Is technology “improving” itself beyond usability?
Monday, October 13, 2014 15 Comments
© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
The rock-face learning curve makes me CRAZY!
While the “continuous improvement” affliction has infected tech-tools across the board, the plague is at its most disabling in the computer realm.
I spend a great deal of time on my computer.
I spend SO much time staring at a screen that the rest of my life is screaming for time and attention most days. I’m beginning to worry that my keyboard and trackball will soon be fused to my hands.
I can’t help but feel, however, that my computer time could be reduced by at least half if the “continuous improvement” folks would simply let things BE.
The biggest threat to the Internet
Since I began sharing my expertise on ADDandSoMuchMore.com, the large majority of my computer time is spent online, which only compounds the problem.
I just spent one solid hour attempting to accomplish something that could (dare I say “should“??) have been over-and-done-with in three quick clicks. (Only two months ago it WAS!)
Forget worrying about a government invasion of our privacy at the individual level. They’ll never be able to figure out how to do it! (Advertisers will – and DO, more’s the pity: money talks. But boycott as a tool for change belongs to a different grump).
The deal with the government snoops
- Since they have entire departments that most of us don’t, they’re probably back to snooping fairly quickly after each upgrade, but “continuous improvement” updates will slow them down.
- No matter, either way — there won’t be much to invade during improvement snow storms, as the rest of us scramble to dig out and catch up. Who has time to post?
- As soon as we’ve all got it worked out, the next wave of updates will force us all to begin anew.
Do I smell a conspiracy — or a counter-conspiracy?
Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar for a reminder
of how links work on this site, they’re subtle (scroll UP for it) ==>
Why ELSE all the “improvements”???
Methinks the cure has become worse than the disease.
Spammer and phisher security and safety updates are necessary and appreciated, of course, since it is against the law to hunt the buggers down and bludgeon them to death.
And I DO realize that it is impossible to remain viable as a business and test every single combination of conflicts with every single combination of computer, operating system, application versions run in tandem and so forth — and that’s before they factor in the level of user knowledge and experience.
I also understand that there are times when the release of brand new software designed to take advantage of technological advances requires every other software maker to adapt or die.
BUT COME ON! How often are those really the reasons for an update or an improvement? Change simply to LOOK new and improved is maddening.
It would be tempting to cite money as the underlying motive, but over half these changes are “free” to the user — except, that is, for the opportunity cost of learning how to USE the darned things.
While it’s fairly clear that developers barely check out the user side of the applications they develop or update (or they’d know better!), when I was in the computer field the golden rules used to be:
- don’t release a half-baked version and,
- whatever you do when you must issue incremental updates,
leave the user interface ALONE
So many of today’s developers seem to believe that the rest of us have nothing better to do with our time but serve as unpaid and unwilling beta testers. (For readers too young to recall the good ole’ days, they used to test beta versions before release – and beta testers volunteered for the task!)
While it’s bad enough to be conscripted into the beta-test battalion, I wouldn’t mind nearly as much if they’d adhere to the second golden rule.
STOP moving my gearshift!
- Once I habituate my “driving,” I don’t want my car replaced with one where everything is located in a different place.
- Expecting me to figure out where to put in the key, roll down the windows and change gears – almost every time I’m forced to take the detour following one brief update click – drives me over the insanity edge!
- Asking me to pull over mid-journey while they apply the “fix” I don’t even WANT makes me understand where the term “going postal” REALLY originated (Please close all windows and reboot your computer – sheesh! – NOW you tell me?)
So many applications, so little time
Like many of you, I use a great many applications – some daily, some several times a week, and some only occasionally.
It’s tough enough to educate mind and fingers on the use of ALL of them without some team of bozos upsetting my fruit basket periodically just because they can.
Could you WARN us at least?
I wish there were some kind of global calendar that only allowed major change ONE day a month per application, website and blog — EACH on its own assigned day.
If I knew in advance I might have a fighting chance of planning and staying on track!
Yesterday and today ALONE there have been:
- Several times my browser was hijacked by a script on somebody’s site that wouldn’t run and wouldn’t stop trying
- FOUR beep-beep-boop run-ins with the “improved WordPress Posting Experience” (where, the last time I was dumb enough to check, among many missing features, everything is in italics – except the italics!)
- THREE “update application now” notices
- TWO blogs I would like to interact with who suddenly decided a change of theme was in order (a little like moving the keys around on a typewriter and painting it another color while you’re sleeping), and
- An attempted visit to a [formerly] nice clean and highly informative web resource where the owner decided to “increase viewership” — information formerly available in one place is NOW scattered on Like my Page, Read the Books I’m Reading, #Follow# my #HashTags#, Watch me on Computer TV, and Connect with me on a [supposedly] Professional Linking Forum where I can market you to death.
- And don’t get me started on password perambulations and “prove you’re not a robot” screens!
If that’s what it takes to be online anymore, maybe I should take my football and go home, go get a rocking chair and get take up knitting! (And this is NOTHING compared to my troubles with cellphones!)
Let’s hear it from YOU
I invite you to dump YOUR Monday grumps and gripes
in the comment section below each of my own – related or NOT.
As long as you don’t make individual people wrong, and do your best to avoid the dreaded “should” word, I will approve all comers (link-spammers shot on sight, however).
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For links in context: run your cursor over the article above and the dark grey links will turn dark red;
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LinkLists by Category (to articles in Series here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com)
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BY THE WAY: Since ADDandSoMuchMore.com is an Evergreen site, I revisit all my content periodically to update links — when you link BACK, reblog, like, follow, or comment on the article, you STAY on the page. When you do not, you run a high risk of getting replaced by a site with a more generous come-from.