Monday, May 2, 2011

Finally, it's upgrade time!

I normally schedule major upgrades for my hardware and software every 5 years, and I was overdue for a major upgrade for months. Just didn't have the money or opportunity to make it happen earlier in the year. The fact that my desktop workstation, which normally handles everything that my convertible notebook didn't have the graphics horsepower to handle, died a few months ago added a bit of uneasy panic to the equation. 

I wasn't able to work on any models that had textures larger than 1024x1024px as a result of that hardware failure, and my large paper model output dropped sharply as the amount of time needed to work on models increased. That was a crippling blow to my already weak sales, which really didn't help matters any when tax time rolled around. It was also another reason I took a programming contract for all of March--there just wasn't any feasible way for me to crank out enough small paper models to make the bills.

I had resigned myself to not being able to upgrade my toolset for the foreseeable future, and I sort of came to terms with that after closing down all direct sales. Of course, fate has a funny way of going about things. I finally had an opportunity to upgrade my hardware and software the other day. There was a catch, however--the timing really wasn't good, because of our financial situation, and it was a very limited window of opportunity that I couldn't pass up.

I had a chance to get the full boxed DVD version of Photoshop CS5 Extended at a really steep discount from a software liquidator. My current convertible isn't up to running CS5 Extended (it can just about keep up with plain old Photoshop CS!), so in order to make the most of that acquisition, I would have had to replace my computer. And wouldn't you know it, there was a promotion for the kind of laptop I wanted from the hardware supplier that I had a line of credit with. Oh, I was torn. I went out to talk to a singularly unhelpful Mrs E, who was of the same indecisive mind that I was. Sometimes being on the same wavelength 90% of the time isn't necessarily a good thing!

In the end, I pulled the trigger. If I had let that opportunity slide, I'd never be able to get back on my feet with my existing, aging toolset. On the other hand, going for the opportunity would make an already tenuous financial situation go from bad to worse. Yet, on the third hand, not doing this now could easily mean waiting months or years for a similar opportunity to arise. So, I just took a big leap of faith and did it.

As of this moment, I'm the proud, excited, terrified, and even more broke owner of Photoshop CS5 Extended, a new 1TB external hard drive, and a much more modern laptop with more graphical horsepower than my old desktop workstation and convertible notebook combined. The laptop will ship sometime in the middle of the month after it's been assembled and tested. Photoshop and the external hard drive are supposed to arrive sometime this week. It was a good bargain, but one that I really wish had come during better financial times.

For you, this means I can actually work on the huge, bill-paying paper models once again, after the big coding project is wrapped up.