If you use Photoshop regularly, check out the just released version 3.0 of Paint.NET (download it here). It is 3.6 MB download that handles most of the basic (and many of the advanced) functions of Photoshop. It’s free, and even better it loads in just a couple of seconds on a newish Windows PC. I tested it, and it does everything that I need – if it was usable on a Mac I’d switch from Photoshop based on the speed of the application alone. Earlier versions of Paint.NET were apparently very sluggish – but I can confirm that version 3.0 is very quick to load and very responsive in basic testing. Robert Scoble gives it a thumbs up, too, although he’s clearly been drinking all night. In fact, after reading his post I’m going to open a bottle of scotch, too. :-)
The real test is whether or not Paint.NET can do something like this.