I like new tech. That's one of the reasons I do this job. But there are times when newest is not bestest, when in fact we're better off using old products.
It shouldn't be like this. Technology and engineers' capabilities are advancing so fast right now that everything that is good about a current product can, in theory, easily be built into its successors. But sometimes this doesn't happen. Here are a few choice examples of upgrades that are downgrades, and why you're better off with the older tech: Vista
The obvious number one product for this list. Vista is the new shiny operating system Microsoft released to replace Windows XP. Except it hasn't, because it's a poor upgrade. It's slower, bigger, and buggier. Many people, not just those in the opportunistic Apple ads (and Apple has its own problems), would rather get a new computer with the old XP operating system.
Why it happened: Books will be written about Vista's failures, which, in fairness, probably have as much to do with Microsoft's need to support a vast universe of third-party hardware and software products as with flaws in Microsoft's marketing and software development strategy. Quicken
Intuit apparently believes that new users won't buy a personal accounting product if it's last year's model, and it also wants to upgrade its current users each year. So it "sunsets" older versions after three years: it turns off online access to bank updates and eliminates support. Sadly, some older versions of Quicken are faster and more stable than the new versions. But if you're a Quicken user, you can't stick with "classic" versions without giving up useful online features.
Why it continues to happen: Intuit has locked itself into a yearly upgrade cycle on a product that clearly takes more than a year to update. Linksys WRT54G
The old WRT54G wireless router was a reliable and economical product, but a few years ago Linksys released a version 5 of the product that they knew was buggier. Knowledgeable users were able to get the older version by shopping online for the special "WRT54GL" router, which was really the previous version. It cost a few extra bucks, but it was a far better value.
Why it happened: Cost cutting, pure and simple. I covered this in 2006.
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