(partially inspired by [thread=370417]this thread[/thread])
Are we, as a society, becoming more accepting of flaky and misbehaving equipment? I get the impression we are. A few examples:
[li]I played my son’s new Buffy the Vampire Slayer videogame with him for a while, and it is rife with glitches. Weapons pass through objects, players can pass partway through walls, and other odd artifacts abound. This didn’t strike my son as odd. He said that it’s true of most videogames. I used to program graphics software, and a glitch like that would have stopped production immediately. Granted, it wasn’t realtime software, but isn’t correct handling of object collision more important than shadows and reflections?[/li][li]My DVR freezes up and requires rebooting several times a week. According to Dish Network tech support, “that just happens sometimes.” A decade ago, would we have tolerated a VCR or TV that froze up regularly?[/li][li]I had a car 25 years ago with a gas gauge that worked beautifully. How come all three of the vehicles I own today (and the rental I had last month) all show “full” after driving 50 to 100 miles, and display non-linear behavior in the middle of the range?[/li][li]Ten years ago, I was running a network of about 75 computers: a mix of Windows NT, Windows 95, Macintosh, Solaris, and Linux. Everything talked to everything else. It rarely took me more than a half hour to get a new system operating well on the network. Today, I have a mixed network in my home. The Mac talks to the WinMe and WinXP systems. The WinXP system talks to the Mac, but not the WinMe system. I’ve put in hours trying to fix it, and talked to two consultants, who both told me you can’t make WinXP network reliably with WinMe (I don’t believe them, BTW). The systems in my bookstore (a WinXP and a WIn2K) stop talking to each other about once a month and I have to reboot the router and both systems. Have we fallen this far backward? Wired networks are flakier today than they were 10 years ago?[/li][li]When using Microsoft’s video player, the video frequently stops while the audio keeps playing, and the video catches up several seconds later. Wouldn’t you think audio/video synchronization would be old hat by now? We’d never tolerate that on a VCR or DVD player, although I’ve seen it happen on TiVo units sometimes.[/li][li]I got a watch with an altimeter as a gift. Readings on successive days from the same point vary by hundreds of feet (approaching 10% variance). What good is this?[/li][li]Interesting coincidence: While typing this message, I passed my mouse cursor over the buttons in the SDMB “guided mode” toolbar. The tool tip text popped up for the first button and froze. I had to remove the cursor from the toolbar and put it back on a different button, at which point that tool tip text froze. Isn’t this a pretty fundamental part of the UI to be so flaky?[/li][/ul]
Am I just grumpy today, or is this indicative of a trend towards embracing mediocrity?