This will never become a book.

2012 July 5 Thursday


Filed under: life — kdefg @ 23:30

If something works, it shouldn’t need to be changed.  That’s my attitude about most things: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  I am very skeptical about anything which claims to be new and improved.

I have been using old versions of almost every piece of software on my computer, from the operating system to the browser and all of the applications.  I know their menus and features, and I like the way they look and feel.  I’ve had no reason to replace them, despite the world telling me they are obsolete.

Today, I let myself be led down an upgrade path, and it has been traumatic for me.  It all started because I wanted to explore a new virtual world, after reading this review of Cloud Party.  My current system has the graphics card to handle it, and I’ve enjoyed other 3-D worlds in the past, ones that run from a downloaded client program, but this one was designed to run in a browser window.  So, to get started, I needed to upgrade my browser.  Scary time.

Suddenly I was tripping over keystrokes that no longer did what they used to do.  In the years since I had last upgraded my browser, they had rearranged the menus, redesigned the icons, and revamped the layout.  It was frustrating!  I went down a side path, searching for solutions and finding many people complaining about the same things I disliked, howling about abrupt changes to a product they all loved.  They encountered these “enhancements” years ago, and there have been multiple version releases since then.  I was on the trailing edge of a wave of changes, and the tide had just swept me to the front of the pack. Fortunately I was able to find ways to customize my interface, and now my browser is nearly back to a state which works for me.  Don’t tell me it looks old — I like it that way.

But the game I wanted to play still did not run, because my video card drivers were out-of-date.  Once again, I had not encountered any need to upgrade for the past several years, and so I was unprepared for the effects a simple update would have on my system.  For starters, the control panel which I use to swap settings for different tasks had been overhauled, and the feature which saved my various user profiles had been eliminated.  I now had no easy way to change between the monitor resolution I use for text-based tasks and the settings I need for graphics-intensive games, plus all of my carefully customized color tweaks were gone.  I am very sad now, and in this area there is no way to go backwards.

So I went to all this trouble just to take a trial run on a website that I probably would not spend much time on later.  It did run, although the objects in the scene render slowly.  I don’t know whether this is a fault of my download speed or their servers, or some other settings which I was forced to reset to new defaults.  The game itself is really just a sandbox now, a place where people can build environments and explore them.  I might return to look around some more, later, since I have ruined my system for it.

I decided to run an older game to see what effect the new video drivers would have on it.  The game is URU, a virtual world that was built many years ago.  It never made heavy demands on my aging computer, and for many reasons it has never required an upgrade of its players.  People with newer computers have had trouble running the software, which was written for an operating system which is no longer worthy of service updates.  I set my screen resolution to what I hope matches the profile I had saved but lost.  The game now runs with an annoying stutter, a sluggish chunkiness in the animation and avatar motions.  I do not know what is causing it, other than the new drivers.  I do not know how to fix it.

I do not understand why things ever need to change.



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