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What technology do we use for LiNE Zine? We use Adobe Photoshop 5.0, 5.5, Illustrator 9.0, Macromedia Dreamweaver 3.0, Fireworks 3.0, and Microsoft Word 2000.

In the technology-driven New Economy we are faced with a dilemma of when, why, and how to upgrade our software, hardware, knowledgebase, to ultimately improve our brainpower. No wonder weíre confused.

I had a chance to see, first-hand, anxious consumers gobble up the hype offered by Steve Jobs at a recent Seybold conference in San Francisco. Apple had a great setup, showcasing their latest 22 inch flat-panel studio display monitor, but even if it is the best monitor on the market, the $3,999.00 price tag is far out of reach of most of us. And what a concept: a $4,000 monitor that doesn't work with a PC.

Adobe was also there, showcasing Photoshop 6.0. I have been using Photoshop for a few years and just when I have learned about 67% of the current versionís functions, a whole slew of new features come out in a new version. This keeps it interesting, but how do I stay ahead? The greatest new feature in Adobe Photoshop 6.0 is its transition to a vector-based format, which allows resolution-independent graphics, and type to be incorporated into pixel based images for greater flexibility. As a bonus, they included new drawing tools and shapes to create what they call shape layers. These new features are outstanding, but they have me asking if I still need their companion drawing program, Illustrator.

So when do I upgrade? I have to admit, Iíd like to have the latest and greatest technology all the time, but itís just not practical anymore. Once I get that overnight software package from my favorite online distributor, when do I have time to learn to use all its new features? Many people rarely use them and have, in effect, wasted that $199 upgrade. Then there is the compatibility issue. Will I be able to open and edit the vector based image with 5 translucent, blended, masked layers someone saved in version 6.0 with my old Photoshop 5.0 version? Manufacturers say their apps are backwards compatible, but Iíve lost more than a little functionality when working with older versions. Are you willing to take that chance? And why is it that the old version usually runs faster? Like many of my friends, I usually wait to upgrade with every other version even if that gives me twice as many new features to learn.

And hardware? They say you can get a new computer every year with twice the computing power as last years model for the same price. Using that rule, in ten years time, we will go from the New Pentium IV at 1.5 Gigahertz to a 1526 Gigahertz Pentium XIVóthat is 1,526,000,000,000 cycles per second. You can bet that Adobe will have a new PhotoShop version ready to go right along with it. It will have minimum system requirements of something like a Pentium VIII with 4 Gigabytes memory and 10 Gigabytes hard drive space. When does it all end?

Being an old-fashion optimist is the only thing keeping me from screaming. The technology boom has softened and the world will keep turning. And somewhere in there, things may just slow down enough for us to inaugurate our new President and learn a couple of new features on that software program we just got for Christmas. Good luck and Happy New Year.

Greg Roberts has been the Webmaster of LiNE Zine since its inception. Send your comments and suggestions to