Saturday, December 04, 2010

Lever B - Let Me Aks You a Question (Yes, Aks)

I am about to start a multi-part computer technology rant in which I hope to clarify for those of us senior citizens who have an interest in the subject, why so much of it seems shrouded in foolishness, accompanied by breathless blather, and while useful, seldom lives up to expectations. And why I, and I suspect many of us, have felt prodded by this stuff for the past 20-30 years.

I learned long ago be very wary about installing "critical updates" to various software programs I'm running when the update notices popped up on my screen. It's not so much a matter of distrusting 3rd party meddling as it is distrusting the software supplier itself. I'm aware that "beta" simply means that the work is not complete but is being thrown out there anyway...a bit like a manufacturer shipping known defective products in order to meet his company management's periodic quota demands.

In an odd sense, it has become accepted practice in the software world to "roll out" a beta version of their product and invite "developers" or even their customers to find the bugs and report them to the vendor for "patches" to be developed. While a certain amount of that kind of thing has always been done by producers of first one thing or another, it seems particularly irritating in the world of software to be an end user having to deal with this stuff. In a sense, it is the transfer of QC responsibility from the vendor to the customer.

Let me aks you sum questions...why does my email client not operate properly after I installed their latest "updated" version of the program?

Why would a software vendor who provided the operating software for an automated parking garage to a town in New Jersey be permitted to turn that software off, trapping dozens of citizen's cars in the parking garage when the town opted out of the ongoing "service" contract?

Why would several Federal agencies and countless corporations simply scrap hundreds of millions of dollars of software development that ultimately did not do the job it was advertised to do?

Why did most Microsoft "critical updates" to my own computer operating system routinely cause other programs to malfunction? Why does my system continue to operate well now that I ceased, years ago, installing updates from that company?

These are some of the things I've been thinking about.

No comments: