“A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.”
– Emo Philips
Who hasn’t smashed their keyboard into their desk or thrown their $300 phones across the room into a wall in frustration? Technology can be infuriating, but don’t blame the device or the app. Until some Skynet-like artificial intelligence entity becomes self-aware and declares war on the human race, computers are still just tools, whose functions are determined by well-meaning programmers, likely with control issues. The problem arises when users have even bigger control issues and don’t like when anyone attempts to do our thinking for us.
This goes beyond bugs in software; those are just inevitable and not worth ranting about. Personally, any perceived deficiencies in my code are generally the result of miscommunication, misinterpretation, or analytic design flaws, but it’s these deliberate features that would drive any rational person to day-drink. Feel free to add your own.
(a) When I want to track a 12-digit number in Excel, like a UPC #, I don’t want to see it converted to 1.23457E+11. If I wanted to use scientific notation, I would have gone into astronomy or microbiology.
Is this just Microsoft’s way of messing with Apple by not allowing them to do their accounting in Excel because trillion-dollar numbers don’t fit in a cell?
And if there’s supposed to be a leading zero, leave it alone. I did it for a reason.
(b) When I dictate a sentence into my iPhone, I may actually want to text a friend, “Meet me in the break room after fourth period.” without being abruptly punctuated after “fourth”. Then when he texts back, “Fourth what?” and we’re off and running with an Abbott and Costello routine.
© I really didn’t want the copyright symbol in place of the “c” when enumerating a list with a, b, c, etc.
(c) This should have been (d), but Microsoft screwed me with the copyright symbol. Thanks, Bill.
“That’s the thing about people who think they hate computers. What they really hate is lousy programmers.”
– Larry Niven