Saturday, March 05, 2011

Software Mwahaha - User Bane

Genius, schmenius, software creators? Build the app that takes over the world, and puts a laser on every shark's head for the sole purpose of world domination, I think not.
Software has gotten too big for its britches these days; albeit, for the most part, I can turn on practically any device and wait, and wait, and (wait for it) wait some more, and it eventually reaches the stable "ready for input" mode from which stuff may be accomplished. Is this the future that we all read about, dreamed about, and for some of us assisted to create? Once again, I think not, or at least I hope not. Configuration files gone awry, database schema not posting correctly, bad input, whatever, the digital world truly has two states. These states are 0. the exuberant feeling of happiness from not being connected, and 1. the insistently inane feeling that the technology you depend on is going to let you down. It is this second point in time that everyone experiences that I want to address.
When did it become accepted to rely on worthless to get the job done? When did we as a society take a pass on excellence to accept good enough as the normal? This can not just be my own angst bubbling to the surface. It has to be at a minimum a grass root movement to reclaim the world that was. When ideas came to pass via a software medium call paper, and simplicity and accuracy were the standard, and not the overly complicated and buggy!
I would not be so miffed if it weren't for the the case that my wife happens to be the worlds best appliance, software, gadget Quality Assurance evaluator in the world. How do I know this? I am the one who has to take the brunt of either explaining, resolving, replacing, or just fixing every software glitch in everything Windows and the plethora of connected devices that she encounters in this digital software augmented and abstracted world that we have blindly accepted as not only "new and improved", but modern. Used to be that quality of a radio was touted by the number of transistors that is used to receive and decode a radio signal, and the number was in single digits. Bam, Moore's law comes on the scene, and the race to increase the number of transistors in a device goes through the roof. What was once simple, due to its few modest components was now on the path to the future and its insane complexities. And along that same path crept the code monster come to facilitate complexities, calm the storm, rate the normal, make life easier, and (there is no proof to date that software has cured the common cold) bloat.
With the fact that software self proliferates with an effective self bloating increase, this is an ever increasing problem; circularly referencing growing faster than that proverbial law of Gordon Moore but not necessarily addressing the quality, the efficiency, and by no means at all verifying the multitude of configuration possibilities. Whew! This is what we have accepted as the normal, and it is only going to get worse as we as a society allow dysfunction to become our normal.
Take back simplicity. Turn off the computer, and go write the next new novel using a pencil and paper. Don't let the mantra of software world dominance become your personal bane, just because you want to be a user - if something does not work complain (and hope you have your own personal nerd to make it all better.)


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