As a child I had two ambitions: to buy and eat the entire contents of a chocolate vending machine, and to make it into the Guinness Book of Records. Ambition one has been long-since fulfilled (many times), but the closest I'll ever get to Norris McWhirter is reporting on Microsoft's increasingly spectacular software updates.
Microsoft releases updates for its major products on the second Tuesday of every month: Patch Tuesday. In February, this comprised 26 software patches, including a record-equalling (and unlucky for some) 13 security fixes - five of them marked 'critical'.
(For the record, the biggest number of updates ever was 34, in October 2009. Good times.)
That Windows and Office require such regular TLC is often used as a stick with which to beat Microsoft. Sheer volume of updates shows that MS products are buggy at best, shoddy at worst. So the theory goes.
The occasional slipping in of 'updates' such as Windows Genuine Advantage (of advantage only to Microsoft), doesn't help to banish this perception. But you can view Microsoft's rampant updating more kindly: it's free, and it's a lifecycle guarantee.
After all, what we deem 'flaws' would be nothing of the sort without criminals constantly probing. You can't criticise the glazer if a thug kicks in your window. And if you hide all your valuables behind said pane, you can blame only yourself (and the crook).
Bill Gates and Microsoft are at least partially responsible for the idea of paying for software. And feel free to hurl abuse at Microsoft for a snail-like response when the cybercrime threat first reared its head. But credit where it's due: Microsoft also invented the idea of the vendor remaining responsible for the user's safety while a product is live.
The constant drone of 'update, patch, reboot' speaks of software products never quite finished, and very far from perfect. But we knew that. At least Microsoft takes responsibility for clearing up the mess it causes. And if that means we all plug into the MS machine once a month, so be it.
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