Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Friday, December 24, 2004  

Unplanned unreliability

American Digest attacks computers for all the right and usual reasons, but I finally realized after pulling out the last of my hair in despair over lost work, some bug, or OS destroying worm that everything is going acording to schedule. Van der Leun sites the classic analogy:

If General Motors were to release an automobile whose steering wheel froze without warning, whose engine took three minutes to load and start itself and then came to a halt when turning left and going downhill five percent of the time, whose windshield suddenly went from clear to black, whose trunk made ten percent of the things put inside disappear forever, whose radio went on and off without warning, and whose passenger compartment came with a dog that ate homework daily, and whose Owner's Guide was the size of a phone book printed in Farsi, would the consumers of the world line up in droves screeching Feed Me!?

The trouble is, Ford (and others) did exactly that when they first built cars. They were completely unreliable for decades. Remember the first TVs? All those tubes? And the horizontal hold which did not? Remember the static during the World's Series obliterating the picture?

Computer technology has hardly begun to sort itself out in terms of standardization and reliability.

My first computer was a CX5M Yamaha music computer. It had 32K RAM. The software was on cartridges you plugged into it. It worked perfectly. Never locked up, crashed, lost data, or anything. It's very limitations determined its perfection since the programs being ROM had to be perfectly designed to use the tiny amount of memory it had. I miss that computer. It was clunky but it wasn't slow, and it did everything it had to well.

All the computers that followed could have been built like that - with modular software that was perfect - but they weren't. Competition in one sense ruined computers. The rush to ramp up every part of a computer with out of synch developments all occurring at light speed guaranteed the mess we all know and hate so well (Every OS Sucks?).

We are starting to reach the necessary limits, though. Most computer users have all the power, speed, and applications they need. All they need now is to have them all work flawlessly all the time.

But the gaming industry (and video users - especially porn makers) continue to ramp up everything for the sake of more, better, coolest.

I don't know when people will make an indestructible 57 Chevy again that is easy to use and fix. Here's hoping it's in your lifetime.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 11:56 AM |