Monday, November 19, 2012

Stepping forward, stepping back

(Yep - I know I've used that title recently, different theme this time - honest !)

Noticed a trend with technology ?

We seem to be taking as many steps backwards as we are taking steps forward with our tech.

Yes. Our toys do more than they did years ago. However ... they're also far less reliable and don't always work the way they're supposed to. Another issue is expectation. We expect the technology we buy to live up to its claims.

I can think of a few big examples. The biggest is software ... It used to be that software driven items would arrive in a fully tested and ready for market state. As the complexity of the software increases, so does the potential for error in that software. Especially now, as instead of effectively being hand crafted, our software is built by automated compilation systems. If the compiler has an error, that error infests the final compiled software.

And that brings me to amusing example 1 of today : Bad news for any Android people looking to book in Xmas ... That's an example of one of those software errors that we didn't see much of. But because the internet opens the possibility of fixing the errors that should never have been exposed to the public, that increases the likelihood of those errors being allowed to slip through testing.

Testing is nowhere near as comprehensive as it should be these days. It doesn't help when the underlying operating system is just plain broken. (Vista, WinME ?) Oh - what happened at that link ? A basic software error meant that one of the people contact apps couldn't understand the month December. That's right folks, Google cancelled Christmas.

It's a simple error but one that I can't remember seeing much of before the ability to easily patch meant that proper quality control became unaffordable.

It's not just Android though, my suspicion of Windows phones is being justified ...

You know how people used to joke that if anything went wrong with Windows, the cure would be to restart it ? Well - that's transferring to their attempt at making a smartphone too ... If you have a look in that Register story, it tells of phones rebooting at random. There's a term for that, rooted in the Sales of Goods Act - "not fit for purpose".

Yet it's becoming standard that we accept stuff that's just not finished.

To keep the balance, it's not just Windows that's bad. One big reason I'm looking at iPhones is because my Android mobile is not the 100% stable thing that it should be. And I know I'd be inheriting a few bugs with the iPhone. Anyone remember the antenna problems with an iPhone that meant that if you held it in your left hand, you'd short out the antenna ? Apple aren't the best either ...

I dunno. It's just annoying that defective items are becoming the accepted norm. Our toys do more but at the cost of complication and ever increasing gremlins.

In other news ...

That steering wheel acquisition is getting closer. I was in Curiosity Only mode until last night. When I spotted F1 2012 on offer on Steam ... Couldn't resist. So I now have a racing game and no wheel to play it with. I have a decent joystick but that's best on flight stuff, not so good with cars.

And it wouldn't be a Sleepypete 2012 post without something on health ... People are telling me I'm looking significantly better than I was a few weeks ago. I guess that's true :-) 3 weeks ago I was pretty bad. Now the skin thing is mostly cleared up.

Went away this weekend just gone to see the parents for the birthday weekend. Met someone who's likely to effectively be the little Brother-Out-Law. Sister's been going out with someone for a bit over a year now, a fella who has a son. I think of them both as brothers now, having met the son this weekend. Good kid and he has a brain that means I can talk to him on a fairly equal level because he'll understand or figure out the techie or mechanical stuff. Awesome.

Decent weekend but it's told me one thing - I am improving but not sufficiently improved yet to be healing on my own. There's a few patches that were coming back. They responded well to a gunking last night though :-)

Prospects are still looking good, I just have to maintain the discipline to do that gunking. Which also means pain because it involves sitting in positions which my right hip doesn't like ...

PS One last techie thing which I'm hoping won't strike now ... Virgin media still has broken Youtube ! Seems to be spreading into iPlayer too. Watching Strictly off iPlayer yesterday evening was ... frustrating.

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