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Time Machine Moment: 90s Software Frustrations, macOS Mojave & The Final Straw With Final Draft

November 24, 2018
90s Software

I’ve always loved computers.

As a child of the 90s I still remember Windows 95 and the lucky dip that came with buying any type of software whatsoever. You never knew if it was going to work on your system or not. There were no guarantees. And things regularly got corrupted and nobody knew why. And at the time people (well… me anyway) just put up with it.

What else could you do? The Internet didn’t exist yet. There were no forums or social media. When I bought a computer game, I’d stand there in the shop with the extremely unnecessarily oversized box in my hands, the beautiful artwork getting me so excited. Desire like that doesn’t exist in adult life. But the first thought on my mind was always, “I hope it works on my computer!” because you never knew until you tried. And when it didn’t, I’d feel really frustrated and angry and curse my computer for not being good enough.

And then there was Apple.

I was a late convert to Apple. The cost barrier was in direct conflict with my surname. But one birthday – I can’t remember how old I was – I treated myself to an iPhone 4. And that one purchase changed everything.

Using an Apple device was a profoundly pleasant experience. Not only easy and smooth, but effortless, in fact. And it wasn’t long before I found myself back at the Apple Shop at MetroCentre in Gateshead, where I lived back then, handing over one month’s pay for a Macbook Pro.

Whereas Windows in the 90s was this slightly cumbersome, temperamental and often stubborn and curmudgeonly uncle, macOS makes me feel, I imagine, how a woman feels on a date with a really smooth guy. The stand out thing about Apple products is that on the whole, they just work. There’s no waiting around. It’s like service at the Ritz Hotel. My every need and every whim is anticipated and attended to. It was like a dream. Both in terms of design and usability, a Macbook was a sexy thing. Sexy to look at. Sexy to use. It was everything that the early visionaries in the personal computer revolution must have dreamed that a personal computer could be.

There had to be a rub. Didn’t there?

Well… possibly.

I’ve never been one for updating software. macOS asks me on a regular basis to upgrade to the latest version but I never ever do. And the reason I don’t is because invariably, when I do, something stops working.

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This morning I have, under duress, upgraded to the latest version of macOS. I only did it because Adobe Creative Cloud is starting to complain that I haven’t. And don’t get me wrong, it was a smooth and stress free process. Like I said, Apple products just work. And it did. And it’s kind of like having a brand new computer all over again. New desktop background. New look. New features.

But as soon as it restarts for the first time, the complaints begin:

“Final Draft cannot be run on this file system” and with that one simple warning message, a £200+ software package is rendered obsolete and I’m transported back to the 90s. Because now it’s upgrading the system that causes trouble. You never quite know if all your programs will work post-update and the  real rub there is you’ve already paid for them and can’t take them back.

For those who are unfamiliar, Final Draft is a screenwriting software package. It’s good but it’s pricey. It makes formatting a screenplay very quick and easy and for that reason it’s tough to do without. And I think they know that. But when I first forked out for it, I justified it in my mind by calling it a lifetime investment. Naive perhaps.

So while Mojave is a free macOS upgrade, it incurs indirect costs because the Final Draft upgrade isn’t going to be free. They’re going to make me shell out a couple of hundred pounds for it. But, in an unexpected plot twist, I’m not going to.

I refuse.

I refuse because I think it’s unfair to force me to buy an upgrade that’s not really an upgrade. They want me to pay again just so that I can have the exact same functionality I already had. And that sucks!

So while it will be difficult, I will do without it. I will find another way, if only on principle.

It’s a fade out for Final Draft.

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