Keeping up with the Jonses

I don't know if I'm "special" in a shortbus kind of way, or if most tech people are like this, but I'm obsessed with keeping up to date on the latest versions of my software. Clearly with the success of sites like MacUpdate and VersionTracker I'm not entirely alone.

But keeping up always has it's costs. Today, thanks to the truly awesome Sparkle module that all the cool mac kids are using these days, Adium prompted me to download and install an update. Easy peasy, and I'm running 1.0.3. Which crashes. And crashes. And crashes again. And crashes. Waste 20 min online, find there's a bug, and downgrade. But ick.

I'm also running these days, and using a Nike Plus which I love (look for a post on it shortly). Yesterday, after a nice 5K run, I plug it in and iTunes offers to upgrade the device. Of course, I say yes. And somehow it loses my 5K run. It's on some screens on Nike's site, but not others. Grrr.

Finally Steve pointed to an interesting blog from Illuminata: on outdated virtual appliances. The beauty and attraction of a virtual appliance is the "just works" aspect. But what happens when "just works" means also up-to-date. As the above examples show, it's a real challenge. But frankly it's a challenge that is eminitly resolvable. One way: provide tools to easily roll the appliance, and have the project maintainer keep their own appliance (thanks rPath!) Another might be to provide auto-updating functionality as part of the core appliance platform, along the lines of what Sun Connection offers. Or maybe we just need sparkle for appliances. Regardless, this is going to be fun!

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