Friday, September 11, 2009

Would you like to upgrade? NO!

What is with the overzealous programmers or app-development managers who think people are going to think it's cool or that they are getting added value if they have to upgrade their software every other day? It's getting to the point that I cannot boot up or do a day's work without having to update something or other. With Vista often I can't even shut down the PC without doing an update. iTunes is the worst about this. What is going on over at Apple, for god's sake? Don't they realize what a hassle this is? I just went to purchase an episode of Mad Men on the iTunes store and it wouldn't even let me make the purchase without upgrading iTunes once again! I think it was just last week that I had upgraded. And the update did not just require that I close iTunes but I had to uncheck at least 4 invasive options, click to accept the legalese that we never read, switch to my browser to do the download, choose the download folder, and click about ten times on various odds and ends! We all know that these updates are often an attempt by a company to mine your email and other contact info and see if the user is still alive. Why not just put up a dialog box once in a while and ask "Hey! Are you still alive? Can we keep trying to mail you spam from us and our associates?"

Just as there is a registry for opting out of phone solicitations (do-not-call lists), there should be a 'leave me alone and let me get my work done for a week' option. Inexperienced users are intimidated by all these messages anyway and don't know if they are legit or viruses, and besides, 'upgrading' often breaks an app or the way an app interacts with other apps or their add-ins. It's like when you're sitting in a restaurant and you've just gotten your coffee's balance of milk, sugar, and temperature the way you like it, and the waitress comes breezing past and tops you up, with that happy little smile, ruining the work you just did. Once I get my apps working (especially something as complex as Office), no I do not want to upgrade!

When it comes to Windows Update, do not force a reboot of my PC when I am away from it because I probably have 20 windows open with various pieces of work that are in progress and web pages open!

One of these days all apps will live on the Cloud. Then maybe it will be ok to update apps without annoying the end user too much (though UI changes will not win you friends), but until then, programmers and managers -- please limit updates to major upgrades, not petty bug fixes. We are trying to get work done with our computers. Imagine if each time you went to use your toaster a message popped up: "You need to update the firmware before you can make toast today."

Ok. While I was writing this rant I was"upgrading" iTunes. My iTunes upgrade took 20 minutes, I had to tell Vista that yes, I did want to run this program and that I trust where it came from, and now it's too late to download Mad Men and watch it. Then I had to ok the legalese again, had to refuse having iTunes be the app of choice for all sound files on my PC, I had to run iTunes, navigate to the store again, search for the episode I want to download. Well, I just saved $2.99 at least (and Apple is out a sale). But at least I have a vague satisfaction of having successfully upgraded to version and wasted 20 minutes of my life. Well, 30 because now I get to learn the new interface 'features' that I did not want and did not ask for and was not allowed to opt out of if I wanted to download Mad Men season 3 episode 2.

Aargh! Frakking computers! Where is that paperback I was reading? Oh it's in my Kindle. (I signed up for this great idea called the paperless office last month.) Hmm... Did I remember to charge it up? Oh hell, I'm going to put a vinyl record on the record player, and fix a cup of coffee just the way I like it.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. i hate these upgrade things, too.


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