Quit Complaining!

There’s a problem in the tech industry. It’s a problem that seems to be getting more and more prevalent, or maybe I’m just noticing it more and more, but either way, it’s getting really irritating. The problem is that everybody is complaining about everything all the time.

Look, I get it. People want things to be as good as they possibly can be. And I know how small things can be really big annoyances. But still. I think that people need to focus more on the positive. Here’s some examples.

First of all, let’s talk about Apple’s new “Find My Friends” app. Basically, FMF lets you track other iPhones from your iPhone so that you know where the people holding them are. It’s basically for families at Disney World or whatever, but I can also see how it would be useful for jealous men and/or women who want to know if their wives/girlfriends/husbands/boyfriends are cheating on them. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. The real reason I bring it up is because of the design.

FMF is decked out in a faux leather motif that Apple apparently refers to as “rich Corinthian leather”. Personally, I find it… inoffensive. I don’t love it, but it doesn’t particularly bother me. But if you listen to some of the complaints on the internet, you’d think that Apple had murdered somebody’s favorite cow to create this design.

Now, design is important. Bad design can negatively impact user experience. But there’s nothing about “rich Corinthian leather” that impacts the usability of FMF one way or another. I’m not saying you have to like the design. But please find something more constructive to do with your time. Like marveling at the fact that an app exists that lets you see where your friends and family are at any moment. That’s pretty freaking awesome.

People also like to complain about their browser crashing. Now, I almost never experience this. So I thought it was kind of odd, hearing all of these tech journalists constantly complaining about their browser crashing all the time. But then I discovered that tech journalists routinely have dozens of tabs open at once. I guess that would make a difference.

Now, I’m not a tech journalist. I don’t really know what the job of being a tech journalist entails. But is it really necessary to have DOZENS of tabs open at once? How can you possibly be using all of those websites at the same time? Is your internet connection really so slow that you can’t just have a few tabs open and load new websites as you need them? I just don’t understand what’s going on here.

I think that maybe instead of focusing on the negative, we need to be looking at the positive. Why not sit back and be amazed that we are able to have such easy access to massive amounts of information? Think about it! The internet is amazing!

I admit that I am probably as guilty of this as anybody. I get really irritated when I’m listening to music on my iPod and I realize that some of the album art for some of my songs is missing. (For some reason, this happens to me a lot. Probably because it really annoys me.) And maybe I do have some justification for being annoyed. After all, when you pay good money for something, you have a right to expect that that thing will work the way it’s supposed to. But at the same time, I’m listening to music on a device that’s the same width and length as a pack of playing cards, and it’s, like, a quarter of the thickness! And it can hold thousands of songs! And play videos! And access the Internet! And I can play games on it! Holy crap! This thing is incredible!

It just seems to me that people have, at least to some extent, lost the sense of wonder that should accompany an interest in technology. We really do live in amazing times. Things that I do on a regular basis now would have seemed mindblowingly amazing to me 15 years ago. Heck, even 5 years ago I’m not sure I could have conceived of the iPad or even the iPhone/iPod Touch.

And I don’t even want to imply that Apple’s the only company doing amazing things. A few weeks ago, Google rolled out something called Google Wallet, which basically lets you use a Nexus S, Google’s flagship Gingerbread device, as a debit card. Now, this service is still in the testing phase right now, but can you imagine not having to carry a wallet because you can use your phone for all of your identification and payment needs? Sure, it raises the possibility of some terrifying privacy violations, but it’s also pretty freaking cool.

These are just a few examples. I could go on and on at great length, but I’m starting to run low on space. The point is that all this complaining really makes us look like spoiled babies. I think this kind of points to a broader problem in American culture. We have this sense of entitlement, this idea that things should just be handed to us without us having to do any work for them. We expect things to go perfectly for us, and when they don’t, instead of realizing that sometimes things don’t go perfectly in life, we whine and complain.

This all just seems kind of ridiculous to me. Imagine going up to a child who is starving because his or her family is too poor to buy food and telling them that you’re so pissed off because you can’t get your data to sync properly in iCloud. Pretty absurd, right?

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t expect products that we pay for to work properly. And I’m not saying that we shouldn’t bring problems with products to the attention of those who make those products. I’m just saying that maybe it’s not worth getting angry about. There are a lot of major problems in this world that deserve our anger. Things like crashing browsers and OS fragmentation should not be included in that list.


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