software updates

Have you noticed, folks, that when you just automatically go ahead and update a piece of software to a newer version:

  1. They moved everything around, apparently for no logical reason other than it looked cuter?
  2. They added maybe one thing you cared about, and twenty you didn’t care about?
  3. The things you liked most about it before, now no longer work the same?
  4. It’s slower and clunkier?

The problem is endemic to software and has been with us for a long time.  I think it must have its roots in the way software designers think, because it is very consistent.  Most ‘upgrades’ are in fact downgrades.  And these days, it seems, that most of them lean toward letting more and more companies poke around on your machine, with nothing preventing them from phoning home with information that is none of their business.

There are a few updates that nearly always make sense, namely those to do with security.  If your Windows wants to download a security update, you should.  If your virus scanner wants to update itself, by all means.  If you use a spyware/malware package, definitely keep it current.  But anything else? Faaaaaa.  Just don’t update it until they force you at bayonet point, or give you some compelling reason in terms of features.  Ignore the constant pleas and pressure.  You’ll be happier.

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