People expect technology to suck because it actually sucks

Jay Sitter in his article People expect technology to suck writes about people who keep using tech despite heavy annoyances like very dim screen or constant popups and not doing anything about it. He concludes:

If my screen were at 5% brightness, or if I couldn’t use my phone without hitting “Cancel” every five seconds, I’d spend hours or days on Google trying to find a solution if that’s what it took. That these people mostly just lived with it means that these problems couldn’t have been markedly worse than technology has already been for them historically.

These examples are a bit extreme, but it is important to remember that they are real. This is not an exaggregation. This happened.

In discussion on Twitter people keep replying that those users should’ve:

And I would agree: if it was just a single case, of course, they should’ve done something about it! The point is, this happens all the time, every day, multiple times a day, and one person can dedicate only so much time to dealing with it. The stream of minor annoyances is so large people just got tired of dealing with it! And no, there’re no better alternatives.

To prove my point, I decided to record every broken interaction I had during one day. Here’s the full list I wrote yesterday, September 24, 2020:

On iPhone:

On macOS:

Web:

Apple TV:

This all happened on a single random day! And not a particularly busy one. And I didn’t include anything I did for work that day (VirtualBox alone can produce a list like this in 20 minutes). And I am a professional software developer with 20 years behind the screen every day, learning how to tame it. I imagine I have my setup already organized way more thoroughly than an average person. I am also using the most expensive Apple products and staying strictly inside the Apple ecosystem.

If I decided to invest time into thinning this list down, I could theoretically do what? Update some software somewhere so I can charge my iPhone without a popup showing every time? Buy a new MacBook that works with the monitor? I guess I can do something about Hammerspoon, although I already invested two hours into it and didn’t solve it. But I have a feeling it’s solvable.

Anyways, that will reduce this list from 27 down to 24! At least 24 annoyances per day I have to live with. That’s the world WE ALL are living in now. Welcome.

Hi!

I’m Nikita. Here I write about programming and UI design Subscribe

I also create open-source stuff: Fira Code, AnyBar, DataScript and Rum. If you like what I do and want to get early access to my articles (along with other benefits), you should support me on Patreon.