Saturday, December 15, 2018

Old doctor pet peeve - disease descriptions were better in Osler's day.

I didn’t know Sir William personally, but I think he’d be appalled by the descriptions of patient-disorders in our medical textbooks.

We typically present a collection of findings, sometimes organized by ‘history’ or ‘physical’ or ‘lab’, but the sequencing and relationships are all lost.

We should have textbooks that describe a disease or disorder with 3-8 case histories that span a reasonable spectrum of presentations. So not x% have red eyes and y% have chest ache, but a case called “common” that might be “8 yo both with cough, then red eyes for day and a swollen lymph node, then a day later some red palms …” and another case called “often”, and 2-3 called “unusual1”, “unusual2”, and so on.

Ok, it’s not just my Oldness. I’ve been grumpy about this for roughly 25 years, even when I was only old in spirit. It annoys me a great deal.

Now I’ve said it.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Quicken for Mac -- why vendors are going to screw-up subscription pricing for software services

We’ve been using Quicken for Mac for the past year. I’m satisfied with the software, but I no longer trust their pricing and renewal.

We paid $60 for Quicken for Mac 2015 on 7/31/2015.  On 1/8/2017 we paid $48.41, presumably for 1 year of subscription service. On 12/31/2017 we paid $32.35; we probably switched from a “deluxe” plan to a basic plan.

Today I received an email requesting renewal:

Your Quicken membership will expire on 12/31/2018. In order to continue enjoying all of the benefits of Quicken, including connected services such as bank downloads, stock price updates, account sync, and free phone support, please click here to renew your plan.

The link goes, however, to Quicken for Windows where we are shown as “deluxe” plan for $50.

Ok, so that’s presumably a mistake — albeit a bad mistake. When I go to https://www.quicken.com/mac/compare I can see the Mac plans - Starter at $35 (so probably a 15% price hike from last year) and “most popular” Deluxe for $50. I can’t compare to last year but it looks like most of the features added in the past year or so require the “deluxe” option now.

Which leads me to reconsider my previously relatively positive attitude towards software subscriptions.

I’ve been generally in favor of subscription pricing for software. I think Microsoft has done a great job with Office 365. It does, however, come with temptations for vendors. Subscription pricing makes it too easy to hide price increases and game features. It promotes “information asymmetry”.

I think Quicken has fallen for that trap.

I don’t trust them now.

We are evaluating options.