Words evolve over time and often take on new and different, sometimes even opposite meanings. Perhaps a prime example is the word gay which once meant happy or joyful, but has acquire a new meaning over the last few decades. Gay now refers to people once called homosexuals, and even that is changing as the term LGBTQ gains in popularity. Sick used to be a bad thing, now one hears young people referring to something quite positive as being sick. Or dope.
But I don’t think that the meaning of the word upgrade has changed. Yet based on recent computer operating system upgrades I have to wonder.
While I’m not a flier, over the course of my former career I made thousands of flight bookings for others. Many of those were for frequent fliers who would sometimes use accumulated travel points to upgrade from coach to business class. The result of the upgrade was always something better.
There are numerous computer programs that are available for free but also offer a paid upgrade version that provides more services. Again the upgrade is better.
Recently there have been two major computer operating system upgrades: Windows 10 and Apple iOS 9. Both were offered free of charge, both promised all sorts of new and wonderful improvements. Both have given me nightmares. Upgrading these two systems has not resulted in something better for me and based on a quick Google search I’m not the only one.
First I upgraded our laptop to Windows 10 from Windows 8.4. Within days the screen ceased working. The machine is fine, and can be seen doing its thing when connected to an external monitor, but the black screen has the computer technician flummoxed. Having poked and tweaked he is now considering the possibility that the problem is one of software/hardware incompatibility. He is going to go back to Windows 8 and see what happens.
Then I downloaded iOS 9 – by the way kudos to Apple for following the number sequence in going from iOS 8 to 9 unlike Windows who jumped from 8 to 10 – on both my iPhone and iPad. The iPhone is relatively new and handled the upgrade well, but my iPad 2 did not fare so well. I can almost watch the iPad battery draining, similar to watching a gas pump at Citgo, only in reverse. And most of the cool new additions do not work on my iPad. So no improvement, just a slower iPad that has to be charged more often, yet they call it an upgrade.
I am pretty certain that those travelers who upgraded to business class did not find themselves in a smaller seat with less legroom, more crying babies and inferior food. It was, after all, an upgrade. When I decided to upgrade my free antivirus program to a paid version I did not start getting viruses on my PC. So why can’t the great computer minds out there present us with upgrades that do not require work-arounds or immediate updates?