"hobbies and interests"

amzing imageComputing

I can remember designing a short computer program in 1967/8 in a language called Atlas Autocode. Then the program had to be compiled and converted to a set of punched cards which were sent to Manchester to be run on an Atlas mainframe computer in a pre-booked slot. The results were sent back the following day and eventually I would get see the results. Syntax was strict and the slightest typographic error rendered the whole thing meaningless.

Nowadays we can type simple programs on our own personal laptop computer, using nothing more than a word processor and run them instantly in a browser. Some errors are even forgiven, although most are still not. The scripting language used for basic web pages is known as HTML or XHTML and this is supported by style instructions known as cascading style sheets, which define how the content will look. Another script language is used to perform simple automatic actions initiated by viewers' actions and is known as javascript.

Anyone with a web site can upload pages in a matter of seconds and they are available immediately to anyone who browses the internet. Amazing.

Observations on software I regularly use:

software program
used for comments
Bitmap editing
Adobe Photoshop CS5
Enhancing photos, adding titles, creating cards Nothing beats Photoshop in terms of functionality and ease of use. It isn't cheap but given the amount I use it, it has proved extremely worthwhile
Vector graphics
Xara Designer Pro
Creating images, illustrations, stationery, brochures, web sites, simple DTP A general purpose program, my favourite for illustration. Intuitive and good value for money. The whole progam includes photo enhancement, web site creation and some DTP features but Xara have available subsets of the program for anyone not wanting to purchase the whole program. Although I have Adobe Illustrator I find myself automatically reaching for Xara
Word processing
Microsoft Word
Letters, essays, labels, If you can't beat it join it. I used to be a WordPerfect fan but now MS Word is the only horse in town worth considering.
Desktop publishing
Indesign CS5
Magazines, newspapers, books Designed by Adobe from scratch, Indesign meets all needs in a logical way. If your design needs are not onerous you could probably use Xara Designer Pro or Page & Layout Designer for a fraction of the cost.
Spreadsheets Microsoft Excel Anything in tabular form, including calculations A great program, easy to use; versatile and accomplished. It can be used simply as a sortable table or for accounts
Website design Adobe Deamweaver, formerly Macromedia Creating and uploading web sites Many use a wysiwyg program which accomplishes everything without needing to know lanuage basics. This is fine but it doesn't enable you to modify a page created in anything else. Besides, having mastered code, that I enjoy the extra freedom that goes with this program


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