During my years in the design and marketing industry, I’ve spent a lot of time on the bleeding edge of technology, keeping up with new hardware, software and techniques, constantly training and re-training myself to take advantage of all these wondrous things that are supposed to make life easier.
A few years ago, I stopped doing this. I did not choose to do this. Stopping was imposed on me by all that new technology.
It seems that every time I upgraded hardware or software, I was stopped in doing the most important thing I can do for clients — producing their work on time and on budget.
You know the drill: Load a new program, then deal with the consequences of that action, which might include something a small as learning where your favorite keyboard shortcut went to in this version, to fixing the hardware that no longer runs the more powerful, and demanding, software.
Or, if you buy some new hardware, you then spend a week integrating it into your workflow and work habits.
I finally got tired of the rat race in technology, as I spent long years in various art and creative departments where the latest whiz-band shiny tech thing was a mandatory acquisition, if for no other reason than to stay compliant with clients new toys.
So, in 2000, when we went full time with Wells-Smith Partners, I decided to use ancient technology, including my trusty Mac G3, a couple of small Raspberry iMacs, and a couple of hard drive to hold files. Our network was “sneaker-net” based — we went from one office to the next with files on a floppy disk or Syquest or Zip disk.
And I used that setup for three years, until I finally needed a little more speed, and invested a whole couple of hundred dollars in a new — wait for it — used G4!
From 2000 to 2010, I would not buy a new computer or upgrade my major software, because I simply did not want to invest time and money in getting the darned stuff to play well together.
The other graphic designers in my neighborhood laughed when I sat down at my computer, but I churned out a lot more work than they did, with a lot less downtime. My systems were tested, trusted, and (almost) never went down.
Of course, all good things come to and end, and my systems started failing. I saw the writing on the wall: doom and gloom from more and more crashes and incompatibilities.
Time to jump ahead in technology again. Nice thing about waiting for the bleeding edge to pass you by is that the hardware and software get better and cheaper.
So we bought new computers for eveyone, including a new server, with AppleCare for each, and all new software upgrades. We even added a single, lonely Windows PC, which sits in my office.
Happy, fast, reliable production days are here again. Everything just works, and I concern myself with satisfying clients, not troubleshooting.
At least for a couple more years.