So this post has two level title cause it’s an update about updates. Updates in life, software, hardware and everything else. When someone says update, the first thing that comes to mind, considering most of us are computer literate, is the Adobe Update box that pops up atleast 50% of the time you turn your computer on. So what exactly will this update do for me that I’m likely to notice in my day to day usage of the only Adobe product installed, the Reader? Will it get faster, which is pointless as I will still read at the same speed. Will it get lighter, which is also pointless as I have ample RAM. Or will it become more stable and prevent my computer from spontaneously combusting everytime I open a new tab in Reader?
I honestly believe that a certain large division of Adobe is devoted to making updates to their software. How much can a software change in the span of approximately a week that updates need to be installed at such frequency? I assume they have round table conferences where they pick one random characteristic which a certain employeee does not like and churns out an update to fix it. The philosophy if it ain’t broke don’t fix it does not seem to apply with the software industry as in effect it’s a service industry. People feel they get their bang for their buck when they see that the company they paid to buy their software from is still looking after the smooth running of their applications. Well, I paid zero for the Reader so my return rate is infinity and beyond. But the incessant updates tend to irritate me as I do not always have access to a high speed data connection and I do not seem to notice the incremental changes in the software, other than that it hasn’t spontaneously shut down my system yet so whatever they did seems to work.
Another world of software where updates are controlling our life is the Android ecosystem. Apps are initially unstable when in the Beta phase and hence updates are necessary to improve their working and prevent random exits and whatnots. But when the software updates tend to concentrate only on the high powered quad core monsters, it gets on my nerve. Take for example the popular messaging app, Whatsapp. Initially on my tiny relatively fast phone, the app used to run smoothly, with no hanging. But Whatsapp tried to up the ante and converted their interface to the holo theme present in Jellybean. Now it hangs incessantly and random exits are a daily occurance. And the worst part is, no backward compatibilty. I waited to update the app till the following warning popped up :’this version of whatsapp is too old to be compatible with the system, please update’. I know, making different versions for different levels of phones is hard, but is it so hard to maintain backward compatibilty?
What is most detrimental to productivity is the heavy keyboard apps that are available. If the basic keyboard of your phon doesn’t seem to cut it, you will tend to look at third party software like Swiftkey and Swype. But if the keyboard takes so long to load, you are left wondering whether you were better off with the default crap in the first place. And updates once again worsen the situation in most cases.
Hardware is where the game is at, as you have to pay for your new stuff, no piracy zindabad. I know certain people who have a tendency to buy a new phone every year, and then go ‘I still do the same things I did with the old one, albeit better.’ Then will someone explain to me, what is the point? I can understand if someone with a dumb/feature phone upgraded to an S3/4 but a single core to quad core makes no sense if you still do the same things you did with the old one. The apple iphone takes this to a whole new level of retardedness. Their tagline ‘The best iphone yet’ is so apt cause it can’t compete with anything else.
I remember reading this editorial on Engadget. The writer felt compelled to upgrade his iphone 4s to a 5 as he felt embaressed that his lady friends all had the new one, even though he was more technically inclined than them. But since he was more technically inclined, he would have known that the 4s can do everything that the 5 can. Best example of retarded hypocrisy that helped make the iphone sell so well. Don’t get me wrong, the iphone is a good phone, not a great phone, but at that price, any phone you buy will be better than it, hardwarewise (if you get phones that cost so much in the first place). The concept of carrier dependent discounts may seem nice at first as this brings the price of the phone down. But paying somewhere in the region of $300 a year for a plan that you don’t use to the fullest somehow does not entice me.
And finally life, the universe and everything never had any updates. Imagine God, aka the Giant Lizard with the Universe on his disposable tail, sat everyday coding updates and listening to the woes of everyone using his universe app. All the rich people with perfect lives would get more perfect and the poor ones will lose out cause their ‘hardware’ will not be compatible. Oh wait, that’s already happened. Damn you, I should have chopped off that tail when I had a chance. Or we could be part of the universe which sits on the tail which got chopped off. And on that bombshell, we return to our scheduled lives, not.
Ps :Oh xkcd what would I do without you? Keep up the (good/bad/ugly) work. Douglas Adams would have been proud.
Ps 2.0 : if you have an android phone, please install Onliner, the one stop stalker app for all your facebook stalking needs
Ps 3.0 This is my view of the whole update thingy, please leave your views in the comments as i’m trying to get a more secular outlook.