On my iPad, I’m reading a discussion on LinkedIn. A reply piques my interest, and I want to alert a colleague to it. I tap on the dots in the upper right. The options offered are are “Message (the author of the reply)”, “Share via…”, and “Report”. I tap on “Share via…” Nothing happens.
I move to my computer, and go to the same reply. The three dots in the upper right here give a different set of options: “Copy Link to Comment” and “Report”. So, I choose “Copy link to comment”.
I go to Skype (where my colleague is more likely to be actively online). As I go in, I note a badge indicating three chats that presumably need attention. Yet there are no unanswered chats that I can find.
I write a brief note to my colleage, paste the copied link into the chat window, and press the Send button. The status of the message goes to “Sending”, and the little wheel to the left of the message spins… forever.
All right; I’ll restart Skype, so I close it by pressing the X in the upper right, and start it again. But it doesn’t really re-start, because it didn’t really close.
I go to Task Manager. I don’t see Skype as a running foreground process. I’d like to find it quickly. After a couple of decades, though, Task Manager still doesn’t have a Search function.
So I scroll down. There are seven instances of Skype in the list, all labelled identically as “Skype” six with blue icons, and one with a green icon. I start killing the blue ones. I then wonder… what if I killed the green one? I do, and all the other blue ones disappear, suggesting that they are sub-processes of the green one — but nothing in Task Manager suggests that.
Having killed all of the Skype processes, I restart Skype. The three-open-chats badge is still there, and the message is still spinning its wheels. I have to right-cclick on it and choose “Remove” to make it go away.
Meanwhile in the middle of all this, the same colleague has contacted me via a Skype call. That worked. But when I try to send a text message to him… “Sending…”, and nothing happens.
(The next day: the problem persists; Skype is failing in the same way, and not sending any messages to anyone. I try to uninstall Skype. This goes quickly. As uninstallation finishes, it posts this dialog:
Which elements? Removed manually how?)
None of these problems is significant on its own. Each one, though, is a little irritant that either slows down productive work or stymies it entirely. Since many of us are using software most of the day, could this explain why individual people and society at large seem so impatient and short-tempered these days?
Software feels like this set of time-wasting, incoherent, unusable user interfaces to giant Jenga towers, mounted in a bowls of Jello.
Is that because we’re too busy trying to solve the next problem before we’ve made sure that we’re finished solving the last one?
1 reply to “Just Another Day at the Computer (2)”
This is a fantastic example of “why didn’t you catch that bug?” NOT because someone before release didn’t think of it, or test it. Maybe they did. Maybe it passed,, then broke the next day andthe “unit test” stayed green because no one reset the constraint. Maybe it failed but was No Repro, or triaged as low risk in light of other more important things the small, overworked team needed to focus on.
Most likely, it was released into a vast untestable ecosystem of platforms, topologies, frameworks, other software, middleware, and even old versions of itself — because these days you don’t uninstall and reinstall new versions — you slipstream them.
And, as it slips into the stream, it requests space to exist OR impolitely demands it, pulling rank… but losing, like two people going through the same revolving door cell at the same time.