Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Few Questions and Answers...

I am finally getting back to nearly normal after this nasty spring cold and I spent Monday catching up on some household chores and projects.  I also have been doing some more digital projects that I can share soon...and I did some more research for my "secret" project (it won't be long until I can explain this...).

I thought I'd try to answer a few of the questions I have received recently.  It seems that many people often have the same or similar questions, even if they don't ask them - so I thought it might be helpful.  Another reader might be able to help with some questions since I certainly don't have all of the answers!  Please leave a comment if you can add some more help or have a different view on a topic.

Design Studio Updates

Several people have asked whether Design Studio will still be updated since the Cricut CraftRoom online design tool is supposed to be launching soon.  I have been told by several PC representatives that Design Studio will continue to have font updates to add new cartridges, however, no more program updates are planned.  This means that you will be able to work with new cartridges in Design Studio but none of the "quirks" in the program will be fixed and no improvements will be made.

I find this frustrating because the Gypsy is too small and too slow for a lot of the complicated welding that I like to do.  A full page lace mesh that previews in a matter of seconds in Design Studio often takes nearly ten minutes to preview on the Gypsy.  The CraftRoom, once it is finally ready, is only available if you are online and there are circumstances when internet is not readily available or very expensive.  Design Studio is still worth having even with the "quirks" but it could be great if just a little more attention was given to fixing a few of the problems so we wouldn't have to do so many "workarounds" to get the desired results.

Why don't I like the Gypsy?

I don't dislike the Gypsy, but I do find that it doesn't do some of the things that I can do in Design Studio such as color previews to help plan a project.  I can see very well when I zoom in but the small screen makes it impossible to get a clear preview of a full page design as a whole.  I find it tiresome to tap and tap from screen to screen to do something that I can do in a few keystrokes on my computer (such as entering a new height and width).

Many of the things that people love about the Gypsy (saving paper, planning a full page at once, previewing the contents of cartridges) are the same things I like about Design Studio.  The portability is not an issue for me - I don't spend a lot of time in situations where I am waiting around for kids or appointments and I have a laptop so it is easy for me to connect to my Cricut and cut.

I do like the storage of the cartridges in the Gypsy.  I never minded plugging in the cartridges (and I try to design using as few cartridges as possible) but it is handy to take them with you in the Gypsy instead of bringing individual cartridges along on a trip.   I wish that it would be possible to cut from Design Studio with the Gypsy plugged in as a "mega-Jukebox" without needing to convert and move files to cut my designs.

What do I think about the CraftRoom...

I was able to do some testing of the new CraftRoom and it has a lot of potential.  The main drawback is the need to be online to use it.  I also wonder if it will be able to keep up with large numbers of users online at the same time.  Lots of the improvements and changes suggested by testers have been incorporated and it continues to get better.  Working with the Imagine colors and patterns is really a lot of fun and it adds some of the things that are not possible with the Imagine alone, such as scaling of the patterns when filling shapes of various sizes.

I haven't had particularly good luck while testing and have found that things bog down frequently.  I haven't been using it lately so there may be some more improvements that I am unaware of.  I do not know when it will be available to everyone and I hope that it is truly ready when it is fully released - it is definitely worth waiting longer to get something that lives up to the potential instead of being frustrated by a program that doesn't work as promised.

Cartridges  "missing"  from Design Studio

Several time a week someone asks why a certain cartridge is not in their Design Studio program.  It is important to update the program every time a new set of cartridges is added.  Right now, the program is current up to the March "Hello Thursday" cartridges.  If you go to THIS POST, you will see the information about updating by downloading ind installing the font pack.  For some reason, the download page has not been changed to reflect the cartridges added since last November.  You need to click on the download link to see the number on the update.  The most recent version number was V110308 and we are waiting for the update for the April cartridges.

If you are missing an older cartridge, it is possible that you do not have the most recent version of the software installed.  There hasn't been a program update since May, 2010 and the current version is 1.0.40422.0 (you can check this in the "Help" menu by clicking on "About").  If your cartridge is from earlier than May, 2010, but not one of the original cartridges, it would have been rolled into the program update. 

To download updates, go to the Cricut.com site the "check for updates" in the program does not work.  Here is a LINK to the page - you will need to sign in to the Cricut.com site to get access to the update page.

New Cuttlebug System

I had a reader tell me that she had purchased and returned the new Cuttlebug All-in-One system because she had trouble with the paper puckering and leaving marks around the embossed areas.  I tried these at the ProvoCraft booth at CHA and this didn't seem to be a problem but it was just a quick demo so I don't have the experience with these to be able to help with a solution.

There is a video on the Cricut Blog (click HERE) where Kristy demonstrates how to use the system, however, she embosses papers that are the same size as the plates, so the problem would not be evident.  Has anyone else used these folders and can you offer any advice - thanks!

Well - that turned into a very wordy post - so here is a photo for comic relief!  These are my bugs in a bucket from the Cricut Cruise - I think you can use the photo as wallpaper for your phone if you are so inclined!

