Upgrades: Bliss or Blues?

Finale logoI have funny thing with upgrades: most software I use is open source software on Linux (I use Ubuntu) and often upgrade programs as soon as a new release becomes available. But there is one exception to my 'upgrade policy' though. A BIG exception. Most of my 'working' hours I spend with Finale (the only reason I still use Windows). I rarely update that one: when I get used to a version I don't like to change it because I have a need for speed in my main application. Plus: most of my notation needs are fairly modest, so I don't really need to keep it at the cutting edge. Besides incremental upgrades often have too little to offer. But after a few years these little features start to add up. So today I bit the bullet and upgraded Finale for the first time in 6 years. Boy, was I in for a surprise, and not just pleasant...

Upgrading after such a long time, I knew a lot of things have changed. But I was rather surprised at how much. I spend a lot of time searching for fairly basic procedures. Some were quickly found, but with others I realised I have to change my 'modus operandi' quite a bit. And then there are the changed keystrokes... You see: I'm a "heavy keyboard user", I'm no fan of rodents. And since I use Finale a lot, that means I'm fast on the keys. The most used sequences have become subconscious operations. And that's where the fun starts: the same old key sequences don't produce the expected results in many cases, so often I spend more than a few minutes figuring out how to undo some unwanted change and then find the new keystrokes that produce the results I wanted. It will be a while before I'm as fast as I used to be.

On the other hand: doing a large upgrade like this also offers advantages. If I bought all the incremental upgrades, I'd probably have missed out on the 'goodies'. The little features that - taken together - can offer big benefits. With a small upgrade there is often little need to turn to the manual, so I go back to my regular way of working with only minor adjustments. But since I'm now more or less forced to at least skim through the manual, I might as well take it as an opportunity to reassess my entire working method. And since the summer period is coming, I'm likely to have a few extra hours here and there to peruse that manual to see how I can improve my work flow. I also expect to find some new features to improve my work.

This also creates an opportunity to look at the layout of my work again. Usually I work from templates I've created over the years and that I'm fairly content with. But there is always room for improvement, so while reading the manual I am also 'on the lookout' for ways to improve the looks of my work. Most likely I will produce an entirely new 'master template' from which I can derive the templates for my regular work.

So what's your take on upgrades? Specifically regarding your main 'work horse'?

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