— 10:46 AM on April 24, 2009

Hey all. We're gearing up for the podcast recording session this morning. It's been a few weeks, so I hope we don't talk for four hours. May have to ask Jordan to cut us off.

So I was working on an old ThinkPad here recently, which my wife uses sometimes, and I thought I would grab the latest round of software updates for it, since it had been quite a while. On a ThinkPad, of course, running updates has always been a simple matter of pressing the blue ThinkVantage button and letting the ThinkVantage updater do its thing.

I was shocked to find out that Lenovo had recently discontinued this update service. Never occurred to me that they would do something that would so obviously ruin one of the distinguishing characteristics of a ThinkPad. Especially because they offer so much custom software for various ThinkPad functions, and all of those little apps and drivers receive updates from time to time.

Not counting Windows updates (which are of course automated), I grabbed no fewer than 36 updates (along with 36 readme.txt files) from Lenovo's website manually last night that I may or may not have or need, depending on whether they're already installed (hard to say without checking the versions on each and every one individually before installation, since this process is no longer auto-managed). I figure installing each and every one, while manually dealing with quirks and rebooting after each installation, could easily chew up the better part of an 8-hour work day.

Now, this laptop may or may not need all of those updates, but wow. Having so much custom software and getting the rug pulled out from under you on auto-updates is not good. Seems like Lenovo may have finally made the move that takes the sheen off of IBM's old ThinkPad business.

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