Monday, November 10, 2008

Fix Your Product!!!

As you may know, I work in technical support.

The uninformed generally expect their computer to work like a toaster. Turn it on, press the right button for a given functionality. Or, install new functionality from a disc.
Thus, the conclusion that when new functionality doesn't work right, it is the fault of the new program they installed.
Or, if the new functionality doesn't work, it is the fault of the computer and not the software.
Put simply, the uninformed computer user thinks in terms of distinct, separate modules that either work or don't work.
Rather, different pieces of software have interactions with each other and the operating system. There may be nothing wrong with the software, and the operating system may seem to be functioning normally. But at the level at which the software is trying to interact with the operating system, the operating system is not responding properly, and this results in the program not working.
The concepts of incompatibility and operating system corruption represent a total challenge to the idea of "computer as toaster" and that makes these people upset. Reloading the operating system or removing one program to get another to work is too much trouble for them- they want it all and they want it now.
Your computer is not a toaster. Your computer is a bowl of cake batter. It tastes good up until the point you put in the wrong thing or one of the ingredients goes bad. If you are lucky, the offending part will be modular (think chocolate chips) and you can pick it out and try again. Otherwise, you will have to throw it out and start from scratch. Backup your local data and make use of internet-based apps so you have less data locally. Always be prepared for the possibility of complete loss.

No comments: