Every time you turn around, it seems the software that costs you a fortune is being outmoded by some new whiz-bang version or a competitive package that seems much better. Finally, there's an alternative to this nightmare: a software rental service from Interliant Inc., a Houston company that offers a service called AppsOnline (http://www.appsonline.com/index.html).
Instead of paying $40 a pop for a software package, you can rent it for $10. The software runs on Interliant's server, and users plug into it via their modems.
If you're collaborating with people in other locations, renting makes a lot more sense than asking everyone to buy and install individual software packages on their PCs. The idea works, too, if you need software you won't be using often-say, programs that helps you design a Web site, manage Y2K risk or do your taxes. It's also a great try-before-you-buy idea. Go for it.
Bronwyn Fryer writes about technology for Newsweek, C/NET and other publications from her office in Santa Cruz, California.