Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Annoyed with Software? Beta or STFU

Yes, that “ds0934” comment is from moi (that’s French for “this dumbass who blabbers on this blog”)

There are quite a few things that get me spun up.  I go a fair job of suppressing that in the workplace.  Most people I work with think I’m some mild-mannered goober, but a quick run through a phone booth and I emerge as “cranky-ass Dave”.  I do enjoy a good rant.  But my rants almost always offer a solution.  Usually, it’s my shtick about people standing around watching a house burning while they have buckets of water all around their feet.  Inaction.  Apathy.  Laziness.  Doh!!!!  G********it that pisses me off.

If you use a product, and have complaints or wish it could just do a little more than it does, at least take a few minutes to check and see if the vendor has some channel for communicating your concerns.  Almost all of them have a “Contact Us” web page.  Some have “info@” or “Support@” e-mail addresses.  Some, especially larger corporate-type, software vendors (even hardware vendors) have “beta” or “community” programs for testing new concepts prior to marketing them.  Microsoft has supported one of the best such programs for over a decade.  Lately however, they have become somewhat less than ideal, but nonetheless, they still have the programs in operation.

So does Adobe, Autodesk, Symantec, IBM, Oracle, even WinZip!

This is the same as people that bitch about government, yet when you ask when they last wrote to their representative (or called, or emailed, etc.) they hem and haw.  Even most that claim they have simply cannot recall the specifics (note: if you’re fired up enough to sit down and form a message to a government official, you’re likely going to remember what it was about and when you did it).

This reminds me of some guys at a former “place of work” sitting around bitching about some particular racial/ethnic group “having so many damn kids that they’re ‘taking over’ the country”.  After hearing “taking over” a dozen times, I had to step in and ask “so, how many kids do you have?”  Not one of them had any kids.  Funny how quickly that conversation got quiet. 

I have no idea where I’m going with this, but the point on the top of my head is telling me that you should speak up, but only when you can aim your concerns in the right direction and craft them in an appropriate form.  That’s right, an “appropriate form”.  Speak in an appropriate “tone” and using the appropriate “language” to suit the topic AND whom you are talking to.  Keep the emotions tempered.  Shooting fire only puts up defenses.  If you want to really communicate, and I’m sure you do, you will take the time to do it right.  But sitting back and blabbering complaints in all directions does nothing but annoy the shit out of those around you.

If you have a complaint, offer a practical solution or just STFU.

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