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Issue 14.4 ('NSTableView')
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Age of Acceptance

Bugs are not a feature

Issue: 14.4 (July/August 2016)
Author: Marc Zeedar
Author Bio: Marc taught himself programming in high school when he bought his first computer but had no money for software. He's had fun learning ever since.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 19,898
Starting Page Number: 35
Article Number: 14406
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Excerpt of article text...

There's a trend that's been bothering me recently. As software increasingly dominates our lives—embedded in everything from our cars to our toasters—there's a casual attitude of acceptance for bugs.

Think about the last time you overheard someone—a regular person, not a programmer—say something like, "Oh, it's just a bug," and shrug their shoulders as though talking about the inevitable, like earthquakes or tornados.

There have been recent complaints in the Mac community that Apple's software quality is "slipping" (http://www.mondaynote.com/2015/01/18/apple-software-quality-questions/). Part of this is just sour grapes that Apple's gotten so big they are ignoring whatever niche feature you want addressed, but there's a grain of truth in it. With so much interactivity between operating systems, the cloud, and multiple applications, things have gotten really complicated in the last few years, and it's not surprising that there are glitches and inconsistencies.

It's not just Apple: we hear reports of problems from all manufacturers, from computer and smartphone makers to hardware products like cameras and cars.

Microsoft's latest Surface laptops have been prone to crashing and a series of OS updates doesn't seem to have fixed the issue for everyone (http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/surface-pro-4-book-crashes-driver-update/). In the past, Microsoft could argue that they didn't make the hardware, only the software, but now that they're integrated, they have no such excuse.

The touchscreen-based audio system in my car has obvious bugs, like when I play a long audiobook the progress bar stops progressing at four hours and five minutes. It's not the end of the world, as the book continues to play just fine, but it's disturbing that no programmer anticipated audio files longer than four hours! (Many of my audiobooks are over 20 hours.)

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