Friday, 12 April 2013

Now you know, why this kolaveri di !

Murderous rage is exactly what I am feeling for all "coders" at the moment. Noticing that a good rant has been somewhat long overdue on this blog and given that I think I have solved the answer to the famous question - why this kolaveri di  , I think this post is justified !

You see, a couple of days ago, Samsung released the new Android OS (cutely named Jelly Bean) for its smartphones in India. Yes I know, Jelly Bean is ancient news, but that's how long it takes for things to come to India. Yours truly's phone duly got updated.  And promptly lost all its screens, settings, etc etc. Having been a veteran of software upgrades from MS DOS (anybody remember) and having been burned a few zillion times, "kolaveri" had long given way to stoic resignation . But this one takes the cake.

Remember the prompt when you are trying to delete and move something - it asks you - are you sure and gives you the option of OK or Cancel ? Notice it next time when that comes - its always the OK button on the left and the Cancel button on the right. Well, the coders of Jelly Bean decided that they should transpose the buttons - we know have Cancel on the left and OK on the right ! Why oh why oh why oh why oh why??? Which brilliant mind thought of this ?? After a zillion times of pressing OK when I wanted to Cancel and vice versa, you can now start to figure out "why this kolaveri" ?

And of course, the grand daddy of them all, the upgrade to Windows 8. Terra bytes of lament have been written about the disappearance of the Start Button. But Windows 8 has millions of such "improvements" that give a new meaning to the word kolaveri. For instance, the place where you key in a website address ? - since browsers had been invented, they are at the top. Now, in Internet Explorer for Windows 8, some "brihaspati" has thought it fit to take it to the bottom. Grrrrrrrrrrr. The most counter intuitive piece of coder output, surely has to be Windows 8. No wonder kolaveri is rampant.

Which brings us to the vital question - are coders just plain dumb ? Don't companies like Microsoft or Google test anything out with actual consumers - people like you and me ? A 5 minute conversation with an 8 year old would have solved all the disasters of Windows 8.  Consumer goods companies test everything out with amazing painstaking care - even the length of the french fry and the angle at which it curls is tested for months (I am not kidding).  And then you have a Google which comes and transposes the OK and Cancel buttons. Ugh !

The pox on all dumb coders.

P.S For those not familiar with Tamil, kolaveri is loosely translated as murderous rage. If you are still wondering about my question, then you may be a fossil and ought to listen to this song !


gils said...

!!!! is this an outsourced post by thalai??? writing with reference to movie song!!!!

Ramesh said...

@Gils - All thanks to my guru, Swami Gilsananda :)

Prats said...

ROFL!!! I understand what you mean but I wouldn't blame the coders for this. Perhaps this strip by Scott Adams will illustrate the logic :-)

The Million Miler said...

The Kiwi version of JB has an interesting message when your filles are lost. The error message says 'file not found, would you like a pint of lager instead?' This was based on very detailed consumer research. Ha! Ha! Just kiddin

Ramesh said...

@ Prats - Ha Ha. With the solitary and creditable exception of Apple, My view is that the rest of the IT industry knows very little about consumer marketing. The coder and consumer seem to be like oil and water !

@Kiwi - Ha Ha Ha. Actually such humour would be far more of a reality if not for the propensity of gold diggers to sue companies for the most trivial of things.

Asha said...

LOL! the coders think differently.

Asha said...

@ gils - ungalukku competition vandacchu.(wrt to title)

Deepa said...

If you want some respite from the Kolaveri, this might soothe your nerves :D

Totally agree with you! I have a coder for a husband! :D :D

gils said...

coder!!! is tht the new lingo for developers!!! code adikaravan coder..test panravan tester...bug kandupudikaravan appo bugger??

Ramesh said...

@Asha - The coders think ????? I think that capability is beyond them !!!

@Deepa - Wow - you recommending a Tamil song ?? Simply amazed. LOL on the husband :)

@Gils - Absolutely right. Bugger, it is :)

Sriram Khé said...

I remember a technology writer's comment from a few years ago that software products are atrocious for the reason that the makers can, and do, sell them even when they know the products have lots of problems. He wanted software products to be like cars or other consumer products where when a company sells them aware of problems, well, we then turn around and sue the crap out of that company and that fear of the lawsuit alone keeps those manufacturers quality controlling 24x7.

Right from its beginnings, the software industry has set up a different yardstick for itself--we have all come to expect every new release to be filled with problems. We joke about them. We blog about our angst. It is very, very, bizarre how an entire industry--not just a firm or two--can operate this way!

Even worse is the implicit, and sometimes explicit, message that if users can't figure things out, then it is because users are stupid. As Jaron Lanier remarked, if we don't believe people are superior to the machines, then we will write bad software! Ultimately, software is not written for humans as much as being written to glorify "information." I liked how Lanier put it:

"I've aways felt that he human-centered approach to computer science leads to more interesting, more exotic, more wild, and more heroic adventures than the machine-supremacy approach, where information is the highest goal."

I don't expect the approach to software to change, which means we can expect more and more kolaveri ;)

Damn, why such a serious response, right? I should lighten up, way more ;)

Sandhya Sriram said...

I can't agree more. I haven't seen a single piece of software written intuitively except apple of course. I think it is a bit like the Abby awards. Ads that are created for awards. Codes written to show the creativity of the coder. Also people believe they carry the baton to "upgrade" users. Traditional economics calls this pitfalls of monopoly. If i could charge Microsoft every time i am subject to any inconvenience wouldn't they react differently. as specific to Microsoft we definitely need vendor independent OS. far fetched thought i guess

Ramesh said...

@sriram - Software can be written perfect but the problem is that it will cost way way more. Unlike a plane or a car where a mistake can have catastrophic consequences, software bugs are rarely life threatening. So we have all made the compromise for economy and are prepared to tolerate a little (lot) kolaveri !!

@Sandhya - Yes, Apple stands unique in this. But my hypothesis is that homo sapiens coderensis is incapable of consumer marketing - the two skill seem to be mutually exclusive.

Appu said...

Ha Ha :) I think JB coming late has got lot to do with other factors than the country! manufacturer, telco etc. Hmm may be they were trying to get sued for copying hence they transposed it.

Earlier, Apple used to do customer testing. First they started with "DO IT" for "OK" on consumer testing they found people read DO IT as DOLT and they took offense![i am mentioning this in detail in my Steve Jobs book #shameless plug] Nowadays there are rumors that Apple doesn't do customer testing. May be others wanted to follow Apple.

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