Last time I mentioned the frustrations of having legacy programs that are perfect for my needs…that I can’t use anymore because the software or hardware needed to run them are obsolete.
Reader M. Elllington, like me, maintains what amounts to a computer and programming timewarp:
“I have a check-writing program that I have used for about 20 years… I have a tower with a disc drive and running Windows 7, to keep my legacy check writing app.”
The Queen of Legacy Tech
“I own old “floppy” diskettes (small, square, rigid) AND an old Dell drive and cable … but what can I connect to the drive so I can access diskette files (Word)?
Can you spell O B S O L E T E ?”
I miss having Microsoft Office Suite on my computer forever. Instead, we have to buy a new copy every year. Capitalists! Bah!
Wait, there’s more
Other readers feel the same. Reader Diana misses her Kindle (“It’s enough to drive a person back to real books! Hahaha!”); WT offers some practical viewpoints and Reader Dave – Hi, Dave!! – offers a cheery salute along with his (successful) search for a better sprinkler timer.
Yesterday I tried to scan something from my laptop only to find that Old Reliable Dell is not on speaking terms with my HP printer anymore when I need to scan something.
Maybe they had an argument while I was at the gym and decided to break up, but I’d like the courtesy of a farewell note.
Instead, I spent a half hour realizing what happened and trying to find a workaround. Naturally, this sort of discovery never comes during casual use – it only pops up at important times.
So now my choices are:
-pay HP a ridiculous amount of money for their paid helpline to fix the problem
-buy a new laptop and hope that one will talk to my printer
-buy a new printer and hope that one will talk to my laptop.
Naturally, this means that the legacy apps I have – that do a perfect job exactly the way I want – won’t work with any of the new equipment and software.
The Legacy Apps
I have a computer tower running XP that I keep specifically for three spectacular legacy programs that have yet to be topped:
Kiplinger’s Simply Money. Thanks to this program I can tell you to the nearest dollar how much I spent on groceries at Target last year. It changed my financial life. Now it’s dying a slow death because my HP printer won’t talk to it anymore. bit by bit, and the functionality is dropping off.
Daytimer: This program allowed me to keep and sort my address book, add notes for each person, keep my calendar, warn me of upcoming dates and allowed me to print out pages to add to my datebook or remember good restaurants. I love this program….but my HP printer won’t talk to it anymore and the printing function is vital. Right now I’m manually adding names and numbers in my datebook (yes, I’m analog that way). That’s a huge pain, but I will never stop hoping that I can revive this program…with its years of notes, info and background.
The Mystery Music Program: I don’t know the name of this program but it’s easy, intuitive and allows me to tag and sort hundreds and hundreds of MP3, WMA and other music files.
I’ll put in a good word for Fitday.com, a weight loss/calorie tracker. It still sort of runs on my Dell laptop, but the wonderful charts and graphs that really inspired me no longer appear…and my diet program has stalled.
Let us now Praise Famous Apps
There must be millions of people like me with legacy software and/or older computers or hardware that gets sandbagged with every ‘upgrade.” Some of us are uninterested in upgrades and the latest bells and whistles – we just want what we have to work!
Sadly, there seem to be powerful forces bent on making us lose perfectly fine legacy programs and spend a ton of dough on new hardware, upgrades and apps.
But that’s me. How about you? What legacy Apps do you have and love? What hoops are you jumping through to keep them running? Have you found any help, or any replacements? Let us know in the comments!
Virge Randall is Senior Planet’s Managing Editor. She is also a freelance culture reporter who seeks out hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send Open Thread suggestions to email@example.com.