If there’s one application that I can identify as one of the longest-lived applications I ever used on any computer, it would have to be ACDSee. This photo viewer, then photo manager, has been installed on every computer I’ve ever had.
Like all software exposed to time, the program started to get too big and tried to do too much. I tried out different versions, sometimes dropping back to really old versions to avoid the bloat. Then one day, I had a change of heart and I purchased the newest version. What a sucker move that was.
So now I had the newest version, with all of its new, sparkly, excessive features. I also had a nice, shiny new computer, so they played pretty well together. Then slowly, it didn’t. The software started getting slow. It started nagging me to upgrade. It maintained a link with an online account set up with their website. It never got any more updates, because the world had moved on to higher version numbers.
Things started to get really out of hand when ACDSee started taking upwards of 15 seconds to open a single image and over a minute to enumerate a couple hundred files on a network drive. So, in the spirit of my other biggest and bloatedest posts, ACDSee is getting the boot.
So what is its replacement? I’ve tried a program called Phototheca and it was really nice, but it requires you to work with a local photo store. It would be great if all your photos were on the local drive, but that’s not my situation. Then I tried Faststone Image Viewer and I stopped looking. I’m extremely happy with this application. It’s almost exactly like the old ACDSee versions – it’s fast and lightweight, but unlike those old versions, it’s made for modern CPUs and OS’s. What took ACDSee many, many seconds to open, Faststone opened immediately. The only issue I have with it is the way it handles zoom-clicking in the viewer. But I’ll adapt.
Oh, it’s also freeware. It has no online integration, no licensing, no hidden installers during setup, nothing extra. It’s just good, clean, fast software. And it’s free. I always find it odd that nothing is allowed to stop. It has to keep growing until it collapses under its own weight. So, goodbye ACDSee, you’ve been replaced with a new version of your older self.