Usually, I’m an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of guy. But there are certain programs on everyone’s system–such as Web browsers–that can amass troublesome security flaws if they’re not updated. That’s where Ketarin–a tiny app that monitors download sites for updates and downloads them for you en masse–comes in. Don’t most applications do this on their own? Yes, but at least in my case, I almost always disable the option or background application that performs the task. This makes for a faster PC. It also means that I know any update messages are fakes like the Adobe-mimicking attack I ran into just a few days ago.
Ketarin proved a handy little bugger. The first time you run it, just define the applications you want to keep updated. Afterwards and for the near future, you can gather all the latest versions of them by simply clicking Update. When I realized Ketarin would extract the file IDs from pasted-in FileHippo URLs automatically, I really started to appreciate the utility. Defining the proper page on other sites can be trickier and sometimes involves setting search variables. There’s a tutorial with examples on vendor Canneverbe’s site to help you with this, but it’s still not easy.
My only usage caveat is that you might want to tell it to leave older versions intact, rather than Ketarin’s default behavior of removing older versions. You never know when a new version of something will be flawed; all programmers have bad days. I also noted one possible bug: exporting all download definitions to XML didn’t seem to work, though I was able to select all the definitions and use the Export selected function to accomplish the same thing.
Ketarin is almost portable (it requires .NET): simply unzip the program file to wherever you want it and run it from that location. Of course this means you’ll need to create your own desktop icon, but to me it’s worth it. I’ll be using it to keep my portable apps and my repair tools up to date.
–Jon L. Jacobi