Designers and programmers are great at inventing software. We obsess over every aspect of that process: the tech we use, our methodology, the way it looks, and how it performs.
Unfortunately we’re not nearly as obsessed with what happens after that, when people integrate our products into the real world. They use our stuff and it takes on a life of its own. Then we move on to making the next thing. We’re builders, not sociologists.
This approach wasn’t a problem when apps were mostly isolated tools people used to manage spreadsheets or send emails. Small products with small impacts.
But now most software is so much more than that. It listens to us. It goes everywhere we go. It tracks everything we do. It has our fingerprints. Our heart rate. Our money. Our location. Our face. It’s the primary way we communicate our thoughts and feelings to our friends and family.
It’s deeply personal and ingrained into every aspect of our lives. It commands our gaze more and more every day.
If this is the state-of-the-art of the technology for consumer’s devices, God please save
me us from it…
[Thanks Giacomo for sharing this with me!]
Our world is increasingly mediated by the internet, and that internet has just a few gatekeepers, collecting tolls as we browse. As Python guru Matt Harrison put it, “Vendors control the default browser which 99.9% of people use.” Those vendors are happy to sell us access to information. Nothing about it is free.
A nice article by Matt Asay about Mozilla’s role to be our bulwark against the the closure of the web…
If you ever code something that ‘feels like a hack but it works’, just remember that a CPU is literally a rock that we tricked into thinking.
There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things.