I have been a Quicken user for some time. I started using it on the PC over a decade ago. When I switched to the Mac, I started using the Mac version of Quicken. It was a little clunky but still serviceable. Since the last version of Quicken for Mac launched (Quicken 2007), all has been silent from Intuit on their Mac version. There has been promise of an update for years. Earlier this year, when I griped about Quicken on Twitter, someone from their company responded with a promise that the next version would be out later this year and that it would be amazing. Until then, I am stuck with Quicken 2007 and it really has not aged well.
Quicken is a “Carbon” application. Programmers know what I’m talking about, but for everyone else that means it was originally written for Mac OS 9. The great thing about Carbon is that when Mac OS X debuted in 2002, any app written using the Carbon system would work in both OS 9 and OS X. 2002. Modern OS X apps are written in a new — well, new when introduced for OS X almost a decade ago — system called Cocoa.
So, then, what’s the big deal between Carbon and Cocoa? Windows users may recognize the quirkiness of running an old Windows 95 application in XP or Vista. Older Windows users may remember how oddly Windows 3.1 applications looked and behaved under Windows 95. It is like that, only more so because of Apple’s attention to detail. Things do not look right. Nothing scrolls correctly. The standard hotkeys are far from standard. Windows and toolbars are clunky. Fonts are difficult to read and rendered on backgrounds that were perfectly at home in OS 9, but foreign to OS X. For an application with lots of numbers in columns that must be tabbed around and many document windows to swap between, navigating and entering data was a huge pain in the butt.
I held out, hoping that the new Quicken would be wonderful. Now that it is available for preorder and a few details are public, I feel like a chump for having waited for so long. Many others have since moved on to Mint. I have avoided Mint because the thought of my data living “in the cloud” was scary, but now that I have started poking around their privacy and security information, including technical details, I feel it is no more or less secure than the company my bank contracts out to for online banking (most banks contract that stuff out instead of managing it in-house). In fact, I feel a bit more secure now because it never occurred to me that my data at Mint is read-only. There’s no way to transfer funds. You can only categorize transactions and do meta-work with that data like build up budgets and plan for goals.
I believe that this weekend I will set up an account at Mint. I will be running this in parallel with Quicken through the end of the year, just so that all the information for taxes is in one place. If all goes well, I will then will discard Quicken in January, starting the new year with a new financial system. It’s probably not a big deal for Intuit either way, considering they purchased Mint earlier this year, but I am officially sick and tired of waiting three years for Quicken to clean up and modernize.