Getting used to Software Half-Assery

Posted on:January 12 2017

Please take a look at this short list of things which happened to me today:

  • I wanted to edit some texts in my Apple Developer account. I couldn't because my Safari wasn't able show the log-in page correctly, everything was messed up. After lots of refreshes, cache and cookie deletions, rebooting and even debugging through the JavaScript of their website, I finally figured out that my safari needed an update. Updated it and everything suddenly worked. So in short: Apple's own website didn't work with their very own browser.

  • On a popular discussion website, I was wondering why my submission links no longer were upvoted, and commented to. Was my stuff suddenly not interesting anymore? I tried looking at the site from my mobile phone, and noticed that my submission wasn't visible. It was only there when I was logged in. So clearly, someone shadow banned me. What the hell? Why? I could write down a huge rant with the title "corporate censorship" now, but in short: Shouldn't social media work with the people deciding what they want to read? That's where the up (and down) vote buttons are for after all.

  • I had 30 minutes of free time and wanted to play a game on Steam. "You need to update first!". Ok. Steam starts downloading a couple of gigabytes for a patch of a game. Which takes about 3 hours on my rural internet connection. Which leaves me -2.5 hours of my free time. So much for playing a game.

  • I forgot my paypal password. The dialog for sending you a new password contains 5 different possibilities (Email, SMS, Call, etc). It is written in a font that big, so that the 'OK' button is below the bottom of the screen. But there is no scroll bar. And the mouse wheel doesn't do anything. So I cannot click onto 'OK'. I actually have to open the developer tools and adjust the CSS font size so that the Paypal dialog works. I bet this works nicely on mobiles and PCs with very big screens. But not on my PC.

And the day hasn't ended yet.
As software developer, frustrating stuff like this has become the daily norm for me. The more complex stuff you have to do with software, the more stuff is breaking in hilarious ways. I may be getting old, but I feel software isn't doing anymore for me what it was supposed to do: Getting out of my way and make my life easier.
I'm not sure how to improve this mess which is how software works today. Maybe we should just get rid of the "wait for the next update" and "if it compiles - ship it" culture. Or maybe it's just time to die for me. I'm probably too old to make sense of all this.


Yeah, it's kind of a market failure. Some kind of misalignment of user needs and company incentives. Idk how to fix it.
Had the exact same problem with me wanting to play Doom single player and Steam wanting to first download Gigabytes of updates for it, too. There is no better alternative to Steam.
I also had the Apple Developer center not working with Firefox and working with Safari (in an unintuitive way).
I can't even imagine the cummulative (productive) hours lost to simple but annoying bugs in popular software and how much productivty would be increased if this popular software would get more resources allocated to fix those issues.
2017-01-12 15:14:00

You canot die, coppercube need somes big news updates, that's the sense of your life ;)
2017-01-12 16:28:00

The world is broken. Everything seems to have become a big f*n joke!
2017-01-12 19:08:00

My favourite is "this content is not supported on your device". Dang, I better buy a new laptop. Thanks BBC.
2017-01-13 08:03:00

Steam is even more fun when you discover a bug in Steam itself (so after downloading installation fails - always). After retrying twice (which in itself consumed far more time than I had at hand actually...) I did try to file a bug report - something which is impossible.

Literally: There is no way (at least no way I could discover within like an hour with Google and the Steam home page) to report a bug in the actual steam client. You can file a bug for a particular game, but the game wasn't to blame; eventually I did find some page describing a workaround, at least... (of course not by Valve itself)

The other annoying thing about it (which started a couple of month ago): It yells that it needs an update, so fine, let's spend some time idling until it updates. Yet immediately afterwards it yells for an update AGAIN. And again and again. Whatever monkey they put on their update procedure appears to have some serious problems... (I also do not get why the community content pages are so insanely slow - even if the server was running dBASE on a 386 CPU this would be faster, but maybe I just don't understand the complexity of showing a small image and some kilobyte of markup for 10 items on a page...)
2017-01-16 08:52:00

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