Friday, December 12, 2008

Something for nothing

I have an aversion, instilled at some point deep in the recesses of my upbringing, against tying myself down to subscriptions or services. Monthly fees give me the willies. Debt terrifies me. I choose paying up front over paying on time for nearly everything; on our two TiVos, for example, I insisted we buy the lifetime service plan for a one-time fee rather than taking on the monthly charge. Both of our cars were bought with cash. I was taught to pay off my credit card every month, and I've never deviated from that plan, even in my leanest years. The only debt we have is our mortgage, and that will be paid off in six years.

So I tend to see products and services in terms of how much they're trying to bleed from me. I assume that everybody with something to give away is trying to sell me the razor blades, as it were.

With that in mind, one of the features of our modern age that continually delights me is free software updates. Noel just pulled out our Flip Mino to upload a bunch of videos from the past few months, and when he plugged it into his computer, he was prompted to install a new version of the software that allows you to do rudimentary editing and YouTube uploading directly from the camera. For nothing, we got new capacities -- transitions, audio controls, credits, a better uploading interface.

Free updates have become the rule rather than the exception. To me, that's an amazing fact in a world where we've been conditioned to think that nothing comes without a price.

1 comment:

the secret knitter said...

Yeah, it's amazing when it doesn't feel like a company is trying to stick it to you because they can. Good grief, the local daily was charging home delivery subscribers more for this year's Thanksgiving newspaper if they didn't have automatic payments set up.