Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Control

Maybe I'm old.

I remember a time when web developers (today's equivalent of app devs) took great pains to make their sites work - translation: when I clicked on something, it did what I clicked on.

"Does what it says on the box" as the meme goes.

Increasingly, I'm having experiences with software/apps that don't "do" what I ask/need. The worst offense is forced-updates. In my time-sensitive universe, when I press the "find my route" button, that's what I expect to happen.

Instead I'm confronted with options regarding an application update (mandatory). And licensing terms. And additional downloading of 'assets.' Suddenly, a printed Thomas guide has a new value proposition.

Forced updates are a time-tax: I'm suddenly waiting while my phone ignores all pleas to stop the update.

The PC is worse because so many updates ask me to reboot afterwards - its so invasive.

I am losing control of my own tools.

But they're not mine, are they? iTunes, my mp3 encoder, belongs to Apple. My phone belongs to Verizon/Google. My car belongs to a bank. I have a landlord. My favorite computer game? Owned by Blizzard. Printer drivers? HP.

If you don't own it, you can't control it.

We see this creep everywhere - from popular TV series to movies to our own devices: Doesn't do what it says on the box.

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