In our previous edition, we discussed the importance of updating the software on your computer. If you missed it, the big conclusion is that updating software can be a huge pain, but it’s a necessary evil in today’s world so you should do it. Caught up? Good.

This week we’re going to look at some software that can make your life simpler for managing those pesky updates—don’t worry Mac fans, you’re covered here as well! We have two programs for Windows users, and two programs for Apple users. Linux users relax, we already have our package managers. We’re good.

Ninite

Ninite is a service that allows you to choose the applications you want to install and then download one program that takes care of the rest. It currently supports almost 100 popular programs such as Firefox, Flash, Java, and VLC Media Player. Not only will it download and install the latest version of the software you choose, but it will even skip the install of those annoying toolbars or other add-ins that typically come bundled with free software. A nice side effect is that if you run the installer again at a later date, it will update the programs to their latest versions.

Secunia Personal Software Inspector

This is a tool that’s geared toward more advanced users. It will scan your system and give you a report on any outdated software it finds, including updates for Windows. If it can’t actually update it for you, it can usually provide the instructions on how to install the most up-to-date version of a program.

Mac App Store

Carried over to computers from the mobile iOS device world, this tool can help Mac users keep track of available updates. For all the programs you have installed via the App Store, this will notify you if an update is available. You can then get the latest update for all of your apps in one click if you want, or go through them on a one-by-one basis.

Bodega

You can kind of think of this as the original App Store for Apple computers. You install the Bodega software, and then you can install programs and updates all within the one program. The distinction between this and the Mac App Store is that users have significantly more program availability, as nothing available here has to be subjected to Apple’s approval.

Updating doesn’t have to take up all your time, just try and get into a routine. Say every Sunday you sit down and install the latest updates—if you’re using the programs discussed, it will only take a few minutes. Then you’re free to do whatever it is university students do on a Sunday.


This article first appeared in Memorial University’s student newspaper: The Muse http://themuse.ca/2012/10/10/col-tech-bytes-2/

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