(the butterflies at the top of this post are something I'll be writing about in a few days - aren't they pretty!)

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  1. Good morning! Glad you are feeling better. I do love those butterflies and I'm looking forward to seeing what you are going to do with them! I do like the G, but it is slow on the preview and my hand gets numb using the stylus. I am a slow crafter, took me 5 hours to design and make a two sided pop up card last night... good grief but even I wait for the G. I like my DS too for certain projects it just depends on what or where I am going to be. I love having all my carts on my G and I am one of those people who craft in the car and while waiting at appointments, on my lunch, etc so it works for me. Looking forward to the Craft Room, but like you I'm willing to wait until they get some things working better. Thanks for all you share with us. I appreciate you!

  2. Thanks for this info!!
    I love my DS! I, too, wish they would continue to improve it.
    I don't have a Gypsy... cool features but very small screen. There have been rumors of a newer updated G... any truth to that?
    I did not receive an invitation to try Craftroom, but what I have seen looks good if it will work. I heartily agree that I hope they make sure it works before launching! e.g. the new MB was pretty bad for awhile.
    Your blog is soooo helpful!! Thank you!

  3. Read your blog everyday! I LOVE Design Studio! I don't even bother with the Gypsy. The screen is too small. Actually, I've never cut anything using the Gypsy. When I got it, I thought it would be easier to use. WRONG!
    Hope the new Craftroom can handle the volume.
    Nancy Jr

  4. LOVE the butterflies!! And I agree with you totally on the Gypsy AND Design Studio - the flaws in DS are the reason I also use Sure Cuts Alot - it has almost all the flaws in DS solved; now I'm just waiting for all the flying lawsuits to get resolved so I can decide whether to even keep the Cricut or not - SCAL outshines DS by that much!!


  5. Thank you so much for answering questions! My arms and hands go numb using my gypsy too - so I started working more in DS over the last few months. I've just this month realized I should be able to save my DS designs and transfer them to my gypsy. Have you tried this?

    Does your DS have to be licensed to transfer the file to gypsy??

    It keeps giving me an error. I own 2 copies of DS, but have upgraded my computers to Win7 recently and it won't let me use the licenses again. When I first bought DS I had trouble with the license and I had to call ProvoCraft and they made me feel like I was trying to steal from them. So, I really don't want to call them to try and get my copies licensed again. And, frankly, I don't want to give them more $$$ for more copies of a program they aren't going to fix.

  6. I love my DS also and paid good money for it,,, so they should keep up dating it also...might not want to but the newer cartridges for that reason.. well I better get the downloads I can before it is to late. thanks for the great info..
    Carol N<><

  7. Diane,
    Thanks for todays posting. I am going to try and get a copy of the software. It is hard to find of course because of the new realease. I love the butterflies and they are my favorite......Thanks again for all the help. I just sent an e-mail about this same thing to you. I am glad you are feeling better.

  8. Hi Diane and Thanks for all the Very useful Info, And Good to hear that you are feeling better!! I have not used my DS for some time now...I have a G and Use it a little bit!! Guess I should up date my DS and try and use it more. On the cricut craft room...I am not sure how to load my cartridges so it will cut? I need to play with it more as well..Guess I just have to many toys....LOL..Love your comic relief and I Received my little goodies yesterday and Love them..I am excited to see what you are going to do with the beautiful Butterflies!! Thanks Diane!!!

    ilovetonkinese2 at hotmail dot com

  9. So goes progress. NOT. I am fairly new to this Cricut thing and LOVE my DS. Learning to use it is what brought me to your blog in the first place. I have no interest in Gypsy and while Craft Room may be okay, I'd rather not have to do everything online. I hope PC gets the word and keeps DS updated.

    Thanks for your blog and the inspiration and information you provide.

    PS: Google account not working to post comments today.

  10. I, too, love my CDS! I am not interested in the Gypsy because it is just too small. It seems wrong that PC will not be supporting a product that so many of us have bought from them. I wanted to get SCAL but that, too is no longer an option. I am seriously considering buying another brand of cutter. I have been a loyal Cricut user since the days of the baby bug but it seems like they are no longer interested in their long time supporters.

    I love those butterflies! I can't wait to see you project.

  11. Love the butterflies!! Although I have a wall of butterfly brooches swarming over my family pictures in my office. Love the colors you've used.
    What a shame they won't be updating design studio anymore, just as I finally start to use it they do this. ProvoCraft don't make us the consumer upset!! Show us the love of your devoted followers.
    Janet Cooney

  12. Thanks for the updated information. I love your butterflies and can't wait to see what you do with them!

  13. Just wanted to thank you for the review of the various programs that are available. I use Design Studio and not the Gypsy for similar reasons. The Gypsy is too small for me. I sit right next to my computer and love working on it. I do have access to the internet at home, but not at crops, so it's somewhat disappointing that Provo Craft is heading soly in that direction.


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