Duchess Rants – Stop Changing My Software!!!

You’ve all been here. You’ve ALL been here.

You have a particular piece of software that you LIKE, that does the job that you need it to do, that functions perfectly, that you are used to, that you can actually be productive with because you know where the toggles are where the shortcuts are how do accomplish a thing with a minimum of effort and drama.

And then they IMPROVE it.

They simply seem to change things for the sake of changing them.

Because it, oh, I don’t know, LOOKS better (to whom? And what does it matter what it LOOKS like if you’ve suddenly taken its basic usefulness away?) They rename it for no good reason except to “update” it.

Then all of a sudden all of these changes that you didn’t ask for and didn’t want and are mightily put out by… mean that you now have a “new” piece of software, that support for the version you own and paid for is now terminated. To keep using it, you have to purchase it again.

Or worse – the new THING with software – you can’t buy it any more. You have to SUBSCRIBE now. You can’t just plonk down the benjamins, load it onto your hard drive, and use it for as long as your computer and your hard drive hold out. No, now you have to cough up a monthly amount, and if you don’t they can probably brick it for you.

My husband used to have an ancient copy of PageMaker – but of course that’s history – now it’s called something else entirely (“InDesign”) and it’s part of an Adobe subscription package. My artist friend used to own her copy of Photoshop before they told her that, no she didn’t anymore and if she wanted to keep using the tool of her trade, she would now have to pay ransom for it monthly. Man. Like a creative life isn’t hard enough as it is without everybody competing to put a spoke in your wheel.

I still have a version of MS Word that I kind of like and know and understand. They’ve “changed” it for the newer versions and nothing is in the same place anymore. I hate having to fumble in a piece of software that I have used to write literally millions of words by now. I don’t want it to sit up and juggle flaming torches for me, I just want it to be the Word that I am used to and in which I am agile, knowledgeable, and productive. They have changed idiotic things, made it clunkier, less intuitive, less useful – why, Microsoft? WHY?

Why does Firefox unilaterally choose to disable useful extensions because they no longer “support” them? My husband has wept over losing his beloved Liquid Words which doesn’t work with the new versions of his Firefox browser. He’d have been quite happy using the ‘unsupported’ version of Liquid Words but he was never given a chance. It was simply removed as an option.

And why won’t my Skype stay functional for longer than a couple of weeks before I get a snotty message that the version I have “is no longer supported” and I have to download it all over again? And why does Twitter change its interface to something that its entire use group roars in outrage against because “they listened” when their people said they wanted changes – but what those people wanted was an option to edit a tweet without having to delete it and start again from scratch, an actually USEFUL improvement, not the eyesore of a redesign that they got and that nobody wanted and nobody asked for.

Look, I know that people who employ programmers and software designers have to do something with them to justify paying their salaries. But do the end users have to pay the price for that? Really? What happened to “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”? Why can’t we have an option to stay on a “legacy” piece of software if we want to or need to?

Why don’t they stop wrecking things in the name of “improvement” and call it progress?


About Alma Alexander

Alma Alexander's life so far has prepared her very well for her chosen career. She was born in a country which no longer exists on the maps, has lived and worked in seven countries on four continents (and in cyberspace!), has climbed mountains, dived in coral reefs, flown small planes, swum with dolphins, touched two-thousand-year-old tiles in a gate out of Babylon. She is a novelist, anthologist and short story writer who currently shares her life between the Pacific Northwest of the USA (where she lives with her husband and two cats) and the wonderful fantasy worlds of her own imagination. You can find out more about Alma on her website (www.AlmaAlexander.org), her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlmaAlexander/), on Twitter (https://twitter.com/AlmaAlexander) or at her Patreon page (https://www.patreon.com/AlmaAlexander)


Duchess Rants – Stop Changing My Software!!! — 6 Comments

  1. Pingback: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! | Alma Alexander

  2. I used to get programs burned onto a CD when I bought software in a box at Office Depot. Then when I changed computers I could load that CD in and not worry about it. Now we have to download everything and burning it onto a CD is illegal, even for my own use.

    It’s all about money. Software companies get it and I don’t.

  3. I’m with you. I have Word 2003, which I have been stubbornly refusing to change because it lets me use my own macros — and I have a good many that I created to perform repetitive tasks without fuss. And my life was completely disrupted when Windows 7 and then 10 absolutely wouldn’t run my robust, reliable DOS-based calendar program. My life was greatly improved when someone developed a utility that runs old DOs-based programs under a shell — I have my calendar back!

  4. Totally agree. Finally that is one the main reason I changed to a Mac. I don’t get crazy updates that change my favorite stuff shoved down my throat, and the updates that I do get are usually to correct bugs, or improve stability and don’t change my favorite software in ways that make it difficult to use. For image processing I usue Affinity Products, that you can actuall buy and install in your computer, and if your computer dies, as long as you keep the licence number in a safe place, you can download again for free, at least for a few years.

    • Yeah, that was one of the reasons I went to Macs, too. But every few years I have to update the operating system to do my taxes (because the old system doesn’t support the newest Turbo Tax) and I hear the current update is playing havoc with everything.

      I endorse this rant 100 percent. What I want is some kind of system where I can get what I want the computer to do and leave it that way.

  5. This is why I prefer Pale Moon or Waterfox to modern Firefox, because I get to keep my old extensions. Some sites will suggest replacements for no longer usable ones, but they are not always the same, or even close. The Classic Add-on Archive at Github is a treasure trove for those still using older versions / forks of Firefox.