POLL: Software Updates – lemming or chicken?

I am what is know as an early adopter – a suicidal lemming* hell-bent of playing with the latest and greatest regardless of the consequences (unless it’s a WordPress update or plugin of course). Casting caution to the wind, I’ll happily install landmark dot zero release of just about anything and keep everything crossed that I come out the other side unscathed. Such a time approaches, as Apple are due to uncage Mountain Lion aka OS X v10.8 to a very suspecting but nonetheless nervous world.

Before doing anything, you must ask yourself if you really REALLY need to do this upgrade. After much tweaking and fine-tuning of your laptop, are you completely prepared for your DJ world to be turned upside down? Yes, you might have all the coolness that the new shiny OS begs you to covet, but if your favourite DJ software borks at launch and trashes your music collection, you need some way of getting back to the previously safe world of flawless performance.

So the first step is to back up. Speaking Mac specifically here (and it would seem that Mac users outrank other users 2:1 around here), if you’re not using Time Machine, then you’re quite insane, and should buy an external drive today and run it right away. I have it as an insurance policy – have never needed to use it to get anything back, but if you screw anything up, be it losing a finely honed music library or totalling your entire HD, Time Machine will stop the wailing and sobbing. So stop reading, and run Time Machine right now to an external drive. Skip the back up at your own peril. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Handy hint – before running the back up for the first time, go to Spotlight prefs and under privacy, exclude the backup drive. This stops Spotlight indexing every file as it adds it to the backup and will speed it up 10 fold.

This is the Apple recommended upgrade method, but in a nutshell:

• Check that your Mac is capable of running 10.8.
• Check that you’re running 10.6 or 10.7 (for Mac App Store compatibility)
• Go to app store, buy and install.

After this it’ll be a simple matter of installing the doubtless slew of other updates that will pop up on the days after the release.

I’m ready – just need Apple to make it available, and I’m jumping headlong into the abyss of broken apps and non-working hardware. Yes, I’m that crazy. A story will doubtlessly follow about just how much time developers have had to get their various offerings sorted, yet we DJs are forced to wait to sample all that Apple has to offer. All being well, I and many others will survive the swim to the other side (a rather more factual lemming reference there).

Alternatively and rather more sanely, you could wait and read every Apple and DJ blog you can to see just how successful/catastrophic the update has been. This is the logical and sensible approach, especially if your livelihood is derived from DJing. Reckless knobs like me will be only too happy to share our experiences and disaster recovery tips with all and sundry. But all being well, and if you’ve followed my advice, normality is just a Time Machine restore away.

So when it comes to the wider issue of software upgrades in general, which are you – the early adopting brave adventurer taking a bullet for the collective DJ team? Or are you a much more measured type, who will watch from the sidelines and upgrade when it seems safe and sensible to do so? It boils down to this – are you a lemming or a chicken?


*Yes I know the whole lemming/suicide thing is a popular myth, but trying to imagine the factual and well documented suicidal spawned Salmon using a Mac is just silly.

  • Jared Helfer

    I’ll update my DJ software without thought, for better or worse. I’ll always have the previous installers floating around, and will roll back if something is terribly wrong, but my OS is static. Windows, of course, doesn’t run as many large format upgrades. The small little updates are done almost automatically within reason. But upgrading from Windows 7 to 8 is going to be a long wait time, and I may even lose out on a cheap upgrade. 🙁 But the last thing I need is none of my stuff to work.

  • Choice of lemmings is oddly appropriate….

    After reading your comment I checked into the suicide myth, and apparently a lot of the blame falls to a Disney film called White Wilderness which showed lemmings “leaping off a cliff”.

    They were actually “launched off using a turntable” :-/

  • Mark, you forgot to mention dual booting. IMO it’s the best way to go these type of toe dipping situations (if you have the disk space). Totally saved me from the evil that is, er, was Vista. That’s not to say, though, that people shouldn’t have a good backup regiment. Especially if it comes to something you do for a livelihood.

    • I’d class the dual boot as the test machine scenario.

  • Dj Stu-C

    im not really going to have a choice.. as of next teusday ill be using my well earned overtime money to buy a new ssd hard drive and 4gb of extra ram for my 2010 macbook pro, ill be doing a clean install of mountain lion from boot disk so my music will have to be re added, re analysed in serato, all my cue points, saved loops, saved cue point tags will have to be redone. i cant wait lol, seriously though i want all the crap removing from my laptop and feel this is the best way to do it. also a brand new hard drive may aswell feel like the computer is brand new with new OS, starting from scratch, oh and i have to load windows onto a partition on top of all that, a few busy nights ahead

  • MouseAT

    I’m a mobile DJ, so I can’t really afford to take chances when I’ve got gigs coming up. If what I’m using works, I’m not going to rock the boat at the last minute.

    When it comes to Serato Scratch Live updates, I’ll occasionally upgrade, but only when I’ve had chance to install the new version on a laptop, play with it for a few days and have convinced myself that it’s stable. At least with Serato Scratch Live I can roll back easily if there’s a problem.

    When it comes to operating system upgrades on my gig machines, I won’t do it until Serato say that they support SSL on the new OS. With Lion, it took a while and a patch or two before they officially confirmed that Lion was a supported platform for SSL. At that point, I’ll probably upgrade (after running a Time Machine backup of course) and give the new OS a go, assuming I don’t have any gigs at that point. Again, I need to hammer on the software at home before I take the laptops on the road – I just can’t afford to have software crash on me at a gig.

  • drbecker

    Just got the following information from Pioneer concerning Rekordbox and OS X 10.8:

    Dear rekordbox users:
    We have received reports of issues with rekordbox after users update Mac OS X to Mountain Lion(10.8).
    Pioneer is working on an update to address these issues, which we will release on our support site (pioneerdj.com/support) after the update is finalized.
    Thank you for your support.