then burn it to a DVD (the hardware you need you can buy for under $20.00) but it would be another bit of technology for you to work out. Might just be easier using a service that can do it for you.

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  2. As much as I liked the post, I have to say I absolutely adore the comment. I see myself in that situation in a couple of years!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and me both. I like to hang on to old technology until I absolutely have to replace it. By which time things have progressed so much it can be more than a little confusing.

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