Digital Minefield

Why The Machines Are Winning

A Source of Stupid Software


The other day I started one of my computers (does anyone say “booted up” anymore?), and right away Adobe wanted me to update their Flash Player. Seen this many times before. And many of those times, like this one, I was not connected to the Internet!

Then (as before) I thought, how stupid. I wondered how anyone—no, make that any programmer—could be so . . . idiotic? Careless? Incompetent? Ok, I’ll settle for stupid. But, I mean, how? After all, we all use computers, don’t we? Don’t we all suffer from the same stupidities? So why write stupid software?

However, I do not blame these programmers for their ineptitude. I do not blame any programmers. (In this economy, who can blame anyone for doing any crappy job.) But it is management’s job to oversee the final product. And it is the job of the CEO* to see that management does its job.
* Or as I sometimes say, the IIC: Idiot In Charge.


Back to this stupid software. What did this programmer think? (Or was it a team?) That I’d stop what I was doing just to connect to the Internet so I could update Adobe Flash Player? Do such people really think their request should take precedent over my needs and wants? Over what I’m doing right how?

Furthermore, do such people really think everyone is connected all the time? 24/7? How could anyone think that? It is, in fact, impossible to be connected all the time. Internet connections go down. Computers (and the houses, offices, etc., they’re connected to) lose power. And so on.

So what’s the explanation? Are they just being lazy? I.e., why bother to check if this user is connected; put the message up anyway. Or, as I said, is it just stupidity? Don’t they suffer from the same annoyances as the rest of us?

And then it hit me: maybe not! No, really, stay with me a moment. Think of how much software is being written. Think of outsourcing. Think of poorly paid programmers who can’t afford their own computers! I’m not suggesting all of this stupid programming is created by people who don’t know what it’s like to be on the receiving end. I’m just asking, how much software is written by people who aren’t really computer users? Or by machines?

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