Turn “auto-update” off

A long time ago, I remember buying a router that I placed in the basement, put on auto-update and forgot about except for rebooting once in a while. After a few years, the router stopped working with no hardware issues. A hard reset didn’t help. The device was out of warranty, and the manufacturer didn’t acknowledge problems with their software.

Since I have a lot of experience working for big and small hi-tech companies, I think I know what happened in that case. The core team shipped their first firmware version when the initial product was released. After some time, patches and bug fixes were given to another not-so-important team with mediocre and cheaper engineers, who successfully turned a functioning product into a dead device both prompting me to buy another router and saving the company money in their salaries.

Software updates have usually nothing to do with stuff you care about. Half of the time, there are updates to fix things that were broken by previous updates and the other half are specific requests addressing the needs of big corporate clients.

If you are an experienced system administrator working with large scale systems, you know first-hand that every update will break something for somebody that used to work the way they liked. Upgrading software is a constant trade-off of fixing and breaking things providing you with job security.

For personal devices, none of that matters. Unless you’re experiencing a specific issue that’s listed as “fixed” in the next update, don’t fall for it.

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