It’s been a week of updates around here.
Like most concerned computer users, I do updates as they come along to get the advantage of using the latest features, enjoy a sense of feeling that things are safer, and hopefully look to a new and refreshed computer that’s more responsive and enjoyable to use. In other words, I want it all. The advantage of having your own home, personal computer is that it can truly be “personal” and that you get the updates on your terms without waiting for some corporate refresh.
With desktop operating systems, it does mean downloading and installing which can be a real challenge with the very slow internet connection that I have here. Usually, it means leaving the computer to its own and doing the downloading over night with the actual hands-on upgrade the next morning. Or, if I’m in a rush or have a bunch to do, it’s a quick trip to my daughter’s who has the type of internet access that is necessary to do it live.
With all the upgrades that I did this week, it turned out to be a combination of both. Usually, I’m very happy with upgrades. This week – not so much.
It was time to upgrade the iPad. Since iOS7, it has been really sluggish and I’ve turned to articles all over the internet for tips and tricks to speed it up. Of course, since it’s an Apple device, you don’t have a great deal of tweakability. With the first iOS 9 installs, it went from bad to worse. It’s really slow and applications were crashing all over the place. The update to 9.1 was only 111MB so I figured it couldn’t get much worse. I did the installation, which seemed to take forever, and have a slightly more reliable tablet now. It’s still not like the good ol’ days though. And, as with any upgrade, so many apps need to be updated as well.
Early reports about this upgrade to Mac OS X were so overwhelmingly positive. They talk about how fast and snappy it was. To be honest, I was actually pretty happy with the older versions but, hey, if things can be better why not? It was a huge download and install. ~6GB to download and then a long, long time to install. I did not experience the initial love that the fanboys were talking about. Instead applications take so much longer to launch. But, once launched, they seem to run just as well as before. I read an article this morning talking about files taking a while to be indexed so I’m hoping that’s all that needs to be done. I may just leave it on overnight and see if it just needs to be left alone for a while. Of course, the big Apple applications like iTunes and the Office suite are in need of an update too. But she has Netflix and a couple of walking trips to Tim Horton’s helped kill the time.
Updates to Windows is an enigma inside of a puzzle for me. For the most part, Microsoft makes it happen without any intervention. Out of habit, I do check for updates and there are times when some are just sitting there waiting for the go ahead. Or, there’s a message indicating that a reboot has to be scheduled but I have the option to do it now. There was a cumulative update for Windows this week that required a reboot. As a Windows user, we don’t have control over these things anymore. And, to its defence, Windows 10 is new and so updates should be applied. Besides, I might actually use Edge if it gets extensions so I don’t want to miss that. This time, upon reboot, I only got a half-boot and then it hung. I tried rebooting a couple of time with the same results. Has my enthusiasm killed it? A couple of boots into Safe Mode were in order and I didn’t notice anything out of place. One more reboot and magically things worked and Windows is running like it should. Weird and I have no explanation.
As far as I can see, there are two types of Ubuntu users. Those that are happy and stick with the LTS releases and others who install the every six month updates. I’m in the latter camp. I know that there are many Linux users who look down their nose at Ubuntu because it’s a whole lot less technical to operate. I just like the fact that it works and works so well. This computer dual boots to Windows or Ubuntu depending upon what I want to do. On Thursday, version 15.10 was available to the public and so I downloaded it. It was 2GB for the download and the installation only took about half an hour. Upon reboot, all my settings were intact and visually there didn’t appear to be much new. Upon poking around, I notice that LibreOffice 5 is now installed. In my readings, there have been enhancements made to Unity but this end user didn’t notice anything different. My Firefox is still the default browser and the whole system does seem to run a bit more responsively. I always get a smile when, while watching the installation, you see the message “removing obsolete packages”. You hope that all installations do that but Ubuntu explicitly states it. Without that, I’d be the ultimate digital hoarder – I hate to throw anything away in case I might need it.
I’ll confess to a sense of digital well-being after doing all the updates. Normally, they appear at different times. Maybe it’s a full moon or a digital competition or something but to have them all appear at the same time was a bit weird. Ultimately, we end users are the winners as things usually get better and more functional with each update.
And, in this online world, hopefully just a bit safer as well.