Tag Archives: Software

Better but Broken

Working with application development – either on the web, on the desktop or any other place – is often quite interesting. When making new releases features are added, changed – or in rare cases removed.

As a developer – or “software product manager” – it must be an interesting challenge to keep up with the users and the market to capture the features and changes to a product, which will make it better from release to release.

There are probably many ways to try to keep up – by doing research and by listening to user feedback seems to be two obvious choices, but I’m sure, there are many others. Some, I’m sure is also just a gut feeling of what might be cool new features. If you’re good – and now the users, the market and the competitors, you’re making steady progress.

Yet sometimes you miss. The slow adoption rate of Microsoft Vista might be a sign of a very public miss.

It doesn’t have to be a big miss, to chase a user away.

picture-1This weekend it happened to one of my favorite iPod Touch games – Tap Defense was upgraded to version 2.0 – and while most of the updates probably are great, there’s one little detail, which probably ensured I’ll rarely play it again (unless I find a way to fix it).

I used to play Tap Defense a lot while listening to Audiobooks and Podcasts. The new version has been updated with sound effects and music – and now the podcast or audiobook goes away (pauses) when the game is launched.

I’m sure TapJoy, developers of the Tap Defense game, are proud of their new sounds, but if I need to choose between the game and my listening to podcasts, the game looses. Please bring the ability to keep listening to what every the iPod plays, back in version 2.1.

Keeping the software current Windows

Modern computers contains al lot of software. A fully updated fresh windows installation contains well over 50.000 files – and before it being “usable” with the most common applications, plugins, addons and extensions for the software you use on a daily basis, you’ve probably added so much more, that you’ve completely lost count of what’s been installed.

It’s a pretty bad situation in terms of security and software maintenance/updating.

WindowsUpdate has come part of the way. It’s easy and simple for even common users to use and stay fairly current with the core windows system, but it only covers a small piece of the puzzle. While most windows machines I’ve encountered seem to have Office installed, WindowsUpdate doesn’t cover it – OfficeUpdate does, but how many people know of that? – and run it on a regular basis?

Some software (a lot it seems) have build-in phone-home functions, which allow them to check for updates on a regular basis – if it’s available and you have enabled the checks, another piece is solved.

Wouldn’t a one-stop solution seem much nicer?

Well it seems Secunia has come very close to providing just that with the Secuina PSI.
The PSI – Personal Software Inspector – is a little scanner, which scans your hard drive for installed software (windows, office, drivers, applications, utilities) and checks it against a database with software versions and security issues in the various versions. If it finds issues, it describes the issue and provide links to where updates for the software can be found.

I’ve played a with it while migrating one of the Windows Machines at home to new hardware, and so far it’s been quite impressive. Give it a try – it’s available for personal use  from Secunias website.

kUbuntu 7.10

kUbuntu logoJust a few days before leaving for South Africa, the latest version af Ubuntu was released. I really didn’t have the nerve to try and upgrade before my vacation, but today was the day.

Ubuntu is an operating system – like windows – but based upon (Debian) Linux. It can probably do everything you need – and it’s free. With the packaging done to Linux by the Ubuntu team(s), it’s a complete user-friendly and easy to use alternative for most computer users, and it has worked pretty well for me for the quite some time.

The upgrade

While it probably is possible to do a distribution upgrade, I’ve been reinstalling from scratch when upgrading. It usually just requires all the contents of my home-directory (and a few select configuration files from the /etc/ directory) to be zip’ed together in an archive. The archive is temporaryly store don a USB disk (about 600 Mb in total), while the harddisk was completely wiped and formatted.

The entire install process was the smoothest experience I’ve witnessed so far, and to less than 30 minutes. The packed homedir was unziped in a directory on the desktop, and the files and directories I know I needed was moved to the location they were placed in before the reinstall.

The software updater was run and within an hour the machine was running the new version. So far it’s been an impressive upgrade. Screen drivers, printers and just about everything work. Amazing.

Switch – Fedora to KUbuntu

So I may be slightly atypical. 18 months ago I decided to drop Windows. For a while I’ve been running OSX at home, but since it required new hardware at work, it wasn’t an option there. So I switched to Fedora (our Linux God at work was runing it, and it always nice with an expert around to save the day 🙂 ). Friday however I switch to KUbuntu and unassisted.
Continue reading Switch – Fedora to KUbuntu