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Upgrading Your Technology Isn’t Always A Good Idea

Posted by on Apr 20, 2011

Every week I’m getting some kind of alert that some software application needs to be updated. Most of the time it’s just Microsoft, but things such as Adobe whatever, Flash, Java and even a couple of other programs I’m running here and there will pop up saying I should upgrade, and I always do.

However, not everything will alert you to the fact that there’s an upgrade. It is in that vein that last week I tried to do something different.

Linksys - RangePlus WRT160N 4-Port Wireless-N Broadband Router

After one more story about someone who had their wireless connection leeched by someone else who was downloading kiddie porn I decided it was probably time to close my connection. My neighbors aren’t all that close and in my area signals get degraded quickly, but my mind said let’s not take any chances.

I have a Linksys router and figured out how to get into the software settings so I could change things around. Then it alerted me that there was a firmware upgrade for the router. I checked it out, seemed like a good deal, downloaded the program, did the upgrade, and figured all was fine. What the upgrade was supposed to do was two things. The first was to protect some of the open ports better against intrusions, and the second was to boost the speed a little bit more. I certainly wouldn’t have a problem with either of those things, and my computer still worked great.

The problem came the first time I tried to sync my Palm to the computer. Because of stupid Vista I can no longer sync the Palm via a USB connection; it has to be wireless, unless I want to take the time to go out and buy a Bluetooth connector for the computer, and I don’t. And the problem wasn’t the protection I had put onto the computer against wireless intrusions without a password either, as my laptop still accessed things fine.

The problem was that suddenly the upgrade had changed from 40-bit and 80-bit technology to 64-bit and 128-bit technology, but the Palm, being older, could only handle the older bits. I couldn’t get it to work with the computer in any way, shape or fashion. Talk about disappointing!

I worked on it for hours, then decided to shut it down and try again the next day. Same thing, couldn’t get it working, although this time I kept sporadically trying things. Nope, wasn’t happening. Then on Twitter I happened to mention it and someone said to try to do the upgrade again. I did that; as a matter of fact, not only did I do that, but I went in and turned off the wireless protection as well.

I’m not sure why but after the 4th time of running that upgrade I was finally able to sync my Palm; came out of nowhere, as I just wasn’t expecting it. I was elated beyond belief. Unfortunately, I still can’t access the internet on the Palm, but it’s more important to me that I can sync my address and date books again.

In a way, it’s a problem I should have thought about ahead of time based on the reality that many people have been trying and failing to upgrade the Flash BIOS on their Dell laptops and have found themselves with laptops that no longer work. There’s supposedly a class action lawsuit out there somewhere against them because it’s been found that many of their motherboards, estimated at around 12 million or so, are faulty and thus helped to cause the crashes.

Of course I could just go out and buy a new router like the one above, the N-series, and maybe that would help, and I may do that some day; just not now. 🙂

Either way, it does point out that whenever you’re thinking about upgrading your technology you might need to think about your older tech to see if it might cause you problems you don’t want to deal with.

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10 Comments »

Updating seems to be an ongoing problem in the digital world… firmware and software aside, how many times do truly useful tools or services disappear or get fixed when they’re not broken? Like Google trends, for example!

And then there are other blunders (ones MySpace & Technorati made):

Then there’s Technorati… still has a web presence but lost a lot of credibility when it suddenly accepted MySpace pages as blogs! I pity the fool who made that fateful decision! I believe Technorati would be up there with Google and Facebook today had they stayed true to the course!

Remember why MySpace died? Facebook came along and gave the world back what MySpace originally provided: an easy to load and navigate social interaction system.

April 20th, 2011 | 10:44 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Dave, I’m fully with you on that one. So many things do that, like the Microsoft products. Last night I was trying to work on something using Publisher 2007 that I just couldn’t figure out, and I’m lucky in that I also have 2003 loaded. I went back to that one and found what I needed and there you go.

As for Technorati, once they changed their rating system to something I can’t figure out I’ve pretty much left them alone. Then again I’ve always hated their 6-month matrix system as well; I tend to believe longevity has its use.

April 20th, 2011 | 11:26 AM
Jessica Sighart:

Every time I hear these things, I just want to say buy a Mac, but you already know I’m going to say that 🙂 It’s funny you mention Publisher. It’s the only software I’ve “missed”. I don’t need it because I use Photoshop, but it was so nice to have when you needed to make something quickly.

April 21st, 2011 | 7:31 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

You and your Macs, Jess! lol Hey, I’m betting that every time you folks decide to buy a new one that there are tons of changes as well.

April 21st, 2011 | 4:58 PM

lol … I’m sure there are a few changes … but most Mac users don’t worry about it, because our computers last for so long, upgrades aren’t a yearly or bi-yearly concern, like they are for window’s users 😀

April 22nd, 2011 | 3:26 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Yeah yeah… That’s why the iPhone comes out with a new version every year and didn’t the iPad go through two versions in less than a year? I mean, that stuff’s expensive! lol

April 22nd, 2011 | 3:35 PM
Jessica Sieghart:

Honestly, I bought an iMac five years ago and am still using it today. I have upgraded the operating system, but that’s really inexpensive and it works as well as the day I bought it. I am on my 2nd iPhone, but that’s only because my daughter wanted one, so I upgraded mine and gave her the other one. It still works perfectly. I do have an iPad (which I also love), but didn’t upgrade from the 1st one. I don’t have a need for a camera on it, so ill just stick with this one. I will say this, since I switched to Mac, I spend all my computer time enjoying it instead of fixing stuff, trying to get things to work and rebooting all the time.

April 23rd, 2011 | 10:51 PM

Most of the times, I do a firmware update, actually sometimes is a bit tricky with assigning IPs in admin area for the router. A good idea is to reset it and punch the IP address of router in the browser. Most of the times it is question of settings. The biggest problems of most brands even the most trusted is that those are made somewhere in Asian and lack support or detailed manual.

April 22nd, 2011 | 7:59 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Carl, I finally got my Palm working and indeed it came down to looking at a setting and realizing something changed that made the Palm go looking for a specific address instead of letting it look for whatever was available. Stupid technology! lol

April 22nd, 2011 | 1:05 PM

Hi Mitch,

I feel your pain my friend. I actually thought about this issue last week, in respect to my camera. I have Canon 20D, which I hadn’t even realized is almost 7 years old now. I haven’t upgraded the firmware for that since I think the 1st year I had it. Actually, I doubt Canon even has upgrades for it any more, but even if they did, I don’t think I’d take the chance … after all, the camera works just fine … what’s that old phrase: “don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” 😉

April 22nd, 2011 | 3:22 PM