In the trade it’s known as Patch Tuesday, the monthly adventure with Microsoft when they release the ‘Updates and Upgrades’ to their flagship Windows operating system.

Once again we were not disapointed, Microsoft managed to release 11 fixes, 6 of which were flagged as ‘critical’. A critical flag generaly means that someone has unleashed a computer virus over the internet, and it’s ‘gonna get ya’ unless you upgrade your copy of Windows.

It is good that our friends in Redmond issue these regular upgrades and fixes. It should make us all much happier and confident in our ‘day to day’ use of computers.

Of course you could ask the question… why?

The simple answer is that programmers make errors, and no matter how well you test a program, some errors will make it to ‘Prime Time’.

There have been no end of studies on the subject, and most people seem to agree that NASA is the King of fewest errors. Generally the test of a program is ‘number of errors per 1000 lines of source code’. For those of you that are not computer geeks, source code is the almost english language that programmers use to create programs.

NASA claims the prize with 3 errors per 1000 lines, Microsoft does not score so well with 50 errors per 1000 lines.

Microsofts goals are obviously very different from what NASA is doing. But it is clear that Microsoft could learn much from the quality control standards that NASA maintain.

If our friends in Redmond spent more time time on quality, and less time on piracy (oh and maybe lowered their prices), life would be good!

Simon Barrett

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