The Absurdity of Computer Applications
(or, how come we work for the computers, when they should be working for us)
Imagine you’re driving your car and you go to make a left-hand turn after a light change, but your car informs you that you need to download a piece of software to make this kind of left hand turn. Now, it doesn’t end there, because, as you attempt to download the software needed, your car then proceeds to tell you that you have to upgrade your car to support the software required for you to make this particular left hand turn.
Or, how about this, you’re driving along, it starts to rain, you hit your wipers, next your headlights, then your car blue-screens on you, it stops dead, (freezes-up), because of an out-of-who-knows-where software conflict between the wipers and lights.
Let’s try another. You head out the door to work, jump in your car and start it up, but it has to “sync-up” with everything first, like with your radio, lights, wipers, etc. Then, just like magic, your car won’t start because of a sync error, or some kind of start-up error, or you need to upgrade a certain “driver” (no pun intended) and blah, blah, blah.
As far as cars go, does this sound familiar? Of course it doesn’t. Does it sound completely absurd? Sure it does. But with computers, this frustrating goofiness happens all the time. Cars sport dozens of different features to perform particular functions which complement a car’s main purpose of getting us from one place to another. With computers, it’s a similar deal: basically, a computer sports bunches of different features to do particular things that “allegedly” compliment or enhance the computer’s original intent; which is that of being pretty much a highfalutin typewriter and calculator rolled into one.
The thing is, cars, and vehicles in general work for us. They are relatively consistently-working machines. Not a lot of fussing to get a car to do what you’d like, unless you got a very old clunker. With computers though, we’ve been buffaloed all these years into thinking they work for us, but after going through what I call “digital waterboarding” to get a computer to do some basic stuff, I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that we really work for the computers - In more ways than one.
We bump into so many business people who justifiably complain about basic-everyday info that they can’t get a lot of times through something as fundamental as email because their computer or network person tells them they need this kind of software to open this attachment, or you can’t view this because you have to download that, or this can’t do that because you got the wrong kind of deodorant. If you’re a regular end-user, you know the drill.
Here’s the way I see it, (not that it means anything), and that is, until the day you and I can work with INFORMATION on our computers, like we want, and not APPLICATIONS, we’re all going to keep getting digitally water-boarded by these things while the computer and software advertisers keep telling us how happy we are with their stuff. Now, to caveat this topic, I’m not talking here about high-end industry-specific applications, like CAD and graphic applications, etc., that’s a different ball-game altogether.
Anyway, there was a retired CEO, (can’t remember his name) who once said, “The computer revolution can be felt everywhere, except in the area of productivity.” This cat may be on to something.
Side note: Google and Apple are the only companies that we know of, to date, which actually “get” that people need and want to work with information - not applications... as long as you use their platforms.
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