Why Won’t You Upgrade?


Photo by Zach Klein

Today’s blog post is a little rant, serendipitously constructed at the confluence of “what I was just doing” and “writing deadline.” So here goes.

I have a friend with a very old Windows XP computer where he uses Outlook Express 6 and dial-up for the sole purpose of getting e-mail. For the last couple of weeks he hasn’t been able to download his e-mail because Outlook Express has a strange flaw. I’ve seen this a number of times, especially when my dad used Outlook Express and dial-up. If you’ve got a large message in your server’s inbox Outlook Express can time-out retrieving it leaving you with a partially downloaded set of messages. But it isn’t smart enough to go ahead and delete the downloaded messages from the server, so when you try again it re-downloads all of those messages and then times-out again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

My friend had many, many copies of the same messages on his computer but couldn’t get any further which caused his server mail quota to fill and start bouncing messages. It was easy enough to fix because his ISP has a webmail interface where I was able to log-in and delete the offending message. Before webmail was common it would have required a call to their tech support (somthing I’ve had to do before.)

I promptly encouraged him to upgrade and he demurred because he’s far from computer literate and he’s comfortable with how things work. I guess I can understand that, but as a card carrying nerd I just can’t get my mind around it fully. It’s probably like the way that I’ve gotten used to the broken door handle on my car and just put up with it rather go through the trouble of getting it fixed. A car enthusiast would probably pull his hair out over my pigheadedness.

I always like to stay up-to-date with my operating systems and applications (except Vista, I tried that and then decided to wait for Windows 7.) But there are plenty of good reasons to not upgrade, particularly in a corporate environment where things generally aren’t bleeding edge.  So, what are some reasons that you’ve decided to not update some technology?