Saturday, June 9, 2012

Upgrades are the Ninth Circle of Hell


          See the cheery little woodcut above? Given the choice between upgrading my computer software and being burnt at the stake, I'd happily choose to join those two poor souls.
          It would be so much less painful.
          I resist almost all software upgrades until I'm absolutely forced to, because I have learned by grim experience that each and every software upgrade generates Inevitable Unintended Consequences of a most unpleasant variety.
          Apple, however, recently forced me to upgrade my operating system by the simple expedient of threatening to take away all my email privileges if I didn't transfer my life to iCloud. Helpless in the face of such a threat, I began the long slog of transfer, and I soon learned that in order to transfer to iCloud so I could keep my email privileges, I would have to upgrade my OS.
          Now, come on. It's only two or three iterations out of date. Hardly worth upgrading.
          But Apple was holding my email privileges hostage, so I went to download Lion.
          It turns out that there's a "Resistance to Technological Change and the Resulting Miseries Appertaining Thereunto" fee assessed on everyone who is not completely up-to-date with their software. Meaning that before I could download Lion I had to download the previous OS, Snow Leopard, and install it so my computer could handle the Lion upgrade. In essence, I had to buy two upgrades when I really only wanted one.
          So I downloaded Snow Leopard and upgraded to it, muttering under my breath all the while, and since I have an actual life, one that doesn't revolve around upgrading every piece of software I own at 5-minute intervals as software companies would prefer I do on the theory that it is so much better for their bottom line, I did not immediately download Lion and upgrade.
          It was soon after that I discovered Snow Leopard had wounded my printer, which refused to print, and also to scan.
          The Lion download waited some more while I downloaded updated drivers for my printer and scanner.
          Which still could not be induced to scan, although it did now print and I suppose I should be grateful for small favors.

This is how I imagine software developers: as Satan's minions, with pitchforks.
          Foolishly hoping that upgrading to Lion would solve my scanning problem (but when oh when has an upgrade ever done anything other than cause problems?), I upgraded to Lion.
          Whereupon I discovered that Lion had killed every single one of my Adobe Creative Suite programs. Which is a HUGE problem, because I use Photoshop rather more often than I draw breath.
          I didn't much mind having to pay twice for the OS upgrades, mostly because they were relatively cheap, but my Creative Suite programs are antiques, dating from early in the century*, so I had to buy Completely New Programs—not simply upgrades—to replace the ones that Lion killed. And they are So Very Not Cheap At All.
          And you know what? The scanner still doesn't work, even after I installed Lion, and even after the nice tech support person at Canon emailed me very detailed instructions about how to make it work. I've managed to kludge together a workaround for the moment, but sooner or later I'm going to have to give up an hour of my life to listen to cheesy lite jazz interspersed at twenty-second intervals with that tinny female cyborg voice saying, "Your call is very important to us. Please continue to hold. An operator will be with you momentarily,**" in order to get the necessary five minutes' worth of telephone tech support that should fix my problem.
          We are at two weeks and counting since I started this misbegotten upgrade, and I would now like to have something to show for all my travails, besides a notably leaner bank account and a dead scanner.  A predator OS that eats weaker programs doesn't count.

These poor sinners are just grateful that in addition to their
present punishment, they were not sentenced to upgrade
their operating systems as well.

*There is a reason for this beyond my dislike of upgrades and their Inevitable Unintended Consequences. I am my mom's tech support for InDesign, and she's running InDesign Antique Version. I can't help her if I can't see what she's seeing, and until I can figure out how to do the remote desktop thing, it just seemed more sensible not to upgrade. Easier, too.

**What she actually means is, "If your call were really important to us, we would connect you with a human being in under two minutes. We only pretend that your call is important to us because we want you to keep giving us money, which is important to us. So just go buy a new printer. It will take you less time than hanging here on hold, and we will get money. Which is the whole point."

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