Bad Updates

Microsoft has succeeded in getting us used to bad updates. We’ve grown quite accustomed to stuff like broken programs, forgotten settings, and even forced upgrades. Millions of Windows 7 users woke up to find they had Windows 10 the next day.

Microsoft has gotten away with being such a jerk by being the only game in town. Ditching Microsoft means being forced to learn a new way to compute, something that most of us are unwilling or unable to do.

But more unfortunately, Microsoft’s brazen behavior has inspired other companies to act the same way. For instance, WordPress. They have recently implemented a major UI overhaul with version 5.0. Its page editor looks nothing like the classic version that has been in place for years. Worse, it doesn’t work on many installations! I’ve spent hours getting page editing working again at one of my domains.

And worse yet, they didn’t offer a solution. Their official support blog offered dozens of suggestions from other users, but none from WordPress itself. For the record, I finally solved my issue by installing the classic editor. But now I’m at the mercy of an added plugin, the infrastructure for my site is still broken.

Plex Media Server has done the same thing. They recently rolled out an upgrade to Roku media players which has totally scrapped the old look, and replaced it with an unintuitive model which still has this pro geek searching in vain for basic lists of movies, TV shows, and music.

Worse, it now refuses to run on my Roku 2! After 30 seconds of watching a video, it reboots the device. And, like WordPress, no help is offered except by other users. But it’s even worse, because there simply is no solution. The new version uses too much memory for Roku 2. Plex’s advice? Trash your old hardware and upgrade.

What makes that especially galling is that Netflix and Prime Video both work fine, they support simplified clients for the Roku 2 which function flawlessly.

Plex, OTOH, failed to take many millions of users into account when it rolled out its disastrous upgrade. And it has cost them dearly, I cancelled my 3.99 a month Plex Pass, and I suspect I had a LOT of company.

To sum up, there is simply no excuse for bad, unsupported upgrades. But I guess companies figure if Microsoft can get away with it, they can too.

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