Column: Now I know why they call it the Apocalypse Edition
PC games are buggy, and console games just work right out of the box – that’s at least the stigma that console gamers place on the PC. The truth is that PC gaming is miles ahead of the consoles, but I do have to admit that that there are grains of truth to the stigma.
The long development of Firefox has left many a crashed browser in its wake. But a recent study undertaken by the Mozilla Metrics team shows that the relatively new Firefox 3.6 is much more stable than Firefox 3.5. As each release matures, the rate of crashes goes down with each update. Version 3.6 has already surpassed 3.5 in overall stability, having gotten about 40% more stable since release.
Another interesting statistic uncovered by the study was that Firefox 3.5 started out significantly less stable than version 3.0. Firefox product lead Mike Beltzner explained that the cause was 3rd party applications. The 3.0 build was what took Firefox into the mainstream and developers began building on top of it in larger numbers. When the code was altered in version 3.5, many API calls that worked fine before caused crashes.
Whatever the cause, we're certainly happy to see Firefox improving over time. Now that we've got these numbers, you've got another reason to update if you're still on 3.5.
It hasn’t been a good week for Microsoft’s updates to Office. Today, Microsoft came clean on some problems with a recently released seven-patch update for Excel. Apparently, users are seeing Chinese where they’d normally expect to see English. This comes on top of an early faux pas in an update for Office 2007 that caused it to crash under certain circumstances.
Says Microsoft about the most recent snafu: “We have received reports from some of our Excel 2003 and Excel 2002 customers that after installing update KB978471 or KB978474, they are seeing non-English text in the 'Add or Remove Programs' tool (Win[dows] XP) or the 'Programs and Features' --> 'Installed Updates' view (Vista, Win[dows] 7).” Continuing on, Microsoft says if you really need English text uninstall Tuesday’s Excel update, then download and install a corrected version of the patch.
The earlier problem, acknowledged by Microsoft yesterday, involved a non-security hotfix that added support for .Net 4.0 to Office 2007. This caused versions of Office 2007 running on Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2008 with Terminal Services to crash. Some users also claimed the update would cause Internet Explorer 8 to crash, when being used with SharePoint 2007. Microsoft has already replaced the offending update with a corrected version.