Saturday, May 24, 2008

Paint.NET is a Photoshop killer

I've recently discovered Paint.NET. This great application is not only completely freeware, but it offers pretty much all of the most common things I once used Photoshop for.

I have been using version 3.35 and only found a couple of limitations so far, notably I can't find a way to do find rotations ... it only seems to support rotating and flipping in lots of 90 degree which is pretty useless. But combined with Irfanview, it seems to work a treat and I can't complain about what is a pretty fast and slick application.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

CRMs are just too slow ....

One thing that has been frustrating me of late is that every single Customer Relationship Management system that I have tried is so incredibly slow ...

Years ago I used Maximizer and ACT. Neither of them costed more than a few hundred dollars. While I complained a bit about the lack of advanced features and occasional bug, one thing I never complained about was the speed. Running fully on the desktop, these programs enabled you to talk on the phone to customers while you recorded notes and made calcultations in real-time. Yet ever since ACT 6 or 7 (I can't remember which) this great product went to the dogs because it ran Microsoft SQL Server, .NET and bloated the system with memory issues slowing the whole thing down to a snails pace such that it became completely unusable. You'd spend minutes watching hourglasses while your customers would hang up in your face.

Since then I've gone through all sorts of web based CRM systems, which have the same interface issues. SugarCRM, vTiger, and basically come to the conclusion that they all suck. When you don't want to use them hosted and install them locally, you can add plenty of support headaches to the list.

My latest brainwave was to go back to basics and try Microsoft Business Contact Manager for Outlook. I've been using it for a while and though it offers the functionality and features I'm after I've found that it also runs incredibly slowly. Such that I'm going through the same headaches all over again. My laptop hardware should be more than up to the task, but somehow I'm doubting it is a hardware problem and once again I find myself suffering from "Slow CRM Syndrome". I did get a licence and with Office Small Business upgrade, it cost a few hundred bucks, so about the same as ACT, but probably a slightly better investment.

Anyway, I'm reluctant to even try the high end systems, because from what I've seen they are really no better in terms of performance.

There has to be a huge market for a slick, fast CRM that doesn't cost the earth (sigh) ....