Having had a stressful week, I tried to relax tonight with the solo campaign of Titanfall 2 and a couple of drams and got a wee bit past the intro of the game before I gave up on the enterprise because my keyboard was acting up and I got stuck in a loop of reading forums, downloading updates and hunting buttons in settings.
I became so upset about playing a game on my Win10 station that I couldn’t continue playing but rather wrote this screed while drinking whisky and listening to angry music. Why the flying fuck can’t I get the keyboard to work as it ought? I press a key and the predicteably corresponding action doesn’t happen because maybe my fucking keyboard needs some fucking drivers which I can’t find any way of updating so that it behaves with a minimun of keyboard decorum?
I won’t pretend that this isn’t a I-hate-Windows rant, because that’s what it is. But let’s prepend this by saying that my hatred is justly spread across all platforms, distributed in equal amount based on how well they succeed on being user friendly vs. how user friendly they say they are. So GNU/Linux apps don’t get my hackles up as they’re often a messy piece of unfriendly software to begin with, so I know going in that I’m gonna spend a couple of hours reading -man pages and forums.
Here’s my point: I’ve been using computers since the Mac Plus. I remember when friends made fun of me because the Mac wasn’t a real computer because you didn’t have to load mouse drivers off of floppies before you could use the mouse. I remember that the Macintosh GUI was the assumed abstraction of what the computer was doing, rather than a CLI.
I know this is arbitrary, but the thing is that Apple made sure that they were consistent in their arbitrariness, and to some extent more or less tried to stay true to it, while MS (and GNU/Linux, BSD, etc) have the philosophy of the GUI metaphor tacked on (“to help the idiots” as it seems) and it just doesn’t work the way I think it ought. (Of course, OSX is far removed from the origins of Macintosh System. The reason I know my way around it is because it’s similar enough to what I’m used to)
I know that each computer system has its own idiosyncrasies, that nothing is as straightforward as it says it is, and that we (computer folk) have devolved into trench warfare fan-groups who don’t care about a productive way forward, only that the other team looks a bigger fool than we when it comes down to which platform we enjoy working on (or dislike the least, as it were).
Back in the day I remember reading the introduction to AppleTalk which began with a chapter understandable to teenage me. There was a genuine attempt at presenting a reason for why stuff was organized the way it was, and why there was a hierarchy of organization: These are the rules because of these reasons. There might be reasons why you as a developer might want to do this differently, and yours might be a more efficient way of doing it, but we’re not going to allow it because it’ll break too much stuff for everyone else.
Here’s the thing: Using MS Windows isn’t beyond anyones ken, it works for the most part; If you are of the mentality that “shit happens, computers are computas brah!” then yeah, I feel you, my beef isn’t with you. My beef is with all the shits at all the fucking support forums, Reddit, and every-fucking-other-forum who insist that “well you should have downloaded this particular driver to get this particular update option, and then disable that utility and check this box in that property setting” and treat such suggestions as those of a sane person. This approach isn’t a reasonable solution to anything but learning by rote. And learning by rote is for fucking idiots or for people stuck in a maze constructed by a vengeful Greek God!
I used Macintosh since 6.0.4. It wasn’t a simple system to learn by a long-shot, but it was sort of consistent. If this doesn’t work, check settings. If that doesn’t work, you might reset PRAM. If that doesn’t work, you’re out of luck until the next update. Once I started using ResEdit and playing with MacsBug I knew I was on my own and wasn’t annoyed with anyone but myself when I crashed the computer.
So Mac OS was more limiting than a more ‘allowing’ system, which might seem like a bad thing, which in the short term it is, but if you think further than your stupid idiot nose you realize that once you open up for developers to circumvent your layers of abstraction, every fucking developer will do so because well now we can have drivers for fucking RGB keyboards with their own shortcuts and I’m stuck here with an expensive fucking keyboard which lags and there’s no simple way for me to troubleshoot it because the Logitech forums are assfucked to shit, and Google doesn’t have enough hands for each SEO dick relevant to the issue and I’m stuck!
I’d much rather be tenfold limited in my selection of OS & peripherals customization than having to deal with this absolute abhorrent clusterfuck presented as progress. When I want to be on a bleeding edge of customization I use a *nix distro. Those can be a horrible pain in the butt and the support forums are full of holier-than-thou well why not just read the -man pages you moran people on Stackoverflow or whatever, but at least they don’t carry the same pretense of being simple to understand and “user friendly.” I can deal with annoying fanboys. What I can’t deal with is Logitech, Microsoft, Adobe, whoeverthefuck, which presents a glossy surface and pays lip service to “user friendliness” while punting me sideways as soon as something throws up an error – ooh, must not be us, please check these n things in your system first.
Do you realize how many really small applications or system additions recommend that you reformat your drive and reinstall your system if you’re having trouble? That should not a realistic recommendation for anyone but the bleeding edge folks – unless of course the OS ecology isn’t as stable as the marketers would like you to believe. But then that would make liars out of them, wouldn’t it?
At this point, I’d actually rather have the Fallout 4 computer network for intermittent email, and use analogue systems for everything else. Seriously, let’s redo this whole “digitization” thing. One more time from the top – erasing Jobs, Gates and Stallman, let’s rethink how all these “computers” are supposed to work, why don’t we?