Saturday, April 04, 2009

Updating software

In the previous post, I wrote about my frustrations with Windows and updating the software to fix perceived performance problems. My biggest beef is with the amount of stuff I have to download and how often I have to hit the Update Windows button.

I mentioned that I after I installed SP3 I had to go to the Update Windows page again to get additional updates. Prior to getting to the page for the updates, it had to update the authorization program. (If memory serves me correctly.) Why can't the MS update software download everything all at once and update the system?

On Fedora/RedHat/Ubuntu and many other systems, when it discovers update it downloads them all at once and installs them. I realize that Windows locks certain files and won't allow changes until it reboots, but why doesn't it continue installing the other things that is needed?

Also, why can't I download all of the updates and run them separately while not being connected? (Yes, I know the reason. Control of the software.) I can do that for the above Linux based systems. I can download all of the updates to a DVD and carry them to another machine and have it update the machine.

Fedora makes it even easier. If you have multiple machines on a network, you can have one of those machines act as the repository for updates. This means that when the repository machine is updated, the other machines can pull the updates from there minimizing your network traffic.

This means a lot now that you have providers such as Comcast and Time Warner capping data transfers. Which would you rather spend your bandwidth allotment on watching Hulu or downloading Windows updates to the 1 - X machines in your home? If you have 5 machines in your home and you had to pull down 200MB worth of updates, you just used 1GB of your data allotment.

It's not only Windows, but the latest release of Acrobat from Adobe asked me to install a language pack update that was 19MB when I clicked update. The Acrobat installer also installed Air which I didn't ask for.

Fixing Windows Again

Once again I've spent part of a day working on a Windows PC. The general complaint is that it's slow. I've decided not to wipe it and re-install the software yet, but I probably will if it still seems slow. This time around I'm applying updates for all of the software that is installed. Yes ALL of the software.

Part of the problem is that this computer connects to the Internet via dial up. You can't update the computer with dial up. You can tell windows to download updates. It will do it in the background, but on dial this is slow. So, I brought the machine home and doing the updates from here.

First thing this morning I told it to update and first thing it installed SP3. Yes, I could have taken that with me (I had already downloaded it) but why bother. After updating SP3, it wanted to update 3 other things for Windows which took another 248MB of download. I believe that it was some .Net update.

In addition to the Windows update, I'm updating FireFox, AVG Free, Java, Spy Bot, Flash, Acrobat (you really need to update Acrobat), and OpenOffice. After that I'll run spy bot and defragment the hard drive over night. Hopefully this will help.

There are efforts being made to get some type of broad band connection into the area where this computer lives. It's a small rural farming area that has one dial up provider. Once it's installed I think that I'm going to set up the machine for dual boot and see if I can the users to run Ubuntu.

I can't do that now since the modems they buy are WinModems. There are no drivers for them under Linux. I'd have them buy more expensive modems, but they usually get one per year fried due to surges in the phone line. (Yes a surge protector helps.)

I need to do the same thing for my parents. I've put off putting linux on their computer even though do have high speed. The reason for that is that they've got some programs that only run under windows. I think that I'm going to try it anyway.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Attention all Burglars

Apparently having your village in Google street maps is an invitation for more burglaries. It's ironic that everyone in the world now knows that Broughton in Buckinghamshire is an affluent place that might be a good place rob a home.