Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Friday, June 06, 2014

Quinn Norton: It's hard to explain to regular people how much technology barely works, how much the infrastructure of our lives is held together by the IT equivalent of baling wire. Computers, and computing, are broken. Software is so bad because it's so complex, and because it's trying to talk to other programs on the same computer, or over connections to other computers. Even your computer is kind of more than one computer, boxes within boxes, and each one of those computers is full of little programs trying to coordinate their actions and talk to each other. ... Your average piece of ---- Windows desktop is so complex that no one person on Earth really knows what all of it is doing, or how.

Advertisement

Liberal Blog Advertising Network

Menu

Advertisement

Subscriptions

Author Info

justanoversight

 

Advertisement

MORE STORIES

 

Advertisement

More

Now imagine billions of little unknowable boxes within boxes constantly trying to talk and coordinate tasks at around the same time, sharing bits of data and passing commands around from the smallest little program to something huge, like a browser  --  that's the internet. All of that has to happen nearly simultaneously and smoothly, or you throw a hissy fit because the shopping cart forgot about your movie tickets.

Comments

Admin's note: Participants in this discussion must follow the site's moderation policy. Profanity will be filtered. Abusive conduct is not allowed.

I feel this way when I start a new Phonegap project using my Map plugin and Eclipse......

Other than that, life is great! Get a bicycle.....

Speaking of a bicycle, there is a move to goto Electronic Shifting (happening for awhile now), to me its one more headache. Batteries, moisture..et al ...... somethings should just stay mechanical.

As Nulli says, all these gadgets and we still aren't happy, why not? ..... though I like my GPS :)

#1 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2014-06-05 06:34 PM | Reply | Flag:

I like my brain, my manual compass, and my new bike.

I do IT for a living, I avoid it for pleasure.

#2 | Posted by path at 2014-06-05 06:47 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

"As Nulli says, all these gadgets and we still aren't happy, why not?"

Massive complexification makes people helpless and dependent. The simplest task requires a specialist. No wonder people are pissed off.

#3 | Posted by nullifidian at 2014-06-05 07:11 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

Bob Dylan knew it
vimeo.com

#4 | Posted by 503jc69 at 2014-06-05 07:18 PM | Reply | Flag:

If you morons would get a clue.....you would not know what to do, because linux is self sustaining.

#5 | Posted by coyote at 2014-06-05 08:26 PM | Reply | Flag:

#5 | POSTED BY COYOTE AT 2014-06-05 08:26 PM | FLAG:

I hope you're talking to the article. Because I think Linux has an unusually large following among posters here.

I like Ubuntu studios for recording my personal tracks and stuff, for instance. And it's perfectly usable for browsing online. Meanwhile, my Dad had to have a hard drive wiped on an old lap top - OLD. Like barely past 2000. (Don't remember the model now, this was last fall.) It could barely run XP, which was what it came with, and that seemed pointless to put back on when support was running out. But nothing else had a small enough footprint to put in its limited hardware - except Lubuntu! Found that somewhere in the middle of the night while messing with it just to see if I could resurrect the relic, and sure enough, he has a working laptop over a decade old now.

On the other hand, while personally being a Linux fan, for sheer integration of hardware and software, Apple remains impressive.

#6 | Posted by zeropointnrg at 2014-06-05 08:52 PM | Reply | Flag:

you would not know what to do, because linux is self sustaining.

#5 | POSTED BY COYOTE

IMO, Linux is unreachable for the masses. Try pluggin in two monitors, how did that work out for you? Command line?

Command line? What is this the 1890's (thats for Nulli)

I agree with Zero, but the problem as I see it, they don't integrate enough products to make my life "great".....

There is a transparency that Nulli implies that is missing with all the complexity of setup and configuration.

#7 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2014-06-05 09:02 PM | Reply | Flag:

complexification - Nulli

Is the the Nullification of a new word?

#8 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2014-06-05 09:03 PM | Reply | Flag:

Is that the .....

#9 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2014-06-05 09:03 PM | Reply | Flag:

In a way, Linux has absolutely reached the masses.

Android.

#10 | Posted by zeropointnrg at 2014-06-05 09:23 PM | Reply | Flag:

Hmmm...the comments have taken an unexpected turn. I better sit this one out.

#11 | Posted by justanoversight at 2014-06-05 10:41 PM | Reply | Flag:

for sheer integration of hardware and software, Apple remains impressive.

I feel their quality has slipped a bit though.

The current laptop I'm using runs hot, constantly has the fan running and spends more time with the rainbow pinwheel of death showing that the cursor. And it's only about 2.5 years old.

The other macs I had or used over the past 7-8 years didn't give nearly the same problems as this one.

#12 | Posted by jpw at 2014-06-06 12:13 AM | Reply | Flag:

Hmmm...the comments have taken an unexpected turn. I better sit this one out.

Oh c'mon. I have faith you can work a dig on Obama somewhere in there.

Don't let me down!

#13 | Posted by jpw at 2014-06-06 12:13 AM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1 | Newsworthy 1

winblows, no wonder.

