Some time ago, I read an article about why an “IKEA” would never happen in Denmark. Not that Swedes are anything special, or that Danes are’t smart enough.
But the argument is that to be able to create an IKEA, one would have to decide that things are only made to be “almost good enough”, meaning that one know that the product is not perfect, it will not last longer than it was designed to last, and so fort. And any one in Denmark who would start a company would would do so to produce products which where the best of the best (I am not fully in agrement with that one).
But lately that made me think about the stage of software quality, we know that it is impossible to remove all issues in software, the 90/10 rule still plays a role in our daily life. But we have gotten used to software which, we actually pay for, doesn’t work, or it crashes, or causes data loss.
The vendors, in many cases does not care, or tell us that it’s caused by us using the software wrongly. Last week Apple shipped a new Java for OSX Lion which closed a security hole which have been know for some time. When Microsoft shipped Windows 8, they had to lock it down to such a degree that it became almost impossible to use, for the sake for security. We are daily faced by annoyance, which are caused by people making things too complex, and end up having to add security layers which forces us to enter username / password everytime we wants to change a setting.
Not that it’s the fault of neither Apple nor Microsoft (or any vendor actually), it’s our hunger for new functionality which fuels their money machine, so us, but asking for this new functionality indirectly causes this, and at the same time these vendors do not have enough time to make a product which is “perfect”.
But one of the things, which really ticks me off, is the when one have something which is supposed to work, and one then get in contact with a vendor (more or less anyone of them), and am being told that this is know issue, and one will have to wait “sometime” for a fix. Like for example the crash issue with Macbook Pro’s when one wake them from sleep, or the Macbook Air’s which cannot switch it’s primary monitor when it’s woken from sleep in clamshell mode (external monitor). Both very known issues by Apple, but non the less not fixed. We can live with most of the most annoying things, but when our dear and beloved computers starts crashing without reason, then it’s not really fun anymore. This is the “almost good enough” atitude which I have a problem with.
Also when one look at smart phones; I still remember the people who got the first Windows Phones, who complained about having to reboot them 2 – 3 times a day for them to be able to use them. We are over that periode, now we have the “iPhone antenne gate”, batteries being drained if one enable the standard features of the phones. And we are being told that we are holding our phone wrongly, or that we should not expect that the numbers in the official marketing material are correct, and they are done with all features switched off.
I think that with the prices we pay for our software (yes it also runs on partly faulty hardware), are too high. Would we be happy if we had to restart our cars every 25 km, as they otherwise would stop working… don’t think so…