No matter how many times I upgrade a piece of software only to find that the latest version is no better, or is worse than the previous versions, I still feel the need to upgrade. Even if I’m perfectly happy with a piece of software I’ve been using successfully for a long time, as soon as a newer version comes out, I lose it. I can’t help but imagine all the bugs I’m living with now (whether I run into them or not) that have been fixed in a newer version.
The problem started at an early age. My parents had to upgrade my Packard Bell from 2MB to 6MB of RAM after I spent all of my savings ($99) on Central Point Software’s PC Tools only to find out it wouldn’t run on 2MB of ram. RAM cost $100/MB those days (I have a similar sob story about spending all my cash on a telescope that turned out to suck in grade four, but it doesn’t have anything to do with upgrade anxiety, so I’ll save it for a rainier day).
The problem began to affect my relationships and work as it worsened in the years that followed. It started with a two page spread screen shot of what was then called Chicago (eventually renamed Windows 95 for release) in Windows Magazine. I ogled those pages. I yearned for universal drag-n-drop, the task bar, to run my cursor over those chiselled 3D bevels. I paid $49.95 US for a copy of the Windows 95 beta preview version. It came on 35 3.5″ disks (seriously, I didn’t have a CDROM drive). My system and it’s now paltry 6MB of RAM absolutely crawled under its weight, but it didn’t matter. I had the latest.
Microsoft knows my kind. They pander to my addiction. Their Windows Update feature of my Windows 2000 Professional pops up a little icon in the corner of my screen every time an update of some kind becomes available. Even now, running Windows 2000 (and quite pleased with it), I am tortured by a co-worker who has secured a copy of Windows XP (the unfortunately monikered follow-up to Win2k).
I am a compulsive upgrader. Cost, quality, and reason are irrelevant to me when it comes to upgrades. This very article is stored in SQL Server 7 database when SQL Server 2000 has been out for months. I know very little about databases, and even less about the discrepancies between SQL versions, yet it kills me to run anything less than the absolute latest release (or even better, a beta of the next version).
I know I’m not alone. There must be other compulsive upgraders out there. Maybe it’s not software. Maybe it’s hardware, CDs, clothes. Share with me people.