Software Thrashing

I have a terrible habit. I know some of my friends do it too. It’s shameful, but I think I’m ready to come clean about it now.

I can’t stop switching between software alternatives.

It’s most frequently Twitter clients. A new update for another client comes out and I realize it does something that my current client doesn’t or does one thing in a way that’s way better. I give it a try, it seems okay, so I make the switch. Two weeks later I’m miserable. I can’t remember if there was a good reason why I made the switch. Some crucial features that I need are missing, my life is full of inconvenience, and worse still I’m actually getting upset about a piece of software.

It’s happened with podcast applications, RSS readers, email clients, and all kinds of other pieces of software. I’ve tried switching to using solely Rdio only to find myself considering ditching my subscription and going back to just iTunes days later.

I have a new rule, though, as of this week, and it is as follows:¬†if I want to switch to an alternative application, I have to write down why. It should be both notes about why I think the thing I’m moving to is a good choice and why I think what I’m switching away from is a bad one. It doesn’t have to be long and I don’t have to publicize it as if I’m some kind of tech pundit who’s explaining why the NEW Purplenote is the last note-taking platform I’ll never need. I just have to have a reason why I’m doing what I’m doing, and it has to be documented, so that if I find myself months later back where I was and I’m considering jumping BACK to the thing I was giving a shot, I know why it didn’t stick.

I try to do less of this kind of thing. I try to use less software and think more. But I’m still susceptible to it, and as long as I am, I want to minimize the damage.