Thursday, February 28th, 2013
There’s little doubt what people mean when they refer to downgrades. I have trouble with the word and concept of upgrade which like “green,” “natural” and “organic” is subject to interpretation.
I love upgrades to business class, but some remind me of haut food. Kevin McKenzie describes fads in “Hiring a Chef for a High End Restaurant” in AllBusiness: “cooking with nitrogen, deconstructing dishes into foams and jellies, and dehydrating foods and sauces in order to create powders, infused salts, and oils.” Change for change’s sake isn’t always practical or welcome.
Chefs infusing food with the latest–and maybe not so greatest–are looking for publicity, much like artists who create outrageous pieces to gain public attention. Similarly most of the upgrades–that really aren’t–are made to do the same and to sell stuff.
I missed the Windows Vista bullet in 2007 for example. Those who fell for it suffered for years.
In his weekly Thursday Wall Street Journal column “All Things D,” Walt Mossberg wrote: “If you’re thinking of upgrading your PC to the new Windows 8, be prepared for hassles and disappointment, especially if the computer is more than a year or two old — even if it technically meets the basic requirements to run the new version.
“I know this, because I’ve spent big chunks of the past week trying to upgrade to Windows 8 two big-name, well-regarded PCs — a 2008 Lenovo laptop and a 2009 Hewlett-Packard touchscreen desktop. The process was painful, and it resulted in lost capabilities, even though both PCs ran Windows 7 quite well and met the minimum requirements for running Windows 8.”
Mossberg, who has been writing a personal technology column for 22 years, goes on to explain that he should have checked the instruction booklets for his two PCs before installing Windows 8 and that he’d counted on Microsoft to warn him of incompatibilities as it had in the past.
He concludes: “The industry really wants you to get Windows 8 via an all-new PC, and most people who adopt it will go that route. But, if you don’t, or can’t, and have even a three-year-old PC, you may want to just stick with the Windows you’ve got.”
On a far simpler scale, I question some recent so-called upgrades I’ve made. In the stodgy “Outlook Express” I used for years to access my emails the spell-check icon was right there next to bold, underscore and font, one-step, easy to find and use. To access spell-check in Microsoft Outlook considered an upgrade, first click on “Review,” and tucked inside is “spelling and grammar,” along with some other things.
Excessive scrolling, once avoided, seems to be the new style. After four+ years, I had to upgrade the program I use to publish my blog. My IT guru and other behind-the-scenes tech genius collaborators made it happen.
When I moderated a comment from my mobile phone the “approve” icon was the first thing I saw on my small screen. It’s now at the bottom of the comment text, hard to find in micro-mini type and annoying. Further, when I finish working behind the scenes, formatting and illustrating a post on my computer, I can no longer return to the blog itself by clicking an obvious arrow that’s clearly visible. I must exit the program and in mouse type, underneath the sign-in to the work area, is a link to the blog reachable only by scrolling down. In addition, while I’d insert an image in two clicks before, now it takes four. The format revision gave someone a job–the only benefit.
Different? Yes. Improvements? No.
Do you have examples of fabulous or ridiculous upgrades?