Usually, when something seems too good to be true, it usually is. There are usually strings attached or it is some kind of bait and switch. So, for months I deferred upgrading my computer's operating system to the decadal version on offer for free from those ladies and gents in Seattle. It just seemed that the alleged monitoring by the corporate entity that touts the OS and the advertising network that would be installed alongside the new music, video, web browsing, cloud storage, voice command recognition and other bells and whistles would be simply too much to bear for a privacy advocate and paranoia-frazzled neurotic.

But, when I spotted and shared a tiny app that would block the increasingly urgent nudges to update the OS, I was quite surprised by the response on social media of friends and contacts, particularly those in the information and communication technology industry. They urged me urgently to upgrade from my old OS to the new one before the July deadline after which it will no longer be free for anyone to do so. While anti-malware and anti-virus programs and hard and soft firewalls are all well and good, there is really nothing worse for your security than running an out of date and putatively unpatched operating system. One contact went so far as to allude to the possible problems one might encounter: "inevitable damage will occur when your internet-connected, ancient and unsupported machine gets violated and your information stolen by the limitless supply of scumbags who populate the internet." So, that…

Incidentally, there are options, when upgrading, to disable the seeminglyoverwhelming number of callbacks to Redmond that taking your system to a size 10 might otherwise carry out. That said, there was no option to disable any callbacks to Langley, Moscow, Beijing, nor Cheltenham.

Anyway, by way of an excuse as to why my first of the month Materials Today comment has been slightly delayed - over-indulgence on chocolate eggs and the bitter-sweet event this week of our first-born leaving home notwithstanding - I spent this morning accepting that OS nudge and opening the gates to allow my OS manufacturer in and so had little time after dogwalking to source a tale of materials and get my copy written, edited and filed with my colleagues in Oxford.

I have for many years through my personal tech website - - urged readers to ensure that they keep their software up to date, that they keep on top of their privacy settings in their social media accounts, that they disconnect apps they don't use and that they avoid certain products that seem to be repeatedly the subject of zero-day malware attacks. As such, it did feel hypocritical not to upgrade to the latest, most secure version of my OS. And, by the way, no, I didn't want to switch to a computer named after a fruit, whether that is Malus domestica or Rubus idaeus, and I've tried various versions of that OS with the Scandinavian origins and the African sounding sub-versions, and not got on with those either. So, I'm sticking with Redmond and I strongly suspect that I'm preaching either to the converted or those of a different, fruitier faith.

The upgrade was quite painless, all my data files and programs were in the same place, I had to tweak the font smoothing settings for my screen but, most importantly, my music hardware and software worked without a glitch. Apparently, you have until the end of July to draw back the curtains and grasp the free upgrade to version 10 of the OS of choice for hundreds of millions of people. I'd do it now, if I were you, whether you are tinker, tailor, materials scientist or spy...

David Bradley blogs at Sciencebase Science Blog and tweets @sciencebase, he is author of the popular science book "Deceived Wisdom".