Saturday, 8 October 2016

Is software getting worse?

An interesting piece in The Register asks Is Apple's Software Getting Worse Or What?

Comment For over a year, Apple's software has been the subject of more derision than might be expected for a company of its size.

Developer Marco Arment took Apple to task early last year, arguing that OS X (recently rebranded macOS) is full of embarrassing bugs and that the company is trying to do too much on unrealistic deadlines.

Arment subsequently disavowed his post because of the widespread media attention it received. But there was blood in the water and the feeding frenzy has continued at Apple's expense, at least in part because controversy, manufactured or not, drives online traffic.

It continues to this day. On Tuesday, one fiction writer – who asked us to keep him anonymous – voiced his dissatisfaction, eliciting agreement from a few others. "I just need things that work, and that I can rely on working," he lamented. "I say this with the utmost regret, sadness, and no small sense of betrayal: Apple doesn't seem to make those things anymore."

The comments suggest it isn't only Apple churning out buggy software in the rush to add bells, whistles and intrusive data-trawling within excessively tight timescales. How many users want the bells and whistles anyway? 

"I just need things that work, and that I can rely on working". So do I and on the whole we get it, but have we reached peak software utility for home users? One comment which chimes with me is this.

little to do with apple

The fail fast fix fast mentality of software development is insane. (Have worked with software dev teams for 16 years now). Sounds fine if you are working on some new thing. But should not be used on core products. Whether it is apple (not a customer so can't say from personal experience ), Microsoft struggling with their updates, MANY others as well.

The focus has been shifting towards faster delivery of lower quality stuff because they believe they can just fix it later. Though in many cases later never comes because they move onto something else new and shiny.

It is possible of course to release things often but it requires more care than just doing it.

Too often agile is used as an excuse to ship faster and not need quality control.

Windows 10 seems to be turning into the largest scale agile fail in the history of software.

Companies like apple and MS have absolutely no excuses each having 10s of billions of dollars in the bank.


Demetrius said...

Almost daily now I go to a web site for one thing or another where it has been "updated" or "improved" only to groan and tear my hair as I try to unravel the complexities of what was once and should be basic simple information. There seems to be a mania for complicated fancy flashy web sites when the subject matter demands clarity, simplicity and ease of use.

Michael said...

I'm quite content to use Excel 2000, as I really don't need anything more these days.

I heard a geek say the other day that some programmes for mobile phones were called 'bus stop' apps, as they took four minutes to play.

Sad really.

Anonymous said...

A bit sideways, but there seems to me a dumbing down of websites aimed at smartphone users. Everything has to fit into screen-sized pieces that are brightly coloured with a short word-bite. Both the Sun and the Torygraph and the FT seem to have gone down this road. Soon we won't have words at all.

Henry Kaye said...

Glad to read the opinion of others frustrated by the ever growing sophistication of software developers. I had to replace my old computer recently and was given Windows 10. What a load of b......s! Like (it would seem) so many others, I don't need or want all these fancy addons. I just want to read and send emails, write some letters and search the internet. God save me from computer nerds.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - I have the same experience. Many sites are so keen to grab and guide your attention that they aren't worth visiting.

Scrobs - I'm on Office 2007 and Win 10 keeps telling me it is not the latest version. Sooner or later I'll be annoyed enough to uninstall it and go for LibreOffice.

Roger - I don't know how people manage to read stuff on their phones. Perhaps they don't.

Henry - that's all I need, plus storing digital photos. Windows 7 would still suit me.