Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Actually, No, Stuff Used To Work

I see this sentiment on Twitter all the time:

The link's to a story about the surprising incompetence of Apple's new music streaming service.

But the first computational device, the abacus, was invented around 2400BC. And we've been storing programs on hardware since 1948. So, either software is not still in its infancy, or it's been in that infancy for a very long time. If anything, software seems to get more infantile with every passing generation.

In fact, even as recently as a few decades ago, software companies used to have things called "QA departments" whose whole reason for existing was to make sure that everything worked all the time.

Software is not in its infancy. Software is in a period of decadence, characterized both by unprecedented power and wealth, and by staggeringly low standards. In its past, software put a man on the moon. The most magnificent computers of that time were weaker than the computers in an actual toaster today. It wasn't the hardware, it wasn't the complexity of the software. It was the QA department, and the seriousness of the mission.