I Am Not Sure I am Going to Update Major Software Any More

It used to be that updates of software products were something to look forward to.  I used to be a bleeding edge guy who, like as not, was using beta versions of most software.  Now I avoid updates and upgrades like the plague, particularly since companies like Apple make it virtually impossible to roll back any software update.  The four products that have scared me off of upgrades altogether are:

  • Windows 7 to Windows 8
  • Old versions of Office to the new versions with the stupid toolbars rather than menus where I still can't find what I want all the time.  On a bunch of my computers I still use Office 2002 and 2003 and it works just fine.
  • Most all itunes updates, particularly 10 to 11 which has done nothing but make critical options harder to find and make the platform, at least on Windows, less stable.  I am told people are having major difficulty with the 11.3 to 11.4 update
  • iOS 6 to iOS 7, which decreased battery life without adding any real user features.  So glad I still have not upgraded, though I am sure I will have to soon.

And don't even get me started on software like windows 8 and most of the recent Adobe products that require some sort of user login to even use the product at all.


  1. pinroot:

    You could always switch to linux. No forced upgrades, lots of software to choose from. I've been using it at home since the 90's and have been happy with it. I still have to use Windows at work tho, which just makes me appreciate linux even more :)

  2. mesaeconoguy:

    Many large corporations still run WinXP

    Insert commentary here

  3. Fred_Z:

    I used Microsoft Schedule+, from 1995, which was for years the easiest calendar/appointment/scheduling software to let users share calendars. After that they "improved" it, made it so complex as to be unusable, then abandoned it entirely.

    I switched to Google calendar when I got a smart phone, but Google seems incapable of writing an intuitive interface. And, as you wrote, they change the interface every few weeks to make it even more counter-intuitive.

    Their constant use of jargon in the interface, and not well known jargon either, is horrifying.

    I was taught many years ago by a brilliant professor of computer science that all computer programming is essentially clerical except for interface design, which is critical and difficult.

  4. obloodyhell:

    }}} most of the recent Adobe products ...

    Eph that crap... I "allowed" Flash to try and update, and the @#$%#$$#%^#$% ephing pricks tried to install @%$#$$%#$ MacAfee without even ASKING to do so.

    Stomped on that piece of digital fecal matter before it even finished downloading either of them!

    First off, I already HAVE an AV product installed.

    Second, if I did not, and was inclined to allow one, you can bet your sweet BIPPY it wouldn't be a bloatware PoS like MacAfee. >:-/

    I've disabled ALL Adobe updates -- I even went into services and disabled the check routine.

  5. jon:

    Translation: I used to be young, now I'm an old fart. Happens to us all.

  6. Frank:

    Pretty much that.
    The kind of software you mention has just grown up. Innovation happens elsewhere now. What happens with updates nowadays is mostly change für change's sake.

  7. Griffin3:

    I think he uses linux in places, and you notice that it is conspicuously absent from the list. gnucash is not a great replacement for quickbooks (which doesn't set the bar very high), and, in general, there are holes all through the common business software. (we) Linuxers need to grunt out the business software ... I often think that linux would have 10x better market share, now, if someone had held their nose and developed something like visual basic for linux.

  8. Dave Boz:

    Me too. My XP machine recently got virused, and with support ending in a couple months, I figured it was time for a new one. When I found that all I could get is Windows 8, I decided to reinstall XP and live without the support or security updates. Yes, W8 is that bad.

  9. TM:

    Oh sure, no force upgrades, unless you like installing from your distro's repositories rather than downloading and installing (and managing dependencies) on your own. Then you have to hope that if you do want the latest version of X software that someone is maintaining a repo for you. And also if you're ever having trouble with the software and you pop online to ask a question about it 90% of the time the first response you get will either be:

    1) Why in the world do you want to do that? You should [do this / not do that at all because it's dumb / use a different piece of software]*
    2) You should upgrade to the latest version because [it's fixed / no one uses that version and can't help you anymore]

    Don't get me wrong, I love me some linux and the associated software, but the nature of technology is that it moves forward, at some point, you always have to upgrade.

    *Incidentally, in my ideal world, answering "how do I do X" questions with the above response without also including a true answer to the question should be punishable by firing squad. Sometimes you're on a version or doing something with a particular piece of software because of a requirement beyond your control. Helpful suggestions as alternatives are ok, but answers to the original question are what is sought.

  10. Unix-Jedi:

    Have you considered just getting a Mac yet?

    *ducks and runs*

  11. irandom419:

    I gave-up on Gnucash and use KMyMoney, but then again I don't have a business.

