glASS HOuses

Using an operating system, programming language, or API for the first time is frustrating. Things don't work the way you'd expect! But stick with it long enough and you grow familiar. Rough edges seem smoother because you're aware of them.

Jack Shedd was frustrated with Android for the first time. He even called it an asshole!
... I discovered software I could find no way to uninstall; programs which hung around after I was done with them with no way to quit I could find; interfaces which featured tiny poorly placed buttons near impossible to click without concentration; inconsistent search functionality where the “it’s right there on the phone” search button worked or didn’t work or did work but not as you’d think it’d work.
These are legitimate problems that should be addressed in Android. But this isn't some damning, intractable systematic problem. It's a handful of papercuts.

Papercuts like these exist in all shipping operating systems; mobile and otherwise. Android users react similarly when they use iPhones. "Holy fuck! There's no back button!" was my own first reaction.

When fanboys like Jack suggest that problems like these don't exist on Apple devices, it's because he's acclimatized to his favourite device's flaws...
  • To Jack, it's obvious that iPhone Mail cannot be uninstalled, but shockingly bad UI that Android Mail has the same behavior.
  • He knows that clicking the close button on Mac OS X will dismiss the window without quitting the app. But when Android behaves similarly, he's outraged!
  • When a Mac shows the same search icon in both Spotlight (local disk) and Safari (Internet), that's elegant. On a Droid, this wasn't expected!

Software is complex. Running unfamiliar programs can be frustrating. But if you condemn a program because it doesn't work just as you expect, you're being an asshole.


swankjesse said...

Space background courtesy webtreats flickr photostream.

Nabeel Ali Memon said...

LOL!... I just went through this guy's blog and he seems to have been paid to write such things. Some of his arguments like:
"Every “unique to Android” feature seems, at best, a technological demo."
seem absolutely wrong. Infact things unique to Android are technological marvel. And yes iphone users never really got what multi-tasking is and maybe they never will.

Josh Monroe said...

I don't think he is referring to removing Android's mail application. I would bet that he is referring to applications that the carrier might have pre-loaded to push their services. Because when the carriers and device manufacturers hear "Open OS" they think "Open for us to screw with, brand, lock down".

I would say that 60% or more of the problems I have with using an Android phone are a result of carriers and carriers "customizing" the OS and no one shipping Android hardware with anywhere near the build quality of an iPhone. This is why the ONLY Android phone that I have even considered is a Nexus One.

Jack Shedd said...

Only, I make it pretty clear, I'm not an iPhone user. I'm a Pre user.

But other than that, man, you nailed me.