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Old 08-17-2006, 02:01 PM
Jon Westfall
Executive Editor, Android Thoughts
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Default Old Software Never Dies, It Just Becomes a Liability!

Recently one of the other editors here wrote to me in an email the following:<br /><br /><i>"[Manufacturer]'s website still shows [Version Number]. Talk about an old piece of software, it's almost one year old. ;-)"</i><br /><br />While one year doesn't seem too long to most, it is a bit long for updated versions of software. Usually around the one year mark, I also start wondering if the software has been abandoned (Thankfully it's a safe bet that the product in our email hasn't - or else my job would get a lot harder!). The discussion got me thinking about older software and how much I miss some of my old "friends" because they were abandoned by their authors. While most of them I still can download or have copies of, I'm leery of installing them as they either don't run as well as they used to, don't run at all, or pose a threat to my other applications and data due to their age.<br /><br />How old is too old for an application to live on your Pocket PC? At what point, without updates, do you feel the need to move on to another product that is updated - or do you simply stick with the old favorites until absolutely necessary? And for sentimental reasons, what application that has been "abandoned" do you miss the most?
Dr. Jon Westfall, MCSE, MS-MVP
Executive Editor - Android Thoughts
News Editor - Windows Phone Thoughts

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Old 08-17-2006, 02:15 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 718

I use software (PocketPC, PC, whereever) until I don't need it anymore or something better cones along. Support after the fact is of little concern to me. Hey, I still use Windows File Manager (winfile)
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Old 08-17-2006, 02:39 PM
Join Date: Jul 2002
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I can't even vote in this poll. If the software is doing exactly what I need and does it better than anything newer (which is the case for some of the software I have) then I don't care how long its been since the last update.

This question really doesn't make much sense to me. Do people really stop using superior software and go to something that doesn't do what they need simply because the developer no longer updates the program the currently use?
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Old 08-17-2006, 03:03 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 533

Anyone know what happened to Two Peaks? They used to make the some of the best PPC software out there, but they've been dormant for upgrades, no Windows Mobile 5 compatability, no resposne to tech support requests.....yet their website's still running and still accepting orders.
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Old 08-17-2006, 03:07 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 327

If it keeps working, I do not care how old it is. Microsoft's games pack version of blackjack has been on every pocket pc I have owned since the original iPaq, back in 2000. My 8125 barks at me when I install it, but it still runs perfectly, and is still my favorite version of blackjack on the pocket pc.
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Old 08-17-2006, 03:16 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 481

I don't think age by itself is that significant. On the same device, I wouldn't expect to see a problem if you use it forever.

But more of an issue arises when the OS changes, as when you get a new device (or for the privileged, get an OS upgrade) and the app doesn't work quite right in one way or another, or doesn't work at all. Then it is hard to say goodbye to something you have used previously. The wait for some application upgrades for WM5 has been way too long.
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Old 08-17-2006, 03:18 PM
Nurhisham Hussein
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Originally Posted by dma1965
If it keeps working, I do not care how old it is.
I agree completely - I've had NoteM on every PocketPC/Windows Mobile device I've had or have any input too, despite the fact that the developer has disappeared, as has his website. While showing its age, it still competes well with every voice recorder app on the market.
"A planner is a gentle man, with neither sword nor pistol.
He walks along most daintily, because his balls are crystal."
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Old 08-17-2006, 03:26 PM
Ilium Software
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Posts: 150

I think this is a really interesting topic because as developers we are regularly faced with the "When is the next upgrade?" question.

It seems that there is a push (from customers) for more and more frequent upgrades. But here is an example of an all too common conversation for us:

Customer: "Why haven't you released an upgrade?"

Us: "Is there a problem you've run into or a new feature you would like to see?"

Customer: "No. I just wondered why you aren't upgrading it."

Although we're always working on our products, we only release an upgrade if we really need to. In fact, with software I purchase, I often associate frequent upgrades with lots of problems. Fewer upgrades means it works really well right out of the chute.

I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on the 'gotta upgrade' situation as well.

Marc Tassin
Ilium Software
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Old 08-17-2006, 03:47 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 51
Default Slower updates are good...

... if the soft is not buggy. In fact, I find that having an update every two days is rather painful. You must frequently check the updates, install the new version, etc.
This definitely makes the customer come back to the web site of the soft and creates some sort of psychological dependency but it is not very good for doing the business for which we use the PDA :-)

On my side I would prefer the following scheme with an efficient mail averting system (Handandgo takes forever to inform me about the updates):

- Quick updates when a critical bug is found;
- Slower but better tought updates concerning the features (every 3-6 months, for example), even grouping several new features in the same update and resisting to release a new update with every small new feature ou interface change.

I would like to be informed by mail about each update any way, then I can choose if I go to the web site or not...

I have the impression that Ilium is quite a slow updater (my e-wallet has not been updated for some time if I am not wrong, neither List Pro, and they could both benefit from new features) and SBSH is a terribly quick updater (you must past half of your life in their forums when Amit begins an update vague :-) ). I love softs from both company but the optimum must be somewhere between (Amit has slowed a little bit the pace of the updates and I think this is nice, since he can take more time to think about intelligent new features).

Anyway, we are some form of PPC junkies and this is just a maniac trait which is difficult to handle for all software companies
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Old 08-17-2006, 03:51 PM
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 367

If there is an upgrade available for a program, I will probably load it, unless it addresses a problem that I don't have or adds features for a device I don't own. (Perfect example is the last update to Laridian's PocketBible for Smartphones. The last update just addressed issues with the Motorola Q and really offered nothing else new, so I skipped that update). Pocket Informant is another example - they offer fairly frequent updates, but since the application meets my needs perfectly as is, I haven't botheed with the last couple of updates.

It's easy to get caught up in the "gotta have the latest and greatest" syndrome, but more and more I have to judge whether or not an update or upgrade really addresses a real need that I have, so I'm finding that I am starting to NOT download new updates just for the sake of doing so. Unless it adds a compelling new feature or addresses a stability concern that affects me, I'm finding that I'm less likely to update.

A fine example of a peice of software that hasn't been updated in two years is Pocket e-Sword. But as it is it works wonderfully and while I don't know this for sure, I suspect that the developer hasn't udpated it because there has not been a need to. And I'm perfectly satisfied with it as it is. Oh sure, I check the website every few months just to make sure nothing has changed, but if the application is never updated again, it works well and I'll use it for as long as I have a device that can run it.

XBox 360 S, 16GB iPhone 4S, iPod Classic 160 GB, Dell Inspiron Mini 1018; Macs: Mac Mini 2.4 GHz 6 GB RAM; Macbook 2.0 GHz 3 GB RAM; MacBook Air 11", 24" Cinema Display
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