The joys and woes of computer upgrades

My new desktop, Riker.

My new desktop, Riker.

The good news: I finally got a new computer at IT Training!  This makes me incredibly happy, as my old one was really starting to show its age.  The old one was originally a computer in one of our old classrooms, and when the classroom was converted into an office we ended up with a surplus of old Dell Optiplex 960s – and that’s what I ended up with for my main work computer for three years.  It was three years old when I got it, and when it got toted off to IU Surplus last week, it had given six years of dutiful service – but was getting depressingly sluggish.  I couldn’t run multiple Adobe programs on it, which I need to do for materials development, and IE frequently crashed… it was a sad mess.  So, myself and the other hourly employees got our upgraded computers while I was on vacation!  I’ve named mine Riker, after the Star Trek: The Next Generation character – I tell him “make it so!” and he does it.  (He has yet to provide me with hot earl grey tea, though.)

The bad news: There are licensing issues for Framemaker 12 that nobody anticipated, namely the fact that everyone has to log in with an Adobe ID in order to use the software.  And if we log in with our individual Adobe ID, then our Framemaker installs are tied to those IDs permanently.  Which isn’t exactly a good thing, especially since the hourly computers are shared.  Also, if one of the hourlies leaves for greener pastures, then we have to go through a heap of work to get the license keys un-associated with their Adobe ID.  We don’t often have people leave, but it does happen.  So that means while we’re figuring out what to do in regards to the Adobe ID issues… I can’t actually do any work on my Javascript/Extendscript find-and-replace project, as I can’t run the Extendscript toolkit and I can’t open Framemaker.  (This also throws a monkey wrench into a number of other projects, too, including the materials authoring projects I’m working on…)  I’ve been using the time to brush up on my Javascript, though, which has been helpful as I work on building the script.

I will say, though, the work I’ve done so far on this internship has given me some good insight into the other side of the digital publishing process.  I tend to be on one side of the process, actually creating the content and ensuring it meets IT Training’s style standards, editing other workshops to make sure the steps make sense, and providing mentoring to new developers.  Being on the other side of the fence, however – seeing what goes into the creation of the template for our materials, and working behind the scenes to make sure our existing materials can be upgraded to the new template format – is exciting.  I’d always thought of workshop authoring to be more of a backstage process, what with putting together the materials that myself and others will teach from, but I’ve now discovered there’s a further layer of backstage work.  And I’m enjoying it just as much as the other parts of the process!

Now if only I could get into Framemaker and actually work.

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