Friday, 22 October 2010


A friend built himself a whole new computer recently, purely because he wanted one that was capable of running the latest version of CorelDraw.

I wonder, sometimes, why people put so much effort into being bang up to date, on the cutting edge of software technology. New software doesn't work. It's buggy, unpredictable, and never meets expectations.

If it's an update of something you already owned, you don't just have to learn how to use the new stuff, you have to unlearn the habits and shortcuts you had learned for the earlier version.

How much of an update do people actually use? How many unused, memory-eating features do they add, just to call it an upgrade?

Microsoft publish a word-processor and a DTP package, but the word-processor can do everything the early DTPs could do, and the DTP has far more word-processing capability than earlier versions of the word-processor. Who needs both?

Not me.

The latest version of PhotoShop costs $700. The "extended" version costs $1000. Do I want them? I do not. Do I need them? I do not.

I am still using my eight-year-old second-hand copy of PhotoShop Elements that cost a fiver.

It does everything I need - stick a few layers together, tweak a few colours - and uses a tiny fraction of the memory.

When I reveal this fact to my constantly-updating friends, I get treated like some kind of Luddite.

I haven't told them that I am planning not to upgrade my phone this Christmas. Again.


  1. I'm with you, some time old is better.

  2. It's indeed futile to constantly try to be bleeding edge! Having said that, I must admit to quite liking an upgrade (hardware or software) - to me, the time spent learning it is not a very terrible expense, and I must admit to installing and configuring new operating systems for fun...

    However, I'm completely with you on the more expensive software suites and the big applications - I simply don't need the latest version of photoshop at all, heck, _MS Paint_ works for most of what I need, and what that won't do the GIMP takes care of handily.

  3. Dear Kiteman,

    I am a radio producer and we're working on a BBC radio feature about our experiences of 4am, the time. We are looking for stories and I saw that you had an epiphany about a robot at 4am, which caught my eye. I wanted to hear more about how this happened.

    My email is Do get in touch if you have a moment, then I can give you a quick call.

    Look forward to hearing,

    V best,