Slow Down, Take a Breath, Be Patient

November 15, 2012

Today I’m reminded about Aesop’s Fable about the tortoise and the hare. Sometimes our haste to get things done faster can cause a process to take longer.

I still vividly remember one of the first projects I did in CorelDRAW. The year was 1992 and the project was a two-page ad that was to appear in Computer Shopper magazine. Anyone remember that massive magazine that would arrive like a brick every month?

The ad had been created just fine and the customer had signed off on it. Now it was just a matter of creating a color separation of the ad. Since the project is long-ago completed, I can tell you the size of the color separation file was around 40 MB. Yea, that’s pretty small by today’s standards. And it just barely fit on a Syquest cartridge. Remember those? The process of printing from CorelDRAW to that file took 16 hours. I remember having to do it three times! It was much worse than watching paint dry.

Today it might take 30 seconds to create that same file, probably less. Since our computers are multi-tasking, it would be easy enough to work on something else while the file was being created. Yet it seems as if many of us have gotten even more impatient with our computers as they have gotten faster.

Just recently I was sitting with someone as they attempted to do something simple on a Web site. There was such a rush to urge pages to load and click on things that the process took 2-3 times as long as it should. Why? Instead of taking a breath while the page loaded and clicking on the correct choice, several wrong choices were made first. I know sometimes the 5-10 seconds it takes for something to load can seem like forever, but take a deep breath before you start fidgeting and clicking.

Yesterday I was contacted by a customer who thought there was an error on the CorelDRAW X6 Unleashed disc they received. The first message I received said the disc couldn’t be read and I knew that didn’t make sense as the customer had also said they ran the installer. In the next message, I was told that the installer had frozen. I said there were nearly 5 GB of files (the book and movies are a lot of content) and that it takes a while for it to copy to the hard drive. I asked if the computer was truly frozen or if it was still copying. When I next heard from the customer, it had successfully installed because they had waited long enough for the files to copy.

This takes me back to the ad that took 16 hours to print. I had to do it three times because I was afraid the computer (or CorelDRAW) had hung in the process of printing. There was just no easy way to know back then if it was still working. Finally I was patient enough to allow it to finish the job! So the next time you think there is a problem, stop and take a breath. It may just be taking a little longer, even in our instant gratification world.

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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