Update Downgrade

Unless you’re completely off the grid, you’ve experienced this before. I call it Update Downgrade. The Information Technology crowd likes to call any change they make to programs an “update”.

Reality suggests otherwise.

There is often no up in the “update”. It’s only change. But why would they call it change? That’s dull and might turn people off, or just not interest people at all. If they call it an update, at least they capture the anticipation factor. Someone might anticipate the change if it’s labeled as an update.

There are a few people out there in the world who don’t give much thought to what is going on in the world around them. These few people are referred to as perfect customers because they buy in almost immediately without much thought for what they’re buying. These are the few who don’t complain when they’re given the lesser quality product. (There’re even some nasty names for people who complain—a tactic invented to discourage the complaints—but that’s a subject for another time.)

On those times when you’ve received the update to your phone, or your computer, or one of your favorite programs, and you’ve noticed a function missing, or you’ve noticed the whole thing running slower, then you’ve experienced Update Downgrade. You’ll probably wish you hadn’t even accepted the so-called update from the IT department. You’ll want the functionality back, or the speed.

Where did it go? Why did they take it away? As far as the speed is concerned: that sort of downgrade can only be blamed on inadequate testing by the programmers. They made the change, but they didn’t test it on a platform such as the one you’re using. In most cases, the platform you’re using is their product, so why wouldn’t they test it? For instance, say you have an iPhone and the Apple people made an “update”. You would expect them to test the update with an iPhone if it was specific to iPhones, wouldn’t you? Same goes for Androids. And yet…

When it comes to the reduction of functionality, I consider that the more insidious of the downgrades. The whole reasoning behind it is to make you more dependent on their product or their program. Functionality usually allows the user to make adjustments and to creatively solve problems. Removing functions gives the programmer the power to “creatively solve problems” and attempts to convert the user into a mindless consumer.

My intent here is not to say that the attempt to convert us all into mindless consumers is every IT person’s dream, but there are many of them who design things with consumers as their primary goal.

For me, when I encounter something I consider an Update Downgrade, I try to always let them know they goofed. I don’t always word it as a complaint. Sometimes I only suggest, other times only make observations. They may not have time to test on all possible platforms, so I give them the benefit of the doubt. If they don’t respond, or if they respond with a “deal with it” attitude, then I have to assume they’re engaged in one of the insidious agendas, grubbing for a dollar. If they’re helpful and try to return functionality, I applaud them.

The insidious ones are the ones pushing the downgrades and it’s as if they’re saying, “Here. I have an update. It’s duct tape, and it’s an update for your face.” Then they slap the duct tape over your mouth.

Published by Kurt Gailey

This is where I'm supposed to brag about how I've written seven novels, twelve screenplays, thousands of short stories, four self-help books, and one children's early-reader, but I'd rather stay humble. You can find out about things I've written or follow my barchive (web archive, aka 'blog) at xenosthesia.com or follow me on twitter @kurt_gailey. I love sports and music and books, so if you're an athlete or in a band or you're a writer, give me a follow and I'll most likely follow you back. I've even been known to promote other people's projects.

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