It's taken a long time to get over my early computing experience. Switching from an 8086 to an 80386 in the DOS era was pretty much pure progress. The transition to OS/2 then to Windows 95 involved many regressions, but I imagined that was a one time anomaly. Win 98 to NT to 2000 to XP was pretty much all improvement (I skipped ME of course).
Same story in my early Mac days. Things just got better - until MacOS 7 ran into TCP/IP. That was a train wreck, but it did get sorted out. When I returned to the Mac I was using OS X 10.1 (or 10.2?) and that was good too.
Ok, so some great software died without replacement. I should have adjusted my expectations. What can I say? I'm a geek. CPUs kept getting faster. It helped me overlook a lot of things.
Alas, the decrepit state of the Wikipedia entry on Moore's Law speaks volumes. We may get more transistors, but clearly we're not getting more performance. We're in the post-performance era.
In our new era some things get better, some things get worse. Personal computing is middle-aged. Progress is uneven.
I'm in the midst of one of those tech churn transitions now with my backup systems.
I'm not paranoid about backups, because the universe really is trying to destroy my data. I'm just realistic.
Realism means I've long had fully automated rotating off-site backups, and, as backup software quality has regressed, I've moved to having two completely distinct automated backup systems. (If two distinct systems each have a 90% reliability rate, then the probability one will work is 1-(0.1*0.1) or 99.9%. It's almost impossible to equal that reliability from a single affordable product.)
So I probably still have a reliable backup system, but it's more work to maintain than my old system. In some ways it's also less flexible, in particular my laptop backups are less reliable. I'm having to adjust my workflow to the new environment, and that means some functional regressions.
Middle-aged post-Moore computing means living with regressions. The trick is realizing when a true functional regression has occurred, and then being able to say good-bye to the better for the sustainable.
Update 1/25/10: I just found this 2006 tech post of mine complaining about the backup market. It's been a bad few years for backup. I should also highlight a comment Andrew W made (see below):
On Windows there's Home Server, which is about as carefree a centralized/networked backup solution as you can get.The Apple equivalent to Home Server is Time Capsule. I would like to see Apple do a more complete backup/media server/file server home server solution.