The curse of complexity

Farhad Manjoo at Slate: The year’s worst tech trend: complexity

People who write about technology for a living are fundamentally different from those who don’t, and we know it: We’re obsessed with gadgets, and we’re prepared to invest time learning complicated things if the payoff looks grand. But we also know that the real audience for tech products is non-techies—or normals, as they’re called in the business—and we’re instantly taken by anything that promises to demystify tech for those users. That’s why tech journalists love Apple, and why the last half-decade has been such an exciting time in the business. Over the last few years, the industry finally started paying attention to normals: With the advent of smartphones, tablets, and centralized app and media stores, it looked like computers would finally become easy enough for every tech reviewer’s mom to use.

As he notes, the major players—Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon—have competing interests that prevent them from creating technologies that truly work together.

Thoughtful piece, well worth reading.

One thought on “The curse of complexity

  1. Bingo! When is the IT world going to realize that complexity stinks. Even for us IT folks. Sure, Apple has it figured out, but far from perfected. They still can’t do 90% of what Windows does. But, why does the full experience have to be complicated?!?!!

    Example: I tried to help in the setup some of the nice features on a Windows Server 2008 R2 domain a few weeks ago. We finally had to give up on about 1/2 of them due to their complexity and additional requirements that I still don’t understand why they were needed. In the end: TOO COMPLEX! Some of these features should litterally be “on” or “off”, not the 100 steps it takes to ensure they work properly. Granted, many Windows Server features are far more easier to setup than in past. But newer features seem to have really “gone off the deep end!” in their complexity and requirements.

    (Don’t ask me details because I already washed my head of the needlessness of the whole experience…)

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