A Website for the Computer Professional...and some not so Professional

The Way Software Used To Be
Greg Merideth

Many years ago, my friends and I would use the Mirabilis ICQ application to perform casual chatting while at our separate locations.  It was a small program, taking up about 384k of memory.  It did one thing and it did it rather well, chat.

Then version 2 came out.  A few more bells and whistles were added and all was well.  By the time version 4 was out, complete with a company buying Mirabilis, the application now swelled to a 2.3MB hog, was a big 9mb download and came with 499 options which I could care less about
mixed in with the one option that I did care about which...was chat.

Zonealarm.  (yes Virginia, I just topic switched a little) Zonealarm was a good program.  It did one thing really well.  It protected your PC against the nasties out there.  It had a nice, easy to follow interface, was a nice 1MB download and back in the good ol' days, was totally free.

Then version 2 came out....(catch my drift?)

These days, Zonealarm is a massive install complete with a 9 step wizard, online registration complete with a daily reminder that your 1 day less away from needing to re-register.  While it still protects your computer it also does another 499 things that I don't want it to do.  The logging utility is now 3 levels deep (it used to be its own tab) and is somewhat unreadable now.

Now, the pundits would point out that it has entirely new features at 1/2 the cost.  I point out that the money doesn't want to pay for it. The pundits point out that the new features are top of the line and I
still point out the money still doesn't want to pay for it.  The pundits say I can get a fist in my mouth and after a brief brawl I'll let it past at 4x the cost under sundry expenses.

The last sentence makes sense if you like Hitchhikers, for the rest of you it means that I don't really care about all the new options.

The rant is this, and, had I been a nicer person would have made it at the top of this post and saved you the time in reading the rest of it:

Make applications that have, and do not have, certain options.  Make lite versions, hell, even call them the dummy versions for all I care. If you feel the need to make a version 2.0 with new and improved Spazmatic Fendendering at least make a version that does not have said Spazmatic features.  There are some, and we are the quite few, who enjoyed your version 1 program but feel nothing but disdain and need I say, hatred for your following versions.

Winamp kinda got it, but then, they came out with version 5....

PS.  This all started because a client of mine insisted that I install the AOL messenger on my laptop to receive these annoying messages from him.  There are at some guess about 90+ options, messaging, video, chat, gaming, browsing, file transfer, wash, spin, rinse....none of which are
important to me and all of which are now turned off.  This mixed in with the clients computer running ZoneAlarm 5 with more annoying features than I can shake a stick at.  With ZoneAlarm “watching“ for popups, Google Toolbar “watching“ for popups and his Norton Antivirus “watching“ for popups I wonder just how many levels of hooks am I going through before I actually get to the 'Net.

There are those of you who will say, “so what, its turned off, stop bitching about progress and go back to ...whatever it is you do.”.  And while I may not agree that adding everything under the sun is progress, I'll defend to the death your right to say it.


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