Upgrade This! Grrr!

What is it with companies having to constantly upgrade their products? Check out the commercials on TV or flip through a magazine. Everything’s all “new and improved”. What was wrong with the original brands? Maybe I was happy with the old brand and I don’t want “new and improved.” I guess it’s tough cookies on me – a lot of the time you can’t even find the originals of a product.

Take soup, for instance. I love Campbell’s condensed mushroom soup, I always have, even when I was a kid and refused to eat it unless Mom strained the mushrooms out of it. But I love the original Cream of Mushroom soup. I don’t want the Ready-to-Serve, Chunky Style (although I will use this one in casseroles), and I don’t want the “half-fat” version, or the “reduced salt” version. Give me the soup with all the fat and all the salt – it’s the one that has all the flavour.

And toothpaste . . . I remember when you went to the store and your choice was Crest or Colgate or Aquafresh. Now you’re not just confronted with your favourite brand, you’re confronted with your favourite brand times ten! There’s whitening, and breath freshening, and long lasting, and plaque fighting, and don’t even get me started on the different flavours!

But the worst culprit for excessive upgrading is computer software. Every time I turn around I have to upgrade or risk being incompatible with the rest of the world. And sometimes these upgrades are not a good thing! I’ll give you a for instance.

I was busy last week putting together a poetry chapbook. I had bought a program a few years ago that was going to be a great help. All I had to do was create my document like I wanted to see it done, and then run it through this program that would format it for printing. So fussed around in Word getting everything just so . . . I finally remembered how to do dot leaders for the index, I figured out (after a fair amount of searching and swearing) how to suppress the number on the first page and then switch from Roman numerals to regular numbers at the beginning of the actual text. My spacing was okay – everything was good.

Everything was good until I tried to install the formatting program on my desktop computer (my lap top was still on the fritz – I had computer issues last week). The desktop is fairly new, so its OS is Windows 7. The software was only compatible with Windows XP. Okay, I can accept that. So I went to the website and downloaded the trial version of the software, which worked all right except that it printed headers and footers on each page proclaiming the company’s name. Seriously? That is so not cool!

So then I installed the program on my lap top because it’s running XP. No problem until I tried to print. The program didn’t recognize my laser printer. So then I had to install my ink jet printer (which I hadn’t bother doing after the last time the lap top was formatted). Meanwhile, the program automatically updated to improve it and it decided that it didn’t like the inkjet either. All that time wasted for nothing. I had to reformat my whole document to get to print from Word.

The bottom line is, new and improved isn’t always a good thing.

Anyone remember “New Coke?”

I rest my case.


Bish Denham said...

I hear you loud and clear on this issue! It's all about planned obsolescence, which I dislike with a passion.

Jamie (Mithril Wisdom) said...

I can't agree more. My big beef at the moment is with men's razors. It got to the point that they were adding to many blades to the damn things that they couldn't fit any more on. So what did they do? Added a blade on the BACK of the razor. And after that? Made the blades thinner so they could fit on MORE BLADES! It's infuriating. Just give me a cut-throat blade, a leather strip and old style shaving lather and I'm set :P