ArcGIS 10 Spatial Analyst - (growing pains)

I'm finally getting around to trying the new version(version 10) of the ArcGIS software. Perhaps my first few hours using it aren't enough time to properly evaluate the product. Perhaps I'll follow up with some words of praise. But that won't happen here today. My frustration centers around the Spatial Analyst extension.

First of all ... Why did they remove all the useful functionality of the Spatial Analyst Toolbar ? All the things that remain on the toolbar are all the things I ignored in version 9.x (and certainly will continue to ignore). Some blogs have stated that things like the spatial analyst options, conversion from and to raster/vector etc. were taken out because they were redundant with the tools in the toolbox. Is that a reason or an excuse ?

Secondly and more importantly (and I'm sure I'll figure this out later), my Environment settings are being completely ignored. I set a mask and use the raster calculator (now hidden in the map algebra toolbox) and lo and behold, the mask had no effect. I don't care at what "level" my environment settings are being set at. If I set them ... THEY SHOULD WORK !!!

It appears that one of the major things that is different is that you have an output that you must select in the raster calculator and this may have been the problem that I was having. I was doing this the way I have ALWAYS done this by specifying the output in the calculator e.g. output = with the mask specified in my SA settings. Doing this returned the entire input grid but selecting output using the raster output control, did mask the data as I expected.