Software – more is not always better

Spent a frustrating day creating the images for my book today. Now up front I have to own up to the artistic level of your average 9 year old. Struggling with Corel Draw reminded me of the old days of trying to get the bloody thing to do what you want. I have become accustomed to easy to use software, which does one or two things simply, that I tend not to encounter these very specialist packages any more. What I wanted to do was create some fairly simple diagrams, but for instance, drawing a normal distribution curve that wasn’t skewed, bumpy or in some way deformed proved to be beyond me. My colleague Patrick McAndrew jokes that there are only three diagrams in Higher Education – the Venn diagram, the triangulation of forces and the normal distribution curve. There is something in this, and what I need is a drawing package that doesn’t give me lots of features, but lets me do the simple things effectively. The drawing package in Word is not bad for this, but the output often lacks that more professional (or less amateur) look. There probably is such a package out there. My point is that development is always about adding more, but for a whole range of users it’s not about more, it’s about simpler.

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