frustrations with technology, or, when upgrades are really downgrades, or, give me back a previous gmail app

I've really been enjoying my Nexus 7 tablet. I dislike that tablets have become the norm, and in a perfect world I'd use a desktop, a netbook, and a tablet. But in the real world, my netbook has been phased out, and I'm back to taking notes with pen and paper.

But in general, I do enjoy my tablet. I especially love the compact size of the Nexus, how smoothly it glides from task to task, and how quickly it charges. I use a Samsung Galaxy at work, and the Nexus has it beat in all categories. And I picked it up - the version with both wifi and data - for less than $300.

Now I've learned that Google has discontinued the Nexus 7. I'm probably going to buy a second one to have on reserve for when my current one dies!

The tablet is constantly asking me to update apps - I choose not to use automatic updates - and I've already learned that the next update of the Gmail app has some features that I find very annoying, and which can't be turned off. This is not me being resistant to change: this is my own specific preference, no matter what email program I'm using.

After I determined that I disliked the latest version of the Gmail app, I was happy to learn that I could easily revert to the previous version. All good.

Yesterday my tablet forced a system update... and I have lost access to the previous version of the Gmail app.

Here's what I dislike. No matter what email program I use, I do not like to preview email before opening it. At all my many workplaces that have used Outlook - and I use Outlook at home - I turn off the reading pane. It doesn't really matter why I like this. The fact is I have a strong preference for this, in all email programs, over a long period of time.

On the smaller screen of the tablet, this is even more important. There is already a sidebar showing all my various Gmail accounts, or once I'm in an account, the folders. I would like the remaining real estate to show either a list of emails in the folder, or the body of the email I have tapped on.

The new Gmail app will not let me do this. The screen is divided into thirds: accounts or folders, list of emails in that folder, and previews.

I've spent a bit of time searching for ways to revert to a previous version, but it appears that the system update has precluded that possibility.

And this is my problem with mandatory "upgrades". I want to choose. Google won't let me.

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