More On Broken Software


It’s not as if I’ve been lying awake at night worrying about writing software (OK, perhaps slightly) but I have been pondering the “Is everything broken?” question a bit. And I’ve come to the conclusion that, at the end of the day it probably is, but then again it doesn’t really matter that much.

All of the terrible examples that are quoted are irritations in the great scheme of things. Nobody has been hurt, nobody is going hungry because of them and if the worst thing that happens to you in your life is that you can’t put any more music on your iPhone then I really, really, want a life like yours. True, it is annoying that things don’t always work as they should, and true, it would be nice if people felt moved to provide higher quality than they sometimes do, but at the end of the day stuff mostly works, and that is the important thing.

Technology now lets us do things (albeit imperfectly) that we just could not do before. It is also a great leveller. The Queen might have an iPhone that is covered in precious stones (although she might deem that a bit tacky) but she can’t do anything with it that you can’t do with yours. Although she might not worry as much about roaming charges as you do. The best phone in the world, whatever that is, can be obtained by literally millions of people, not just one or two. And, what’s more, anyone can make programs and sell them on the devices, providing a path to riches that just wasn’t there in the past.

I think, at the end of the day, we are always going to be upset with the status quo, and want it to be better. I vividly remember reading a piece some time back that was written by a retired general type. He was moaning about the way young people were more useless and lazy than he was in his day, and how their lack of discipline and application would lead to the collapse of civilisation as he knew it. Turns out he was a retired general from the Roman Army and was writing this a few thousand years ago.

The best thing to do is to take these issues on board, try to move things on a bit and give our children something even more fantastic to complain about when they get to our age.