I was half way through a very thoughtful post on home automation, but my delightful trip to the Apple store derailed me. Couple that with an article I saw on Tech Crunch yesterday where an old Apple IIc was booted up after being turned off for 20 years and you can guess where I'm going.
Basically I could not restore a perfectly working iPad 2 with the latest iOS release (with the latest iTunes release). It is now bricked with an error code "9" during a restore operation. I knew in advance my trip to see the Apple Genius was not going to be good.
Here's what really pissed me off. The Genius started off by saying the iPad was old and will only last for 4 years anyway. WTF? Do they teach these people to say this? Products don't rot like old fruit ... well it is Apple. Then they said it was a hardware failure. I don't buy it. My guess is shitty software, but I can't prove that either. But I was offered to buy a new one at full price. I offered to leave the iPad with them, since it is a useless brick now ... they didn't have a use for it either.
I really try to only bring products that bring joy into my life, but as I look around me I'm reminded about how far we need to go. Both on the product side and even more importantly on the customer service side. I keep coming back to the, "It will only last 4 years." comment. Why do you say that right off the bat and completely ruin your credibility?
Why do we accept to put the bar so low when building products?
- Are the business leaders so clueless to demand crap MVP products that engineers blindly deliver before the threatened beating?
- Are the products so full of crap open source code with gapping security holes that no one knows where to begin to look to fix it?
- Are the systems just so complex now where nobody has a clue on how the whole thing works?
- Is it an lazy strategy to force the obsolescence of products without compelling improved features?
From my vantage point, the responsibility lays on the engineer to stop this madness and start building better stuff. Push back if your company culture doesn't value this. This madness has to stop. And provide better tools to the customer facing people. I'll tell you that they have a really tough job when faced with a grumpy, snarky & informed asshole like me. Jeez this just makes me sick.
Peace out. I feel better now.