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Why Software Sucks...and What You Can Do About It

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Why Software Sucks...and What You Can Do About It

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Description

  • Copyright 2007
  • Dimensions: 6x9
  • Pages: 272
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-321-46675-6
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-321-46675-4

“I’ve just finished reading the best computer book [Why Software Sucks...] since I last re-read one of mine and I wanted to pass along the good word. . . . Put this one on your must-have list if you have software, love software, hate programmers, or even ARE a programmer, because Mr. Platt (who teaches programming) has set out to puncture the bloated egos of all those who think that just because they can write a program, they can make it easy to use. . . . This book is funny, but it is also an important wake-up call for software companies that want to reduce the size of their customer support bills. If you were ever stuck for an answer to the question, ’Why do good programmers make such awful software?’ this book holds the answer.”
John McCormick, Locksmith columnist, TechRepublic.com
“I must say first, I don’t get many computing manuscripts that make me laugh out loud. Between the laughs, Dave Platt delivers some very interesting insight and perspective, all in a lucid and engaging style. I don’t get much of that either!”
Henry Leitner, assistant dean for information technology andsenior lecturer on computer science, Harvard University
“A riotous book for all of us downtrodden computer users, written in language that we understand.”
Stacy Baratelli, author’s barber
“David’s unique take on the problems that bedevil software creation made me think about the process in new ways. If you care about the quality of the software you create or use, read this book.”
Dave Chappell, principal, Chappell & Associates
“I began to read it in my office but stopped before I reached the bottom of the first page. I couldn’t keep a grin off my face! I’ll enjoy it after I go back home and find a safe place to read.”
Tsukasa Makino, IT manager
“David explains, in terms that my mother-in-law can understand, why the software we use today can be so frustrating, even dangerous at times, and gives us some real ideas on what we can do about it.”
Jim Brosseau, Clarrus Consulting Group, Inc.
A Book for Anyone Who Uses a Computer Today...and Just Wants to Scream!

Today’s software sucks. There’s no other good way to say it. It’s unsafe, allowing criminal programs to creep through the Internet wires into our very bedrooms. It’s unreliable, crashing when we need it most, wiping out hours or days of work with no way to get it back. And it’s hard to use, requiring large amounts of head-banging to figure out the simplest operations.

It’s no secret that software sucks. You know that from personal experience, whether you use computers for work or personal tasks. In this book, programming insider David Platt explains why that’s the case and, more importantly, why it doesn’t have to be that way. And he explains it in plain, jargon-free English that’s a joy to read, using real-world examples with which you’re already familiar. In the end, he suggests what you, as a typical user, without a technical background, can do about this sad state of our software—how you, as an informed consumer, don’t have to take the abuse that bad software dishes out.

As you might expect from the book’s title, Dave’s expose is laced with humor—sometimes outrageous, but always dead on. You’ll laugh out loud as you recall incidents with your own software that made you cry. You’ll slap your thigh with the same hand that so often pounded your computer desk and wished it was a bad programmer’s face. But Dave hasn’t written this book just for laughs. He’s written it to give long-overdue voice to your own discovery—that software does, indeed, suck, but it shouldn’t.

Extras

Related Article

Set Your Inner Geek Free

Author's Site

Please visit the author's website at www.whysoftwaresucks.com.

Blogs

Visit David Platt's Blog

Sample Content

Downloadable Sample Chapter

Download the sample chapter

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: Who’re You Calling a Dummy? 9

Where We Came From 10

Why It Still Sucks Today 11

Control versus Ease of Use 13

I Don’t Care How Your Program Works 15

A Bad Feature and a Good One 19

Stopping the Proceedings with Idiocy 23

Testing on Live Animals 26

Where We Are and What You Can Do 28

Chapter 2: Tangled in the Web 31

Where We Came From 32

How It Works 34

Why It Still Sucks Today 37

Client-Centered Design versus Server-Centered Design 40

Where’s My Eye Opener? 46

It’s Obvious—Not! 52

Splash, Flash, and Animation 56

Testing on Live Animals 59

What You Can Do about It 61

Chapter 3: Keep Me Safe 65

The Way It Was 66

Why It Sucks Today 67

What Programmers Need to Know, but Don’t 71

A Human Operation 77

Budgeting for Hassles 80

Users Are Lazy 83

Social Engineering 87

Last Word on Security 92

What You Can Do 93

Chapter 4: Who the Heck Are You? 97

Where We Came From 97

Why It Still Sucks Today 98

Incompatible Requirements 99

OK, So Now What? 106

Chapter 5: Who’re You Looking At? 119

Yes, They Know You 119

Why It Sucks More Than Ever Today 122

Users Don’t Know Where the Risks Are 125

What They Know First 127

Milk You with Cookies? 129

Privacy Policy Nonsense 138

Covering Your Tracks 140

The Google Conundrum 141

Solution 145

Chapter 6: Ten Thousand Geeks, Crazed on Jolt Cola 149

See Them in Their Native Habitat 149

All These Geeks 150

Who Speaks, and When, and about What 153

Selling It 158

The Next Generation of Geeks—Passing It On 161

Chapter 7: Who Are These Crazy Bastards Anyway? 169

Homo Logicus 170

Testosterone Poisoning 171

Control and Contentment 173

Making Models 175

Geeks and Jocks 177

Jargon 179

Brains and Constraints 181

Seven Habits of Geeks 183

Chapter 8: Microsoft: Can’t Live With ’Em and Can’t Live Without ’Em 189

They Run the World 189

Me and Them 190

Where We Came From 193

Why It Sucks Today 195

Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don’t 199

We Love to Hate Them 203

Plus ça Change 207

Growing-Up Pains 211

What You Can Do about It 214

The Last Word 220

Chapter 9: Doing Something About It 223

1. Buy 224

2. Tell 229

3. Ridicule 232

4. Trust 233

5. Organize 237

Epilogue 241

About the Author 243

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