Monday, May 19, 2008

My Lost Weekend with Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection

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That's the name of the product on the box. The sales lady on the phone vehemently denies it is a collection on the phone when challenged about the actual product with just one serial number, instead of a full "collection of individual disks, each with their own numbers. Suffice it to say, another software company has taken a few more days of my life, NEEDLESSLY!

Wrtten Monday Morning:

My wife was using a trial edition of Photoshop CS3 Extended to take a course. The software was to expire on Saturday evening, and so on Thursday I called up to get a serial number to place in the appropriate spot, as the trial software had been prompting me. As my wife has plans for taking additional courses, we wanted to get the whole Master Creative Suite. It wasn't until I contacted Adobe to finalize the purchase that evening, that we learned that it was not going to be a case of giving a credit card, getting a serial number, and typing it in, a 5 minute transaction.

In my wife's instructor's intro to class I must admit she did warn people to have it installed and running. My wife and I took this to mean not to spend the money elsewhere. I've been installing software since 1980, as a tech and a teacher myself. The only events, that the problems involved with this, are comparable to, are Win95 and SoftImage 4. The first because, as we all know, it was broken form the start.

Suffice to say they did make it clear to stop applications, but they also seem to suggest that you needed to be connected to the internet for the install to succeed. Accordingly I prepared the machine by completely cleaning out every former Adobe program, and making 44 gigs of space on a 2 gig of RAM, duo processor, Sony VAIO laptop. This is double the requiements listed on the box, and usually handles the manufacturers' screwups. I wanted a clean and solid install.

That was Saturday afternoon. I had driven to UC Davis to pick up the collection, as it turned out that not only couldn't they give serial numbers over the phone, they couldn't download the software either. Davis is a five hour round trip from here, but it was the closest copy.

By Saturday night I had screwed up the machine so badly the the Internet connection was behaving erratically. It still is and Verizon will be back to me this afternoon. This email will be going out over land line phone. Sunday afternoon the Verizon EVO line started working again, and I continued to read and ponder the enormous amount of information Adobe has for failed installs, including the notion of copying the DVD's to the Hard drive, and messing with the registry, stuff I would still assume the average consumer is not going to be familiar with.

Tech support was closed till Monday, and appeared to cost $39 per incident. The website does not mention free installation support. I would consider these two things one and the same, so it never occurred to me to ask. I only learned about this by threatening to take the product back and forget about Adobe forevermore.

This morning I was finally able to get through to install support, where a young Chinese dude and I slowly worked our way through a ton of steps to clear away the mess, and begin a fresh install with absolutely no Internet, and no applications of any kind running, including tiny calendars and timers and Netmeter.

It took 30 minutes on hold with just music (no reassuring, "somebody will answer"), and 1 1/2 hours of working with the tech to get the process to start again from the beginning. With EVERYTHING shut down, the install went off as you would expect, taking about 35 minutes.

As of 10 minutes ago, at 11:18 Am Monday, May 19th, 2008, my wife again has use of Adobe Photoshop, but she is of course at school, teaching, in Yuba City an hour and 1/2 from here.


Adobe Suite Looks Like a Bargain, but is not all of the individual softwares, but rather a giant one serial number software. Installing it takes forever. Installing it wrong takes forever and a day to fix. It is very easy to install it wrong. They call it a "Suite" and not a "Collection" I was informed, even though it says "collection" right on the box..

Even when installed at first it looks just like Photoshop CS3, with no extended. The "extended" part only shows up after activation.

The product is only shipped from Atlanta, or available in your college bookstores, sometimes. Students need photo ID and course schedule current or tuition bill current. Faculty need photo ID, paystub, bsuiness cards, the more stuff the better. I wound up taking in our marriage license to prove the connection, as well as birth certificates and driver's licenses.

The phone number for free Installation support is:


They are open only M - F , 6 Am to 5PM, PST and PDT
No weekends.

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