Digital daily bread, by Ben Jeapes

Thanks to Tianyi Ma for sharing their work on Unsplash.
Rejoice with me, for I have a new computer! Its predecessor is 10 years old and slow as molasses on ice. This one is like lightning. Shiny, new!

Then came the matter of installing the software I need to do my work …

That would be two suites of software, Microsoft Office and Adobe CS6. The former I paid for myself: I can guarantee it is 100% legal as I bought it from the Microsoft store. The latter was provided by a classic car club whose magazine I edit.

Microsoft now decided I haven’t given them enough money lately and refused to accept my fully valid licence number. It had been "retired". Or was it "discontinued"? Some euphemism for "you need to give us more money", anyway. There was no way around this: I could buy the suite entirely (again) or subscribe to the newest version for £79.99 a year. Every year. For as long as I want to keep using it.

And while I was still reeling from that, Adobe decided to get in on the act and also refuse to recognise my fully legal and paid-for copy of their software. No euphemisms for them: their customer support page outright said it was probably a pirate copy (it isn’t). They went on to demand £49.94 per month. Per blinkin’ month.

So now I had two software giants rewarding my decades-old loyalty by demanding money with menaces. Let’s just say my reaction was not what Paul had in mind when he wrote Titus 3.2.

But having peeled myself off the ceiling I decided Matthew 10.14 was a much better way.

I remembered that prior to procuring CS6 for me, the club had procured CS5. And I still had the discs, and Adobe did allow this one (presumably because it was old they couldn’t actually believe anyone uses it) and at my level of functionality it’s identical to its more grown-up brother. One problem solved.

Switching from Microsoft Office has been harder. I’ve started using Libreoffice, which if I imagine I’ve gone back in time 20 years is exactly like using Word. It saves in Office format, so everything I do is compatible with all my clients still.

First World problems, eh?

Guess what, brothers and sisters, it turns out the latest is not the greatest and we don’t need shiny and new. We need what is sufficient to let us keep going. I’ve discovered the digital equivalent of receiving my daily bread, which is the most anyone has a right to ask God for.


Ben Jeapes took up writing in the mistaken belief that it would be easier than a real job (it isn’t). Hence, as well as being the author of 5 novels and co-author of many more, he has also been a journal editor, book publisher, and technical writer.


  1. Feeling your pain! I get emails from software giants on a regular basis claiming that I owe them £1.28 a month and suchlike. Molasses on ice is a great image.

  2. love this and how true! good to share about our portals into the virtual world!

  3. You have now become like the wise man who can take from his store treasures old and new. Although mostly old.

  4. Very true. I needed publishing software recently and investigated a range of expensive packages. Then found I had Microsoft Publisher hidden on my machine, I only knew when I tried to buy it again. It's not the latest version but works fine for me.

  5. Honestly, I blink and before I know it what I thought was the latest thing is now prehistoric and everyone's laughing at me. It's a cruel world!

  6. Glad you got it sorted in the end, Ben. This computer I'm using is also over 10 years old and showing it!

  7. I'm so empathetic. My laptop is five years old and already quakes with trepidation when an update threatens. It's the same with my phone. As soon as tech hits the shelves it's deemed 'old tech'.


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