The USS Quad Damage

The convenience of auto-updating

I logged into Windows (XP) today, which is no longer a common occurrence, since Linux is now my main desktop. My windows install is pretty minimal, with just enough so I can watch videos (codec packs), listen to music (winamp), play games, and do anything else that there's no linux equivalent for.

I've got Windows Update turned straight off, for this very reason. I really can't be bothered updating something. If a game needs a newer version of Windows, I'll usually un-install the game. Updating takes a long time and is an incredible hassle considering you don't usually want the benefits, and definitely don't want the new slew of problems to deal with. It's unfortunate that Windows update is enabled by default, but I realised that it's a blessing that you can disable it at all.

So as I was saying, I logged into XP, and the first thing I see is the little java icon with a "you need to update java" message. This is a source of constant annoyance, and you can't get java to stop checking this stuff. The message will hassle you every time you log in until you finally give in and download the new version. Even then, the message will come up in another week saying yet another update is available. The download sizes for these updates are ridiculous (~100 Megs) for something you don't use directly. Worse, new versions are installed alongside older versions, so it quickly leeches hard disk space.

I thought that was the worst possible behaviour you could have, but I started up motorola mobile tools (motorola's proprietary thingy to connect to the mobile phone I have) and it pretty much insisted that I got the new version. It waited until I actually wanted to use the program before it insisted on me getting the new version. I thought "it's OK, it's pretty much completely automated, and it's only a meg. I'll do something else while it's downloading".

So I started up Adobe Acrobat reader. It checked for updates and installed them without so much as popping up an "you WILL update" dialog box. In the middle of my reading it said "update complete, please restart." Great, so not only will these things annoy me when I log in, not only will they annoy me when I start up a program I want to use, but in the middle of me using it, they'll pop up a "Well, I'm done here, see ya later!"

Didn't matter so much, the mobile phone tools had updated. It insisted on updating again. See, version 3.2 realised that 3.3 was available, and 3.3 realised that 4.0 was available. Why 3.2 couldn't just look for the newest version is beyond me. The 4.0 version was 50 Megs, so I thought I'd write this.