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Software Criticism

Software Criticism

First delivered at the iOSoho meet up.

Software Criticism makes an argument that a critical perspective is what will make software better.

This talk was inspired by an article I wrote with the same title. https://medium.com/lets-make-things/bf05622cd7fe

Matthew Bischoff

January 14, 2014

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  1. – Winston Churchill “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it

    is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
  2. @mb

  3. • Art Critic. • Film Critic. • Music Critic. •

    Literature Critic. • Television Critic. • Architecture Critic. • Software Critic?
  4. ?


    BARRON'S PORTFOLIO DJX THE SHOPS MORE ESSAY Why Software Is Eating The World A Fitting Football Final Four 1 of 12 Baseball's A-Rod Victory Is a Pyrrhic O... 2 of 12 49ers Versus Seahawks: The Hate Begins ... 3 of 12 Manning, Broncos Beat Chargers 4 of 12 August 20, 2011 This week, Hewlett-Packard (where I am on the board) announced that it is exploring jettisoning its struggling PC business in favor of investing more heavily in software, where it sees better potential for growth. Meanwhile, Google plans to buy up the cellphone handset maker Motorola Mobility. Both moves surprised the tech world. But both moves are also in line with a trend I've observed, one that makes me optimistic about the future growth of the American and world economies, despite the recent turmoil in the stock market. In short, software is eating the world. More than 10 years after the peak of the 1990s dot-com bubble, a dozen or so new Internet companies like Facebook and Twitter are sparking controversy in Silicon Valley, due to their rapidly growing private market valuations, and even the occasional successful IPO. With scars from the heyday of Webvan and Pets.com still fresh in the investor psyche, people are asking, "Isn't this just a dangerous new bubble?" I, along with others, have been arguing the other side of the case. (I am co-founder and general partner of venture capital firm Andreessen-Horowitz, which has invested in In an interview with WSJ's Kevin Delaney, Groupon and LinkedIn investor Marc Andreessen insists that the recent popularity of tech companies does not constitute a bubble. He also stressed that both Apple and Google are undervalued and that "the market doesn't like tech." What's This? Popular Now ARTICLES Arctic Passage Opens Challenges for U.S. Military 1 Opinion: Ari Fleischer: How to Fight Income Inequality: Get Married 2 The 'Gamification' of the Office 3 TOP STORIES IN LIFE & CULTURE By MARC ANDREESSEN Email Print Comments Save News, Quotes, Companies, Videos SEARCH
  6. – Kyle Neath “We’ve become obsessed with process and tools.

    We’ve stopped caring about the product.”
  7. jasonkincaid.net less style, some substance Evernote, the bug-ridden elephant To

    say this post pains me would be an understatement. More than any other technology, Evernote is part of me, having evolved from habit to instinct over several years and nearly seven thousand notes. Every day ideas flit through my head, ideas for essays, for characters, for jokes. Just now I catch a glimpse of one, without thinking I am talking into my phone like a Star Trek Communicator, telling myself that maybe I should title this post Leaky Sync. Maybe not. Because I use it so often, I am unusually familiar with the service’s warts. Evernote’s applications are glitchy to the extreme; they often feel as if they’re held together by the engineering equivalent of duct tape. Browser extensions crash, text cursors leap haphazardly across the screen — my copy of Evernote’s image editor Skitch silently failed to sync for months because I hadn’t updated to the new version. Most issues are benign enough, but the apps are so laden with quirks that I’ve long held a deep- seated fear that perhaps some of my data has not been saved, that through a syncing error, an accidental overwrite — some of these ideas have been forgotten. As of last month, I am all but sure of it. I’ve been learning how to write songs. It’s terrifying because I stink, so I trick myself, diddling around without actually intending to record anything. With any luck I reach a fugue state, vaguely listening for my fingers to do something interesting; sometimes instinct steers me toward the green elephant’s ‘record’ button and I play for a while. And so I find myself on December 5, when a meandering session results in an 18 minute Evernote audio recording on my iPhone labeled “not bad halfway through” — high praise, for me. Some of the chord changes are sheer luck, no idea what I did but they sounded good the first time. I decide to give it another listen with more discerning ears, self-loathing eagerly waiting in the wings. And — nothing. Zero seconds out of zero seconds. It’s a blank file. Alarmed, I tap record again, make another note. It won’t play, either. Another. This one works. One more. Zero out of zero. I check the Wifi signal (fine). I let the phone sit for a while to sync, just in case. I head to the web app, which — thankfully — shows the note intact, with its attachment as an 8.7 megabyte .m4a file. I try to open it in iTunes — it shrugs. Quicktime spits an error. Time to bust out the big guns. VLC. Subscribe Subscribe:: [email protected] Sign up Follow Follow 28.7K followers Follow Home About Contact Video

