One of the problems with Mozilla’s plan to hide Firefox version numbers is that the replacement of “You’re running the latest version” only succeeds if people have confidence that the check is working. Speaking for myself, the last time I checked About:Firefox, I was convinced that it was broken until I verified that the update I was expecting was Mac-only, which was why it wasn’t showing up on Windows.
The biggest, of course, is breaking deeply ingrained user expectations (where to find the version number) for no real discernible benefit.
My calendar lists last Tuesday as “Election Patch Day.” (We had a state primary election, which fell on Microsoft’s second-Tuesday-of-the month schedule for releasing software updates.)
I guess you could consider elections to be patches keeping the government up to date.
Edit: On the other hand, there are usually two or more competing “patches” that disagree on how to fix the problems, and even what needs to be fixed.
It’s a safe bet that your web browser uses at least one plugin, and probably several. Maybe it’s just Flash for viewing animations and video (think YouTube and Hulu). Maybe it’s Silverlight for watching Netflix, or Shockwave for playing games. You’ve probably got Java installed.
Just like your web browser, these plugins must be kept up to date or you’ll run into problems: missing features, instability, or (worst case) security vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, most plugins don’t update themselves.
Several months ago, Mozilla introduced a service called Plugin Check that will identify the plugins you have installed and tell you whether they need to be updated — and how to do it. At first it only worked on Firefox, but now it’s been expanded to all major browsers: Chrome, Safari, Opera, and even Internet Explorer.
It’s worth taking a few moments to check. Think of it as a pit stop for your computer’s web browser.