A Closer Look At Updates
Ed asked, sensibly, whether updates really are more likely to help than hurt. After all, we all have stories of updates that causes all sorts of problems! Does it make sense to stay up to date, or should you wait to jump until things break?
Here's a quick-and-dirty study: the last few things I've upgraded, and a rough idea of what I experienced.
- Tinderbox: OK, I'm prejudiced. But I use experimental builds for everything -- including this weblog (1623 notes) and TEKKA. If I'd burned my fingers doing this, I'd surely be using release code to get work done. I don't, because new features (like the new list-making feature I'm using here) matter more.
- Snapz Pro X. This update hasn't mattered, yet. The previous update was needed to get the widget to load reliable with Panther.
- Retrospect 6. No surprises. Little glitches relating to network problems seem to have gone away. Backing up the new Windows laptop turned out to be easy.
- Safari 1.2: A minor drag-and-drop oddity with Tinderbox needs investigation. Otherwise, no problems. No observed changes, either.
- Eudora 6: Spam filter was a big win for several months, though the spammers are now learning to evade it. Windows version seems solid, reliable, and allegedly more secure than Outlook.
- BBEdit 7: the built-in HTML preview is fine. No complaints.
- NetNewsWire: small cosmetic improvements are fine. No problems under the hood.
- Panorama 4: esoteric user interface ideas from old version have now been replaced; old habits cause confusion, but the new interface is better.
- Office 2003/Win: it is what it is. Installation went better than expected.
- Stuffit 7: mixed results. Good news -- better icons, better contextual menu in finder, said to fix some MacOS X issues, Bad news, I've got some esoteric headache that launches the wrong engine when I try to unstuff. Or something like that. Slightly munged, but I can live with it.
- iTunes and iPod software: I updated with some trepidation, but everything went fine. Some iTunes upgrades have effectively removed features in the interest of security or closing loopholes, but on balance the application improves.
- Airport: I upgraded with great trepidation, since it's a firmware update and since the Eastgate airport network is now absolutely critical to getting anything done. But it worked fine, and the network has been rock-solid since the update.
- Railroad Tycoon III 1.0.3: tricky installation glitches, but once the installer actually ran, everything seemed fine.
That's the latest batch. No big wins, unless one of these routine updates happened to avoid a big loss I won't even notice now. But no disasters, and some everyday improvements.