I can’t remember when I first started hearing that software should be able to update itself. Probably sometime in the late 1990s or early 2000s, the software industry was paralyzed by security issues, packaged software, and a long upgrade cycle (usually paid). That meant that the friction to update computer systems to respond to bugs or whatever other issues was high. Of course, the Internet changed all that. But is it for the better?
In some ways, sure. I want my computer to be protected from virii and for all the programs I use regularly to continue to work with each other. But in other ways, I think near-continuous upgrading is worse. There’s the tedium of alerts, downloading, updating, passwords, restarts and so forth. And there’s also the distinct possibility that some upcoming change will wreck something I already know, use, and find helpful. As the surface area in tools, programs, and inter-operation of software in a system increases, problems associated with updating are exacerbated.
I recently decided to pull the plug on one of the machines in my musical workflow. Not the power plug, though – the network plug. This machine in question is the one I wrote about using with old samplers in previous posts. The software that interacts with old samplers hasn’t been updated in probably 10 years. Nor will it be. Further, there will come a day that either Windows or some other program will render some facility I rely upon dead.
What do I lose by doing this? Nothing, really. This computer is essentially just a front end for sample editing and transferring. I can get audio in and out of it using its audio interface or card slots. I can take a snapshot of its system disk state and always restore, assuming the hardware continues to work. It’s not that hard. If you use older systems, don’t worry about the upgrade train leaving you behind. Unplug the network and tune out from the constant din of updates, upgrades, and headaches.Posted: October 9th, 2012 | No Comments »