Tech Torture: Email Clients

September 13, 2022

I read an amusing article called “A Microsoft User Raged against Outlook. Microsoft Lovers Fought Back.” The main idea for the article is that new go to source for real news — TikTok. The video in question presents one user of Microsoft’s Outlook email client. I vaguely recall using Outlook which would self destruct when a file exceeded the software’s mental capacity. Abandon ship! Yep, no more Outlook.

Here’s the article’s killer sentence for me:

The most poignant — and surely important — commentary came with these simple words: “Google is no better. I don’t know why none of them can work after this many years.”

The author of the write up asks an interesting question:

Could it be, in fact, that there’s a desperate need for a radical rethinking of our simplest, most important enterprise software, so that we can’t be twisting toward the Department of Doolally on a daily basis?

Why is some modern software almost impossible to use? I sat down this morning (September 11, 2022) and jotted down some reasons. You may not find my musing helpful, but — hey — that’s okay. IDC which is dinobaby speak for “I don’t care.” Here goes:

  1. As staff turnover, quiet quits, whatever, the replacements have to justify their “value” by changing one of more things.
  2. Mobile software development people have little or no appreciation for the value of interfaces which do not state change, respond to arbitrary gestures, or use incomprehensible icons rarely seen in the history of man, including cuneiform writing.
  3. Teams which really don’t care much about a product because the big bonuses come from the hot new thing keenly desired by management. As a result, spectacularly inept and just plain stupid ideas are implemented. The managers don’t use the product. The team members don’t use the product. The software developers don’t use the product or care much about managers or team members.
  4. Regression to the norm. Over time smart companies become stupid. Examples range from anti union actions in order to keep employees who believe that no one cares about them to a company yapping about racial diversity terminating a high profile minority female.

Why do people care about email clients? Maybe these individuals cannot function without digital crutches. My reaction to those who love or hate a piece of software: “Oh, poor baby.”

Stephen E Arnold, September 13, 2022


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