Are we too dependent on our software?

This week I had a horrible experience: my favorite browser of all times, Opera, was updated (to version 15). That in itself is not a bad thing. But this particular update destroyed my workflow of using an internet browser and an email-client – in one single piece of software. For me, this combination was the ultimate key feature – besides the first gesture controls (with the mouse) and other innovative functions Opera brought us over the last decade (and which other browsers have copied). I was so frustrated about this change that I wrote this post while I was walking to work…


Is it really just me?

So, Opera publishes an update and puts the email-client into a separate piece of software – without asking me. I know, many (even most) people work like that every day. At work I have to use a separate e-mail client, too. And obviously somebody thought this would a good enhancement for Opera. Not me! I literally work in the internet, and the browser-email combo was perfect for me for the last 8 years. I don’t want to miss it! And I can’t be the only one. Can I?

Software Dependency

My personal drama also shows how much we depend on many companies and their (free) products, especially software or online tools. If they decide to change something within their software or the pricing model we are doomed. Doomed! I was lucky and able to switch back to an older version of Opera but then another problem appeared – all my emails were blank (they are still there but I can’t read them). But that’s another story.

My scary future: A new e-mail client?

I will use the older version of Opera with the integrated email-client as long as I possibly can. But sooner or later I will have to find something new. That’s the sad truth. And as a human being I don’t like change so much, especially when everything is just working perfectly. For me. The worst thing that could happen would be the loss of all emails from the last years (ok, I just made a backup last weekend, but still don’t know if it will work). If this is really happening I probably need to think about setting up a new email-client… And in case I haven’t made myself clear: I do not want to do that!

Is there a solution?

What do you think about our lives (or work and workflow) depending on software that can change or disappear tomorrow out of nothing? I am thinking about designers and their ultimate tool (Adobe Photoshop) or the end of the Google Reader these days (which does not bother me much because there are lots of better tools). What would you do without it? Or am I just getting a typical old guy that resists change? How can we reduce that dependency or is there no way out?

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