I work in tech support, so I'm not helpless. But everyday one of my four computers manages to find some way to stymie access to sites or tools or programs I've been using for a long time. NO explanation, and no one even tries to figure out why. (In fact, in most cases, I don't even know how to contact someone who could figure it out)
Here's one we all know well: you visit a page you visit everyday, probably a page you visited just minutes ago. Nothing has changed on your end, but suddenly the page locks up. The little egg timer tells you the page is loading, but it never finishes loading. At some arbitrary point -- there's no indication of when to give up, you just have to guess -- you decide to give up and try to close the page. But the page won't close. It's THAT stuck. Is it really that difficult to close a page that is stuck? If so, fix that shit guys. It's been going on for years and it's gotten worse, not better.
Of course one can always go into Task Manager, and manually close the page. And nine times out of ten when we do that we get the message "The program is not responding." Reeeeally? You mean, it's acting like it's locked up or stuck maybe? You know, the whole reason I had to resort to task manager in the first place? If the PC can detect the program is not responding, and you have asked that program to stop because it is not responding, I don't need to be told it's not responding, I just need it to close. That's the whole reason I opened up the goddamn task manager and tried to close it. The solution is obvious, the program should be stopped. Break the goddamn connection, and can you do that without shutting down every open tab? Fix that shit guys, it's ridiculous and it makes people not like you.
Here's a fun one: error codes. Is it really necesssary to display gibberish like "Error 123456/#,"? Wouldn't it make more sense to state the actual error that's ocurring? Say for example, "Your video card is not working?" Someone had to type in "Error XYZ," so why not just have them type in what error code XYZ means? Fix that shit.
Another simple case in point, you're donwloading an app, this is scary for most people because there's usually no indication if it's going like it's supposed to or destroying your hard drive. What's weird is the download process will often stop and start two or three times and say "Installing application." How many fucking times does it have to install? I mean, shouldn't it install one time? And if it is going to take several times to install, why program it to say "Now installing application" and indicate finished when it's not actually finished and going to install again? This confuses people, not because people are dumb, but because it's confusing.
Another case that confuses people, you're installing an application, and suddenly it asks you "Do you want to Run or Save?" Huh? We want it to work like t's suposed to work. In fact most of the time we have no idea why we're downloading it, except that the PC is telling us we need to. Most people just want the file to do whatever the file does, if it's Adobe Air or Flash, they don't care. They're doing it because their fucked up computers keeps telling them they HAVE to Have it. So they don't know which one to pick. You as developers an engineers do know, so fix that shit.
Yet another case, after struggling and clicking almost randomly on drivers and updates and add ons we apparently have to have, with absolutley no way to know if we're downloading killer viruses, the end result for our effort is the message "You have to restart the computer for the program to work". What The Fuck? Fix that shit guys. It's confusing why some things only take effect after a restart and others don't. More importantly, it's not practical to shut down and cold boot your machine in the middle of the workday or during precious free time. Not to mention every goddamn time we shut these pieces of shit down, we have no idea if they'll start again or throw up a confusing set of symptons. Symptons that will case us tech support folks to furrow our brow and say "Huh, never seen that before, wonder what it is ...".
Here's another fun one. All of the sudden, out of the blue, no explanation or hint as to why, typing starts lagging. As in I press the key, the machine seems to have to think about it, and then it prints the character. So I have to stop and wait for the word or phrase I just typed to inch sideways along the screen. Related to that, we go to a site,try to use the scroll function, and the site won't scroll. Not right away anyway, something mysterious has to happen first, what it is no one seems to know. Then maybe scroll will work, but it lags, it jerks, and it's completely arbitrary. It slows everything down. Fix that shit.
Here's another annoying thing, it happens here on Daily Kos and almost every other site I go to. While I'm typing this, I'd like to be able to see some space and/or written material below where the cursor happens to be at the moment. But I can't. Because as soon as I start typing, the entire edit window shifts up and only the line I'm on displays at the very, very bottom oif the edit window. Everything below that is not visible. Jesus Christ, fix that shit guys. It makes writing and editing a real pain in the ass.
I could go on, and on, and on. All day, with this stuff.
On the lighter side, I guess we needn't worry about Artificial Intelligence taking over the world when computers can't close a stuck webpage on their own. But on the common sense side, it's 2011. Developers and engineers have been working on these machines for 50 years. And after a trillion or two dollars or R & D, opening my email in less than 30 seconds is a 50/50 shot.
Personal computers are more confusing, balky, and unreliable now than they've ever been. They're an obstacle between me and the Internet, almost everyone I know feels this way. Instead of improving them, the same shitty infuriating problems now crop up in our phones and TV's, both of which now crash regularly thanks to the influence of computers. So stop the excuses and fix these godamn things.