Personal Update 201410 | 31 October 2014 | Friday
I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.
This past month I’ve been spending most of my time posting articles on my technology website IowaCityTechnologyServices.com.
I’ve been seeing what seems like a trend, not just with technology specifically, but systems and processes in general. I’m seeing is an increase in system failures. In the area of product design (software and hardware) it seems that even the most rudimentary product testing hasn’t been done. Usability issues that just about anyone would notice and encounter in the first few minutes of using a product have been overlooked by the developers and testers.
For example, with the release of Apple Yosemite (Apple’s new operating system), basic software programs and processes that people use daily don’t work or work poorly. There are user interface problems or quirks. These aren’t the expected bugs one finds in any new product. Some have existed in previous versions as well. This is significant because it shows that even Apple, a company that is thought to specialize in quality design, is now showing signs of not thoroughly thinking through and testing their hardware and software designs. One expects to encounter problems with low-end products, but not with premium products.
When you go to the online Apple community support forum, you’ll find thousands of people having the same problems. It’s not a user issue. It’s a design issue. Sometimes these crowds of consumers complain about a problem for months before something is done about it.
I’m finding what seems to be an increase in poor practices among companies in general. Decisions are made that favor efficiency and profits over quality or the human impact. Practices are established that are short-sighted. Customer service has been replaced by online community forums where customers must help each other. Companies are dumping untested and poorly designed products on the market and then expecting consumers to fend for themselves as they discover flaws and find solutions. Quality design and thorough testing are replaced by relying on the crowd-sourcing of consumer feedback and frustrations. Then, in the 2.0 version of something, the company fixes the things that consumers identified — often taking the consumers’ collective intellectual property and then patenting it as their own. Then, they sue their competitors over those same innovations.
I’ve reported about some of these issues on my consumer advocacy website, ConsumerDefenseResourceGroup.com.
In general, what all this means is that it takes longer to get things done these days. As a technical support person, I probably see more of these issues and notice when they are wide-spread. For example, a common practice among Internet service providers is to charge a premium rate for faster Internet service, but deliver performance that’s only 10% of what’s promised. It takes multiple calls and service requests to fix the problem, and then over time, the poor quality returns. I’ve seen this happen with multiple clients of mine. In those cases, I put on my consumer advocacy hat (as well as my technologist hat) and fight for the consumer’s right to get what they have been paying for, and be reimbursed for what they weren’t given.
I’m going to continue documenting these product design flaws and consumer issues. I think it helps people who might have otherwise felt they were alone in their frustrations with poorly designed products and poor consumer practices.
In my next update I’ll cover more news beyond technology and consumer issues.
Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.
Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began as a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways, health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.