Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Application Updates

I have too many applications. Some of them because I like to test or play with them and if they're affordable I'll buy them to use for awhile and decide which are long term ones to use and which are ones to just park. I realize all applications companies have trial periods, usually 2 weeks to a month, but I often take longer to evaluate them.

Also, I'll find another application which is better or I like more and will park the other one for occasional use. What this means is that I collect them, some of which overlap in use, functions, tools, etc. and keeping them updated can be time consuming, or was until MacUpdate created its Website to track and display them. That helps a lot but still you have to scroll through the list of the daily updates.

Well, they offer a subscription service and a desktop application for doing just that, tracking updates for your applications, all for $20 per years. Easy and affordable? Well, maybe the latter. The former, however took awhile to set up as it scans all your applications (in the applications folder(s)) and wants to check all of them. And that's when the work begins.

First, they're good enough to put an apple symbol of those purchased and updated through the Apple store, but some companies offer the applications there and their Website so you have to check which of yours is updated where. You can use the list of purchased applications in the App Store.

Second, though, you have to consider other ways you get automatic update notices. For this both Apple, both OS-X and Apple applications and the App store, and Adobe do this for you with their updater. Apple has the menu option, the App store its update tool and Adobe has it with their applications, but not all, such as Flash variations, but most and you can check their Web page for which verifies which version of Flash is installed.

So that means you have skip Apple, Apple's App Store, and Adobe. After that you have to skip any previouse versions you keep but isn't updated anymore as it was upgraded, eg. Adobe Creative Suite 3 and 4 applications, Lightroom 2 and 3, etc. And you have to skip applications you stopped upgraded because you didn't want to buy the upgrade for the future updates.

For me it's application I didn't use very much and didn't want to pay the company for the upgrade. I just never got around to removing these applications (AppDelete is a good application for that if you're interested), but sometimes I do upgrade and often the upgrade looks for previous versions in the installation (eg. Adobe), so keep out of date applications isn't such a bad idea.

Overall, though, I give this application a decent mark. It takes work to setup, and once done, you still have to use the information with discretion as I've often found their information on Adobe updates to be wrong and they often show Apple App store updates days to a week or more before the App store has them available.

I mostly use them for that what they do best, inform. I don't use their automatic or manual updater, but use the applications or the application's Website to download and install the update. But for what it does for me, it's worth the subscription. On the other hand, I tried Tri-Edre's CheckUpdates application, and in a few words, save your money.

It has some good features but the drawbacks and work are not worth the effort or the price. It scans your applications folder, but only displays predefined groups of applications, theirs and one other company. You have to add all the individual ones you want it to check, but it's the process to add them that makes their application too much work. You can use the applications faster and easier than their application.

That's because you literally have to tell the application where to find the latest version, which means where on what Web page, and where to download it, which many applications don't have a Web page but use the applications itself. They offer search tools, but I couldn't get any application to work in the list, but then I suspect I'm missing something in the understanding or process.

Anyway, it's not worth the money in my view if you have to add all the applications individually. That's a great feature once done but it's a huge amount of work and you have to monitor changes to those two URL's. It's one neat feature is a menu bar indicator. That I like. I'll play some more with it and maybe change my view somewhat, but for now, no. Now if MacUpdater had this feature.

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