I have always used Quicken for the most minimalistic of checkbook balancing. For some reason, even though the newer versions have continued to get bigger and more bloated, I’ve continued to stick with them, and even paid for the pile of rat dung they call Quicken Deluxe 2005.
Hating Intuit was a dangerous choice, as it turns out. Starting in 2005 editions, Intuit apparently added in the ability to disable select features after a three year period. For those of us who rely on, say, importing transactions from our bank, we’re just screwed through and through. Raped, more like. Violently. With broomsticks, chains, whips, and random jolts of high-voltage electricity.
How can a company as big as Intuit actually get away with something like this? It’s pretty much blackmail – won’t their users get as disgusted as I did and look for other options?
Maybe it doesn’t even matter. Because I did that. I looked at the other options. I looked at Moneydance. I looked at Gnucash. I looked at a few others whose names I forgot about as fast as it took me to run their uninstall programs. I avoided MS Money because I’ve heard it’s just as bad as Quicken in terms of the BS they’ve added in over the years.
In the end, I wasted a couple hours just to buy Quicken 2008.
I’m amazed at how utterly shitty the competition is. I’m a software designer for a living, and I’ve even worked on accounting software at my last job, so I know how challenging it can be to design something as big as a knock-off of a really successful accounting package. And for the freeware options, I can hardly fault them for sucking – they’re free. Gnucash looks promising if you’re an accountant. Plus, it couldn’t deal with downloaded transactions even a tenth as nicely as Quicken. Moneydance, a commercial app, was written wholly in Java, making its UI anything but consistent with other Windows apps. Plus, it couldn’t deal with downloaded transactions even as well as Gnucash. Another app, another set of problems, plus they couldn’t fucking deal with downloaded transactions nicely.
I can’t figure it out. For all of Intuit’s crap, for all Quicken’s painful UI decisions, it’s still the best app for somebody who just wants to download transactions and keep a single checking account balanced. Weird.