my friend mika and I get into these interesting discussions sometimes. One such discussion that became worthy of blogging about, is the general state of technology. I like to use the phrase 'half-assing it' but he prefers the more elegant phrase 'consciously careless'.
Before I start discussing (and this is something that does not end with a single post, hence the title Part 1 of X) the actual topic, perhaps a simple definition for the fresh recruits - Consciously Careless (CC) or Half Assing is a term that I would like to coin, which refers to the attitude of developers build something (half assedly) now, and then 'hope' to fix the many, sometimes known, issues later.
Let me dig a little deeper into that now. As always, I will start with an example. Instead of using someone else's example, I will start with my own example. A long time ago, I built this app called alert nildana. As of now, the servers of the alert nildana app as well as the web site no longer work. It's a project that has been sun set. However, even back when the app asset's were alive, the app did not do everything it claimed to do. I was in such a hurry to publish it, I skipped on even the most basic features, basic testing, basic UI and basic everything and released it anyway. I was aware that the app lacks the essential stuff, but I simply did not care.
I simply told myself that, I should release the app, and then 'fix it as time goes'. In other words, I was half-assing the whole thing. In additional, other words, I was consciously careless. The reasons for this are many, but I dont wish to give excuses. There are many times in my life when I own up to my mistakes, and this is one of those times. I made a mistake. I was suffering from CC and I let it dictate the life cycle of my product.
We see the effects of CC all around us. Everyday I am now forced to use applications that are only half-built.
For instance, I remember when my favorite mail app on android, the Outlook mail app, could not attach more than one attachments. In fact, it could not do that for months after it was officially released. Even at the time of this writing, the outlook mail app cannot open emails that are more than a few months old, especially if you were to search for it. that's right. A huge company such as Microsoft, the company that I love and adore, is cheerfully sitting on an app that cannot even open old mails. This is the same company that gave the world and continues to give the Office suite of applications, applications on which the entire world's productivity depends on.
Then, I remember how horribly optimized Android Studio was. That thing took ages, even on an high end machine to build and deploy almost anything! Then, when you realize that the this is the official IDE of the most used operating system in the world, you begin to see a pattern.
Think about that for a moment.
This is what happens when CC is in full effect. Another side effect of CC is that, it puts a lot of emphasis on 'status quo'. In this case, the idea is to let things be, simply because it is working 'just fine'. Perhaps the biggest example of this is what is happening in the smartphone industry for the last few years. Every year, phone companies make claims that the next big announcement from them will change the world. Then, when the actual announcement happens, it is usually the following.
- more RAM (like 1 GB more!)
- better processor (oh my god! the processor is like 2 percent faster!)
- larger screen (now with 10 extra pixels per inch!)
- vague claims like, 'the best phone camera' in the world! I mean, who is going to verify that?
- stuff like, your phone will now use less local storage because we will uploading everything to the cloud. Wow, what an innovation! Uploading files to the cloud! I have never heard of that before.
Other than that, there really is nothing else to showcase. Almost every manufacturers phone looks so identical, they might as well be designed by one person in one single room. Perhaps, there is not much innovation left to do in the smart phone space. If so, the phone making folks should just admit it. Alternatively, perhaps, not much effort has been put in innovation because the people with power are just happy with 'status quo'. They consciously don't care if the last time they put something innovative out there was ages ago. As long as the bottom line is green, everything else can go to hell.
I cannot change stuff like this. I am but a lowly developer who earns just enough to pay his bills. Further, nor do have any influence over other developers who can move the earth.
However, i can self-promise a few things. I can promise that what meager projects that are conducted by study nildana, CC will no longer have an influence. study nildana will 'build to last' instead of 'build and fix later'. Further, once we have something that is build to last, we will strive with whatever god given capacity we have, to come up with something new.
May the force be with us.