#14 | Posted by ichiro at 2014-06-06 07:42 AM | Reply | Flag:

Massive complexification makes people helpless and dependent. The simplest task requires a specialist. No wonder people are pissed off.

#3 | POSTED BY NULLIFIDIAN

You just unintentionally described the United States Tax Code and most of the laws written in the last 50 years.

#15 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2014-06-06 10:53 AM | Reply | Flag:

Hmmm...the comments have taken an unexpected turn. I better sit this one out.

#11 | Posted by justanoversight

No, please tell us, what was your point?

#16 | Posted by Whatsleft at 2014-06-06 12:59 PM | Reply | Flag:

When I went to a couple of free TV websites recommended by bloggers here, that was the end of my laptop. format... reinstall windows... I'm not looking forward to it.

#17 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-06-06 01:05 PM | Reply | Flag:

"I do IT for a living, I avoid it for pleasure."

I'm a software engineer. None of my recreational activities require electricity, except maybe a light if I do them at night.

#18 | Posted by LEgregius at 2014-06-06 01:15 PM | Reply | Flag:

#15 | Posted by MUSTANG
"You just unintentionally described the United States Tax Code and most of the laws written in the last 50 years."

Best way to prop up the legal and accounting industries.
But surely our elected officials can do something about this!
What possible reasons could they have for promoting the legal and accounting industries?

#19 | Posted by TheTom at 2014-06-06 01:16 PM | Reply | Flag:

"Command line? What is this the 1890's (thats for Nulli)"

For some things, nothing beats the command line. I keep trying to find better solutions, though.

"for sheer integration of hardware and software, Apple remains impressive."

"I feel their quality has slipped a bit though."

They still do a great job, but the current OS is a bit lackluster in both performance and stability. I miss 10.6. They updated the OS then just to improve performance and stability, and did a fantastic job. It's not like they added any particularly useful features since then.

#20 | Posted by LEgregius at 2014-06-06 01:18 PM | Reply | Flag:

On topic, there's a link in the article to the study. Read the first page. This could have been much worse had the wrong guy done it.

#21 | Posted by TheTom at 2014-06-06 01:18 PM | Reply | Flag:

Hahaha.... cRapple.

#22 | Posted by rearendhat at 2014-06-06 01:18 PM | Reply | Flag:

"You just unintentionally described the United States Tax Code and most of the laws written in the last 50 years."

It's not just the tax code. Everywhere there are diminishing returns to complexity. People need specialists to do their taxes, fix their cars, brush their cat, etc. Every large bureaucracy or corporation, public or private, is a nightmare to deal with.

www.youtube.com

#23 | Posted by nullifidian at 2014-06-06 01:24 PM | Reply | Flag:

Gimme a command line with with a python interpreter and I can do virtually anything to/on your computer.

#24 | Posted by sentinel at 2014-06-06 02:07 PM | Reply | Flag:

#2 | Posted by path

#18 | Posted by LEgregius

I too am in IT, I ended up in IT because it's most of what I did for pleasure and enjoyed technology so much.

Outside of 'work': First I quit doing software development. Then I quite doing IT in general. Then I started tuning out of electronics.

I avoid technology outside of work. I my hobbies continue to become more "hands on" and less electronic related. People continue to ask me why I am not into all this gadgetry. I can't tell you how many IT people I know that have tried to revert to simple flip style phones... The only reason they go back to smart phones is work demands.

#25 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2014-06-06 03:33 PM | Reply | Flag:

IT people I know that have tried to revert to simple flip style phones... The only reason they go back to smart phones is work demands.

Soon, that's going to be impossible. I learned that when I worked for a cellular company. With the advent of VOIP, they are going to get rid of 1X, 2X and 3G....

#26 | Posted by boaz at 2014-06-06 09:49 PM | Reply | Flag:

If it wasn't so nice having a walkman and phone in one slim case I could do without a smart phone too. Heck I have only had a cell phone for 2 years I enjoyed being able to avoid calls by being "out".

Not sure why it is but I have never had issues with integrating all devices. Could I tell you what any one of them is doing at any given moment nope but everything works when I want it to. Of course I have simple tastes so I am not super demanding of my integrated electronics I am sure that helps.

#27 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2014-06-06 10:14 PM | Reply | Flag:

I actually just bought a watch, having realized that timekeeping was about the only reason I carried a cell phone.

Amazing thing... runs years on a tiny battery, tells me what time it is, works on planes and you can use it while driving. No Wi-Fi, no Bluetooth, car doesn't freak out when it sees it, cuz it can't.

#28 | Posted by REDIAL at 2014-06-06 11:05 PM | Reply | Flag:

#28 REDIAL
So true. There are also models that don't require a battery but use a tiny, winding stem. Wind it once a day and you're good to go.

#29 | Posted by squinch at 2014-06-08 05:42 AM | Reply | Flag:

Excellent article, Just.

#30 | Posted by LastAmerican at 2014-06-08 11:51 AM | Reply | Flag:

Advertisement

Post a comment

Comments are closed for this entry.

Home | Breaking News | Comments | User Blogs | Stats | Back Page | RSS Feed | RSS Spec | DMCA Compliance | Privacy | Copyright 2014 World Readable

 

Advertisement

Drudge Retort