Change management…

There’s an amazing thing I’ve just discovered after installing an SSD in my laptop: Microsoft Office products now start up at a reasonable speed!

I’ve only just realised that, because I open them so rarely. (It’s one of the joys of working for myself that I can largely pick the tools I use.) In fact, I realise, I probably download updates for Office components more frequently than I actually use them.

That’s an interesting phenomenon; there ought to be a word for it. I’m probably unusual in having Microsoft Word work that way, but there are many of my lesser-used iOS apps that will be updated several times between successive actual executions of their code.

This is a real cultural shift from a world where big corporations would debate for months before rolling out an update to a program. On the web, we’ve grown used to the idea that a piece of software might not look quite the same the next time you log into it. But it’s now true of many apps in my pocket: something will have changed in an app before I run it again. I could quite easily pull my phone out one day and discover that last night’s update had broken something and I could no longer access the boarding pass I need for that plane…

I guess it’s a tribute to progress in software development, or perhaps to the Apple software-approval process (a real pain for developers but in many ways a boon to customers) that this so rarely happens.


It may be rare to have something completely broken, but unwelcome “improvements” happen all too often (yes, I’m glaring at you, National Rail).

You are not alone in experiencing the strange realisation that MS Office Auto Update runs more frequently than your use of the apps it is updating. I would go with Douglas Adams, in suggesting that this is a phenomenon that has yet to be given a word. His Meaning of Liff is priceless. Personally, I refer to this as a Garlogie, or if the auto-update is updating itself, I call it a Dunecht.

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© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser