Thursday, July 24, 2003

Upgrades gone bad

I’m an Expensable user — it’s an old Quicken product (now owned by the ominous-sounding “One Mind Connect”) that manages expense reports. About two months ago, it produced an expense report that printed out all expenses as “miscellaneous” even though all were properly categorized in the program. It took days to figure out what had gone wrong, and eventually required a manual re-map of all categories.

In the process, I discovered that One Mind Connect was discontinuing support of our version of Expensable. Today, I got an e-mail from the IT director that we’d purchased an upgrade license to version 6. I ran the setup, entered the code, and it told me that no prior version of Expensable was found, so it could not install.

Except that it was installed. I called the IT director. He got a different error message when he tried to run the upgrade: it told him an old version was found, but he needed to remove it before he could upgrade. Odd, since we both had the same version installed.

Except that we didn’t: I use the program, and up until support expired, One Mind enabled automatic updates. So through the years, Expensable 3.0 had morphed to Expensable 4.11 — and our IT director couldn’t replicate this because updates from version 3 are no longer available.

Solution? In order to upgrade, this is what I had to do:

  • Remove Expensable 4.11.

  • Install Expensable 3.

  • Remove Expensable 3.

  • Run Expensable 6 setup.

The fun part? After running Expensable 6 and exiting, it asks if I want to update the product. Sure — why not? (I’m a glutton.) It discovers a new version (taking the product from 6.0.0 to 6.0.1) and begins downloading. (Download: 1meg.)

Then it crashed. When I tried running it again, it told me I had a patch that hadn’t yet installed; fortunately that installed successfully.

Then it told me another patch was available. (To go to the ever-important version 6.0.2.) Download: 600k. It installs fine.

I run Expensable again. Guess what? Yup. Another version available (they’re rebuilding this thing every 2 minutes! They’re awfully busy at One Mind Connect.) After a 1.6 meg download, I’m now at 6.0.3.

I think I’m caught up. My expense report’s not done, but at least I’m running 6.0.3.

Until tomorrow, perhaps.

I work at a software company, and I’ll be the first to admit that managing a software release process (and the inevitable patches that address important fixes) is hard. But this sure seems like about the least user-friendly process in the world. I can understand the official build and the current build being different. But I had to install 4 versions (after removing 2 versions) of the software. Unbelievable.

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