Friday, December 11, 2015

Keeping up with the Software

I suppose stepping back when I normally divide computer users, and these days that's just about everybody on the planet, it is into 2 software update categories

a) So I need to update software on my computer?

b) Everybody else

In 2015 and beyond nearly every Electronics Gadget we own will contain a running computer with low level firmware, and an  Operating System.  Both of which require periodic updates if only to provide enhancements to prevent hackers invading your computer.

A sidetrack

It's been a horrible week of Electronic recovery, in that the recent theft of our Smartphones and some subsequent worrying email messages asking for password resets (uh oh), have had us scrambling to recheck our individual Digital Security and also check and re-check our Computer Security.

But my System is Rock Solid and Perfect

You can always take the luddite, "but my system is rock solid and I never have any errors" attitude to conclude that you don't need any system updates

But did a little deeper and you may find that it's just your lack of understanding and inspection on the Windows platform

And just for Apple "My system never has any errors" users. Please open the Console application and check your system logs and Diagnostic and Usage Message repositories :-)

Yes, and to the Linux users.  Wipe that smug smile from your face too.  You get errors.

This post deals with Our Computer Updates

As Computer professionals Agata and Marcus do of course have a duty of care to keep their computers protected and current.

I'll make a separate Digital Security review next week when we have reviewed and tried to self penetrate our Smartphone, and Cloud, and Backup strategies.  For now,

back to the review of Operating System Level Updates

 I have an IBM DB2 Server sitting upon a Virtualised Windows 8 platform.  I update it manually and infrequently. (oh the shame).

Apple OSX updates are only applied manually, but personally I don't every update without a prior full and successful system backup using Carbon Copy Cloner.

 Chrome browser update is not automated, and so more than daily I goto the About Window and update.   Chrome Canary x64 starts to act badly in many cases and updates and then a Chrome restart are the quickest way to resolve issues IMHO

 AVG virus scanner auto updates but now and then tries to trick encourage you into upgrading to a newer and more costly release.  Be careful how you click

mintupdate on our Linux Mint 17 system always has a lot to do, but then packages change frequently in the cutting edge Linux world

 My Apple music player firmware changes less than 1 time per year because Apple forgot about iPods in favour of iPhones some years ago. It is so sad!

 Firefox automatically installs before each startup.  Wonderful.

The latest Internet TV box here in Switzerland has just removed the Software Update menu.  I guess we have to trust that it's at the latest level then.

 Microsoft's step counter has a Desktop application and a device firmware level to update.  Both are manual.

Windows Defender is an automated update, and it does so daily.

Since my normal Smartphone runs a beta release of Android 6.0.1 it is updated once per day.  Like clockwork, by Marcus manually.  

Centos 7x64 server doesn't have that many updates, well unless you did not update it for a while.  All done now :-)

Well I presume the Garmin watch is current?

Summary: Overall Methodology

- As time allows we aim to keep all physical and virtual computers 100% uptodate

- Wherever possible automatic updates are used

- Updates should also go hand in hand with automated virus and malware scans.  But since these are time consuming we limit full scans to between weekly and monthly

- Updates theoretically should not proceed unless you make a full backup first.  But even for us, the IT couple, we don't always adhere to this principle!  But most people never OS level backup at all, so at least we're one step ahead of never.

And now, A funny story

Most IT (Information Technology) people or even ex IT people are known to be insomniacs.   But I recently found that Microsoft Windows was at least partially responsible for Marcus's poor sleep (as documented by my Garmin Smartwatch

One morning at 02.00 in the morning my geriatric  (well 2009  genre)  PC, switched on, booted up, downloaded and applied some software updates and then shut down.

I was pretty gobsmacked ...

 Eventually I found this guilty setting

powercfg /waketimers

(This example from my virtualised IBM DB2 Server)

I have now reset it to a more respectable hour of 19.00  on physical platforms i.e. those which are able to start physical machines and wake me up!