  12. herdgadfly:

    There is an easy fix for Office 2007 and higher which have the stupid ribbon format that prevents Office 2003 users from finding command functions. There is a free kernal on the internet called UBITMENU04_UK. It adds a tab above the ribbon right after the Home tab called Menu. Select menu and the old-fashioned drop-down menu selections are suddenly available to use on all Office modules (Word, Excel, etc.) A slick seamless fix indeed!

  13. herdgadfly:

    Windows 7 Professional is still available in 2014. Try Amazon or Newegg.

    If you like XP, you will love Windows 7.

  14. BobSykes:

    Macs have problems, too. Although I have a machine that can run the newest version of Mac OS 10.8/9, I can't download it, and it's not available on disk. This may be a feature, since it means I won't be upgrading or buying software that needs 10.8/9

  15. MingoV:

    The Mac OS world went from 10.6 to 10.9 in a few years. Each upgrade took away features I like and added glitzy crap. I still use 10.6.8. The same is true for iTunes. I'm still using 10.7 because versions 11 and up suck.

  16. DaveK:

    Still using Windows XP... Have three legal copies and when all else fails will wipe my drives, then start from scratch with a fresh load of XP. I just haven't found anything that much better in the newer versions of windows to make it worth the time and money to switch over.

  17. Craig L:

    Or wait until Windows 9. The rule of thumb is that every other Windows version is good; the ones in between are awful.

  18. Elam Bend:

    Google is absolutely terrible in UI and like a fish in water, can't seem to even see the problem. The few times they get it right; they inevitably change it

  19. foxmarks:

    Testify! Apple forced me off the plantation when I discovered I would need to buy a $200 newer version of MacOS to use the iTunes that was required by my new iPod. I had to switch my music server to a laptop running WinXP just to get the new gadget working. Screw ’em all.

    I moved to Ubuntu Linux about a year ago. No regrets.

  20. tex:

    My previous XP computer died & I bought a new 64-bit Win7. Computer is great, Win7 is good, but I was livid to learn that my XP Office SW license was only for my old, dead computer (bought it installed by mfr) and cannot be xfered. I thought FU Microsoft and I'm using Open Office now. It'll do.

  21. Frank:

    I'm on board with most of those, but the Office upgrade was worthwhile. Took me just two days to figure out the new layout and I think it is an improvement.

    On another note the encroaching subscription model for software (Adobe) is alarming, we already have enough of these in our household budgets.

  22. tex:

    That is what MS has in store for you. Annual pay (cheap now). Grow tired of MS, license expires, can't read your old docs.

  23. TM:

    You should probably change computer stores (try maybe the Apple store or BestBuy) because your current store is ripping you off. Mac OS has never cost $200.

  24. foxmarks:

    Rounding for rhetorical effect, smartypants. And the newer MacOS would break dependencies on other software, costing more $$$ and hours. I shouldn’t have to buy an entire new suite of software to use a frickin’ iPod.

  25. john mcginnis:

    Being a retired phone guy I have used Unix for 30 years. We run Linux in our house, why should I switch? But I will agree there are issues afoot with the layers in Linux.

    * XWindows needs replacing but I am not convinced that a Wayland/Uni

  26. john mcginnis:

    I can't stand the ribbon interface in the latest Office tools.

  27. Rick C:

    Like anything else, the Ribbon is different so takes getting used to. However, Microsoft introduced it for a reason: it means you don't have to guess whether you want a toolbar button, a macro, a menu item, or a task pane to do what you want: everything's on the ribbon, and the common stuff is easier to find. Most people I've asked about it--when given a chance to try it out and get used to it--have found it to be a lot better.

  28. Nunov Yerbidness:

    IT guy in a "large corporation" here. Keeping XP beyond the drop-dead date for critical security patches is asking for the dark world to rain upon your parade. And they will not disappoint.

    We're going to Win7 on a slow boat that includes app packaging for SCCM. There may be some back-room negotiating for an "extended" service/protection period, but the ship has sailed.

  29. obloodyhell:

    Well, Warren, it appears you're going to be upgrading ALL your apple software pretty soon, once they have patches for this MASSIVE Cluster-F**k:


    We are talking an enormous security hole, here, of "biblical proportions". It seems that both iOS and the Desktop OS has a major bug, and that bug is also in a wide array of other software.

    They appear to have majorly screwed the pooch when they were writing a heavily reused piece of code that got put into just about every freaking piece of software written for the apple...

    So not only does the OS need to be patched, but most of the apps, as well.