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Software over-privileges

Topics/tags Miscellaneous, short, rambly [1]

The other day, I was putting together an advertisement for LACAFI, the Liberal Arts College Association for Faculty Inclusion [3]. Along the way, I realized that I should probably use the LACAFI logo and asked our academic support staff for a copy. They sent me an Adobe Illustrator file. Amazingly, I have Illustrator on my old laptop, which is what I’m currently using. But it’s an old version [4] that I haven’t used in a while. And it turns out that one needs Java 6 to use that version of Illustrator. Or at least that’s what my Mac said when I tried to launch it. I didn’t really want to re-install an old version of Java, so I looked into buying a new copy of Illustrator.

Now, I know that Illustrator is expensive. I recall spending a few hundred dollars on Adobe Creative Suite the last time I purchased it. I didn’t want to spend that much on it again. But I also remembered hearing that the College had a special partnership that gave us a discounted price. So I asked about it. One of the awesome TCs [5,7] sent me a link to

Here’s what I discovered: Grinnell faculty and staff can purchase a one-year subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud [8] for $9.75. That’s an amazingly good price. What’s the normal price? It appears to be $52.99 per month for normal people and $19.99 per month for students and teachers [10]. So the price I pay is about four percent of the already-discounted education price.

Once again, I’m reminded how many privileges are associated with my position.

Fortunately, others can share in this particular privilege. I’d encourage other faculty and staff to take advantage of this discount; $9.75 for a year of access to Adobe products is a great deal [11].

Postscript: As you’ve figured out, the title of this musing is a failed attempt to combine my sense of being over-privileged with the concepts of software privileges, which means something completely different. I will admit that I haven’t really addressed the issue of software privileges; perhaps they are implicit in the concept of software licensing, rather than software ownership [12].

[1] I realize that it’s hard to be both short and rambly. However, I seem to have managed to go fairly far off-topic in the endnotes [2]. Hence, I am tagging this musing as rambly. At some point, I’ll probably realize that rambly musing is redundant and give up on the term.

[2] The best musings are the ones in which the postscripts and endnotes are about as long as the main text. Right? Perhaps they are even better when the first in-text endnote is at least the third endnote.

[3] Grinnell is a bronze-level sponsor of the ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference. As bronze-level sponsors, we get to put in an advertisement. I believe the selective liberal-arts colleges will be more successful in attracting candidates if we work together to describe the benefits of teaching at our kinds of institutions. Hence, whenever I can bring in others to collaborate, I do.

[4] Illustrator CS 6, to be precise.

[5] TC stands for Technical Consultant [6]. The TCs are generally the front-line students who work for ITS (Information Technology Services).

[6] They used to be UCs, which stood for User Consultant. We appear to be moving backwards through the alphabet. I assume that in a few years someone will decide to call them Student Consultants and they will be SCs. Perhaps after that, someone will decide that they want to emphasize the interpersonal skills that the students have and call them RCs for Relational Consultants. Then Quality Consultants, Personal Consultants, and so on and so forth. Perhaps alumni will be able to identify their time at Grinnell by what we called these students.

[7] I don’t consider it appropriate to identify a student by name in a musing. Perhaps the student will read this and know that I am thankful. It is more likely that the student’s boss will read this musing. If they can’t guess who it is, and care, they can ask me.

[8] More precisely, Adobe Creative Cloud for ETLA [9].

[9] Do you know what ETLA stands for? I didn’t. There’s one meaning that I particularly appreciate: Extended Three-Letter Acronym. In this case, I think it stands for Enterprise Term Licensing Agreement.

[10] Hmmm … the fine print suggests that it’s $29.99 per month after the first year.

[11] I’ll muse at some other time about the problematic issues associated with software licensing.

[12] Or, better yet, available source code.

Version 1.0 of 2018-07-18.