    LATEST PRODUCT UPDATES TIPS + GUIDES COMMUNITY PARTNERS OUR NOTES The Evernote Blog On Software Quality and Building a Better Evernote in 2014 Our Notes | 04 Jan 2014 | By Phil Libin Tweet Tweet 1,035 476 Like Like 519 I got the wrong sort of birthday present yesterday: a sincerely-written post by Jason Kincaid lamenting a perceived decline in the quality of Evernote software over the past few months. I could quibble with the specifics, but reading Jason’s article was a painful and frustrating experience because, in the big picture, he’s right. We’re going to fix this. The past couple of years have been an amazing time for Evernote. We’ve grown massively as a company, a community and a product. And we’re still growing quickly. However, there comes a time in a booming startup’s life when it’s important to pause for a bit and look in rather than up. When it’s more important to improve existing features than to add new ones. More important to make our existing users happier than to just add more new users. More important to focus on our direction than on our speed. This is just common sense, but startups breathe growth and intentionally slowing down to focus on details and quality doesn’t come naturally to many of us. Despite this, the best product companies in the world have figured out how to make constant quality improvements part of their essential DNA. Apple and Google and Amazon and Facebook and Twitter and Tesla know how to do this. So will we. This is our central theme for 2014: constant improvement of the core promise of Evernote. This isn’t something we just decided yesterday. We kicked off a company-wide effort to improve quality a couple of months ago. The precipitating factor was the frustrating roll-out of our iOS 7 version. We gained many new users, but rushing to completely rebuild the app for the new platform resulted in stability problems that disproportionally hit longer-term customers, including ourselves. Since all Evernote employees are power users by definition, no one is more motivated to make Evernote better just for the sake of our own productivity and sanity. I’ve never seen people happier to just fix bugs. Quality improvements are the sort of thing that you ought to show, not just talk about, so we hadn’t planned on discussing this theme until closer to the end of 2014. However, Jason’s article hit too close to home to leave unremarked, so I decided to be up front about what we’ve done in the past few months and what we’re going to do in the next few. Staffing Today, there are 164 engineers and designers working at Evernote. About 150 of them are currently assigned to our core software products. The total number will increase quite a bit in 2014, but the proportion will stay the same: over 90% of our resources will go towards improving our core experiences. Past Two Months: Stability Starting last November, our first priority was to drastically improve the stability and performance of our main apps, especially for long-term users with many notes. We’ve made significant progress, New to Evernote? Get started Connect with us Sign up for news and updates RSS Feeds Email Listen to our latest podcast Our Other Blogs Global Evernote Blogs Tech Blog Français Deutsch Italiano  ೠҴয Português (Brasil) Русский Español Español (LatAm)    Türkçe
  9. Sloppy UI It's all about intellectual honesty, not trolling. Talk

    to us: @sloppyui or [email protected] Brought to you by Hull.io Archive Submit Gee, thanks, Windows. Why is this in the programs list if it’s already gone? GitHub for Windows: when you discard a changeset, the undo bar obscures the bottommost entry (and you can’t see it by scrolling). Unfollow Unfollow Dashboard Dashboard
  10. — Jeff Bezos “If you never want to be criticized,

    for goodness’s sake don’t do anything new.”