One weekend, four upgrades

18Oct11

I found myself upgrading a bunch of stuff over the last weekend, which gave me cause to reflect on what was good, and what was not so good.

Android

First up was my ZTE Blade, which I’ve had running Cyanogen Mod. I wasn’t super impressed with version 7.0. There were few things that it did better than the modified Froyo build I’d previously had, and a few things didn’t work – like the FM Radio. Version 7.1 promised to fix that. The FAQ told me to use ROM Manager to do the upgrade, so I did. The whole process took place over the air, and after waiting for everything to download and install my phone was just better – all my apps and data were still there.

Ubuntu

Next was Ubuntu. I downloaded the server build of 11.10 (using BitTorrent as usual), but I already had a VM that I’d built with Alpha 3. A simple ‘apt-get dist-upgrade’ was all that was needed.

iOS5

This is where it got messy. I’d waited a few days until the load came off Apple’s infrastructure, having read the tweets about all the issues folk were having. It seemed like the main problem was simply getting the upgrade – how wrong I was about that.

First there was the obligatory iTunes update before I could get started, and the OS restart that went along with that – inconvenient, but not the end of the world.

I depend on my iPhone more than my iPad, so the iPad went first. Things did not go well. The upgrade process hung and/or failed in inexplicable ways at a number of stages. In the end I lost all of my videos (in the AVPlayer HD app) and all of my music (settings just seemed to disappear from iTunes), a bunch of extraneous apps from my iPhone also got installed. Luckily the rest of my data/settings seemed to survive, but it was a messy experience. I chose not to use iCloud.

The subsequent iPhone upgrade went a little better, but was also turbulent experience. Why is it that Apple needs to effectively backup and restore all my apps and data, and wipe the machine in between, rather than just patch up the OS in place? Clearly lots of lessons to be learned here from the OSS community.

Kindle

I upgraded my Kindle (from 3.1 to 3.3) whilst sorting out the iOS mess. It was a rawer experience than the Android or Linux updates, but very simple – download the new firmware, copy it over, invoke the update.

Conclusion

The Android upgrade experience was super impressive – everything that’s been promised with iCloud (but that we will wait for the next iOS update for to see if it’s for real). The Cyanogen Mod guys are really showing the world how it should be done – Google (and the handset makers) should have baked this in from the start, but it’s good to see a project bridging the gap. I was also impressed by Ubuntu – as I’ve become too accustomed to having to start afresh whenever I’ve used an alpha or beta version.  Upgrading the Kindle was painless, but I’ve not really noticed anything new or improved. My iPhone doesn’t seem any better either, but it was a fight getting it there. Thankfully I do notice the better Safari on the iOS5 iPad, but it’s hard to say that it was worth the grief.



One Response to “One weekend, four upgrades”

  1. 1 Nicholas Hargreaves

    Updated to Windows 7.5 Mango. Went fine on one phone, but had to resort to boot recovery option on the other – but since that’s been dropped inumerable times and has other issues, I might not be too concerned. Now Windows 7.5 on the Samsung Focus supports Internet Sharing via WiFi. Unfortunately, it seems way harder to hack than Windows 6.1, and at least needs a App Hub account ($99) to start to unlock it. That’s annoying.

    It will be intersting to see how the Android upgrade experience works in general over time. It’s possible that Apple and Microsoft with more closed systems may have an advantage, although your experience doesn’t seem to reflect that.


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