Old Software--and Why I Hate Upgrading

Have you ever been tempted not to upgrade? Me, too, mostly because many mainstream programs I use were better in a previous version.

There are lots of things that can turn you off. Maybe the developers took away some cool functionality, turned the program into bloatware, or even messed up the look and feel of the UI.

I know, Microsoft's Windows Vista immediately comes to mind. Read "Vista Resistance: Why XP Is Still So Strong" and "Vista Backlash: Microsoft Quietly Lets Vista Users Revert to XP" for the latest.

Spoiled Software

For a look at some famous products that weren't improved with a new version, read "Before They Spoiled the Software."

After you do, come back here and check out the comments some of the people on my mailing list have made.

"RealPlayer: They haven't added a feature for the user, just for Real.com to spy on us, or push crap onto the computer."
--Mark M., Seattle

"How about Omnipage Pro by Nuance? It was so simple and effective about three versions ago--now it's so complicated and constantly trying to take over the computer that it is more nuisance than help."
--Doris S., Basking Ridge, New Jersey

"The number one of all time has to be Act. This was a phenomenal program up to version 6. It used a DBF file structure that was fast. Then they went to a different database and you could brew a pot of coffee every time you asked it to do a simple process."
--Chris G., Pasadena, California

"How about the great product that used to be Norton Utilities, before it became bloatware? Being older than dirt, I remember the days when it was lean, mean, and really useful (and fast) software that occupied a small footprint on your PC for both disk space and RAM. Oh, yeah, and actually worked as marketed."
--Chuck B. Spokane, Washington

"Jasc had pride in their Paint Shop Pro product. When they had errors in version 8, they fixed them and sent every registered user a new CD. By version 9, PSP was bought by Corel.... In version 10, Corel messed up the batch changing of file formats; in version XI, Corel fouled up the browser."
--Joyce T., Shoemakersville, Pennsylvania

"The most obvious one is Office 2007. I don't mind the ribbon itself, and I think it's actually good for casual users and for features that I don't use often. But as a power user, I hate the fact that I can't truly customize the toolbars and can't record macros."
--Robert N., Pasadena, California

"Quicken and QuickBooks both started out offering great features and support. Unfortunately, Intuit started to act like they had a monopoly; their support became expensive; their features lost relevance; and now they force you to upgrade every few years or you lose the ability to do payroll."
--Dave W., Springville, Utah

"Lotus Organizer 5.0 was magnificent. All changes made after that only made it less stable and added nothing of worth. I still use it every day."
--Chuck H., Clarksville, Tennessee

"I switched to GotoMyPC when Symantec's PC Anywhere bumped up to version 8 since none of the new features were of any value to me. The same was true of QuickBooks; the only reason to upgrade was because they made me do it."
--Sandy W., Evanston, Illinois

"I have two. IBM's ThinkPad security software (yes, it's still published by IBM)--their own techs recommend that you remove it, preferably before it starts locking you out of applications. And Outlook 2007. It runs so slowly that it reminds me of '97--it's the Jessica Simpson of software: Pretty, and very full-featured, but S-L-O-W."
--Paul C., San Francisco

"One of the best programs I ever used was WordPerfect 6.0. It was smart; the formatting was the best; the templates couldn't be matched; and it was stable and worked better than any other suite. All of the other versions have been downhill since. I know, I tried them all."
--Jim W., Brunswick, Georgia

Dig This Extravaganza

Some of you have been complaining about a dearth of Dig This items. They've been here all along--but maybe just not enough of them. So to make it up to you, here's a bunch. Enjoy.

Follow the Leader: Have a teleconference? Click and drag your mouse around to play follow the leader and see how quickly the time passes.

Need More? If that didn't get you through the teleconference, here are 40 games that should get you through any meeting. [Thanks, Barbara B.]

DIY Project: Turn a MiniMag flashlight into a powerful laser pointer. Me, I'd rather spend the money and just buy one.

Revenge of the Stick Man: If you liked Animator vs. Animation, you'll love the author's version two. [Thanks again, Rochelle.]

Steve Bass writes PC World's monthly "Hassle-Free PC" column and is the author of PC Annoyances, 2nd Edition: How to Fix the Most Annoying Things About Your Personal Computer, available from O'Reilly. He also writes PC World's daily Tips & Tweaks blog. Sign up to have Steve's newsletter e-mailed to you each week. Comments or questions? Send Steve e-mail.
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