Software as a tool

Posted On: Monday - February 12th 2018 11:23PM MST
In Topics: 
  Curmudgeonry  Artificial Stupidity

(They're just different kind of tools, right?)

Written by tools to be used as tools ... no, nothing against software programmers/developers here, but Peak Stupidity has got a real beef with the management. Look a the mechanical tool above for hands-on work then the (some kind of) piece of software that is part of a "tool" to for (former) "paperwork". As briefly discussed here and just in the previous post, software programs, aka "apps" now, are really just tools. We use many kinds of hand-powered and electrical/air/hydraulic-powered tools to do faster and higher quality hands-on work, and we use many kinds (programming language, O/S, interface) of computer-run tools to do faster and higher-quality clerical or paper-work.

The reason software is so frustrating to many of us - I can only speak for the staff of the Peak Stupidity blog - is that most software tools nowadays require constant learning to keep being of use. Hey, learning new things is usually a good thing for us. Not with this crap, it ain't! The deal with new updated apps or Windows 10 as a forced replacement for the last POS is that learning is made necessary just to do the same jobs. Not only that, we are often FORCED to use each new version of the same tool, as the old version becomes unusable due to other software tools that it must work with, that have themselves been updated, requiring more learning, Sorcerer's apprentice style.

Can you just imagine the analogy with the table saw? You pull it out of the garage to cut pieces for some shelves. You see some sticker that magically appeared on the side of the saw that claims it's now "table saw 1.03". What does that mean? Well, you may need to go on-line to get help, but it seems like the tightening knobs for the fence have been relocated and work differently, the blade-adjustment crank now turns the other way, the tilt angles are scribed on in radians instead of degrees, and the saw needs 220 V A/C power now, with it's new plug ready to go. You'll need a new blade too, BTW, as the blades have been updated recently, and the old one doesn't even fit now. There's work and learning to be done, before you can get started with the shelf project. Hey, that's just what you've gotta do - you're not some luddite, are ya?

It's not like that, though, with actual, non-software tools. The tablesaw is ready to be used in the same manner as it's always been. There's no learning required to use it again once it's been figured out. There may be better techniques to learn, sure, but not just to do as well as you did the last time. With software, however, we have new versions that we are forced to use, eventually. Even if the changes are only additions, as in extra new cool features, to our "Word" editor program, the new stuff is made default ON. That means, one has to learn how to turn off all the new stuff right away or learn to use it all over. Menus options have been rearranged - buttons have been eliminated or moved. Things start indenting because the software reckons that's what you want. Your wording keeps getting re-arranged by the half-assed grammar-checker. All these thing require workarounds, basically fooling the damn software, to get the work done, unless one backs off for a few hours to learn how to take care of this crap. Good luck remembering how to work the new way, which is will be finally pretty solidified in our minds about the time the next important version is coming out.

Yes, the software companies do lots of this to keep sales up. Who in hell really wants the next version of Windows that bad? If you don't keep up, eventually the old versions will be useless with other programs that you do want to add on. It would be so nice just to have one computer with it's O/S and useful programs all frozen in one state. You are good with these tools so why is a change necessary? Sorry, you've got no say in the matter. The artificial stupidity is big business and you luddites need to keep up we'll make fun of you as idiots because you can't use the new software and then we'll force your old one to become uselss. That's why you find people out in the garage making shelving that they don't really need, and occasionally having a blast running the old tablet through with the blade. Wear those goggle now, OSHA cares about YOU!

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