Rant: Never Upgrade

I’ve eyed the new Microsoft Office 2004 for (Mac) OS X, and upon careful reflection, I know I should not buy it.

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I’ve eyed the new Microsoft Office 2004 for (Mac) OS X, and upon careful reflection, I know I should not buy it.

This has nothing to do with my current version of Office for OS X. Actually, that product works and works quite well. I have no complaints and it is an excellent piece of software. So why must I not upgrade? Because of all the other major software upgrades that have bitten me.

Several months ago I decided to upgrade my Macromedia Studio MX to “MX 2004” at the cost of several hundreds of dollars. The reason was that there were a small handful of glitches—notably the inability of Dreamweaver to connect to the .Mac WebDAV server, an inconvenience more than anything else. There was also a performance issue with my website’s main hand-written weblog page where Dreamweaver got so bogged down by the sheer size of the page content that there would be a small lag behind my typing text and having it appear on the screen.

So many hundreds of dollars later I installed the new version of the software, expecting to have these issues fixed. Instead, WebDAV still didn’t work right and my typing lag increased to about five bloody seconds between my hitting a key and having it appear on the screen. Several hundred dollars and my software became almost unusable. (In case you’re wondering, my laptop is a 800 Mhz G4, still a pretty modern machine all things considered.)

This week I upgraded my Corel Graphics Suite to the newer Version 11 (the final version before Corel dropped its Mac support) because I was able to find it cheap ($100 on eBay) and again there were a couple very subtle issues I hoped would have been smoothed-out in a version upgrade. I use my CorelDraw and Corel Photo-Paint almost daily, so I considered this upgrade justifiable.

So now, no matter what I do, whether it’s changing fonts or switching drawing tools or selecting objects, my system freezes from anywhere between 5 and 30 seconds!

I’m really getting angry with software vendors! I expect them to streamline their products over their life-span. If their products are going to get slower, there’s better be some DAMNED AMAZING feature enhancements. (There generally aren’t.)

So now I’m at Microsoft Office. There are a few things I would kinda hope Microsoft would have smoothed over. Mostly I’m wishing they’d get their Excel ODBC support smoothed out and add some of their classic file-based-db ODBC drivers that their Windows version has enjoyed forever. It should be easier to migrate to the Mac than any other component because it’s data-only and doesn’t have (almost) anything to do with the Operating System.

Am I going to spend the $200 to upgrade? Are you kidding? Not on your life! I don’t dare risk it!

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Author: Murray Todd Williams

I’m a computer professional residing in New York City. I currently work for Accenture Interactive. I’ve been programming computers since 1978 when I was eight years old, which means I’ve been doing this stuff for almost 35 years. (I’m rounding up.) I’m also a member of the Screen Actors Guild and a liberal.

One thought on “Rant: Never Upgrade”

  1. The Word upgrade isn’t as bad as those other two sound. We had to do the Word upgrade at work in order to be able to use Entourage with our stupid Exchange server for email. I haven’t noticed any crashing, or slowness, and the only thing that irks me about it is the same thing that always irks me about it — it tries really hard to ‘help’ you by indenting things you don’t want indented, “correcting” your spelling, and transforming all URLs into these annoying links.

    I am aware that one can turn these features off in the Prefs, but they still annoy me SO much.

    And OpenOffice stopped working when I upgraded to Panther, so it pretty much has to be MS Word.

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