Poll Preview: Long in the Tooth — While talking to Sue Nail of CE Software at Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Matt Neuburg and I were surprised to learn that the Prairie Group’s DiskTop, a Finder alternative originally written by CE Software and last updated in the early 1990s, was still being sold and supported with bug fixes, if not actively developed. Tune in next week for Matt’s article about DiskTop and a shareware alternative, DiskTracker.
For now, we’re curious just how long TidBITS readers hold on to those favorite programs of yesteryear. As we see it, old software falls into several different categories:
Specific versions of programs like Word 5.1, Canvas 3.5, or QuarkXPress 3.3 that serve users’ needs (and work well on older hardware) even though the companies have continued to update the programs with new features.
Still-useful utilities like DiskTop 4.5 or Semicolon Software’s Signature Quote, which haven’t been updated in years and probably never will be, in part because significant updates aren’t necessary.
Orphaned software like Apple’s Cyberdog, Claris’s Emailer and ClarisDraw, and CE Software’s WebArranger, which, barring an unexpected renewal of development, have no future at all.
The question then, is how many years old is the oldest piece of software (whether it’s an application, control panel, desk accessory, game, or whatnot) that you regularly use? The best ways of finding the date will be to look in an About box or in the Get Info window for a copyright date (use the latest date if there’s a range). Failing that, check the creation date or modification date in the Get Info window, but realize that those aren’t always accurate. One approach might be to search for files of type APPL (or whatever) and sort by date, then look for ones you use regularly. Once you’ve found your oldest piece of software, come and vote on our home page! [ACE]