Many people have jobs, where your job is to make something better. In order to keep your job you need to show results. Now a problem happens, many companies make their product just about as good as it can get. In the real world of products they just move on to the next thing, but in software they keep adding features well beyond what is useful.
There are many examples of this. Winamp was perfect 8 years ago, it played music well, it had good skins and an equalizer. Then they started adding stuff, and adding and adding. They put in a video player, but it sucks. They put in a browser, what is the point in that? Adobe Acrobat is a program that never really worked well. And every update just makes it slower. There are third party ones that are much faster and better. There are many other examples.
So companies that make programs have figured out that most people don’t need their updates, but if people don’t get their updates they can’t push future changes on them, that may include more advertising, or toolbars on your browser, and these companies love to do that. So they have made their programs “phone home” each time they load, and if the company decided they want to send an update they will do so. This makes these programs slower, and many of them gripe if you are not online when you load the software. At least 20 programs I know of now try to push the Yahoo toolbar on their customers each time you update and unless you are very careful and unselect a box hidden somewhere you get it. And it is hard to remove and almost totally useless. There is really a battle going on for your attention, and these companies are trying more and more intrusive things to make you use their software, even though most of it is free. The other day I noticed that if you update java, it tries to install download and install open office, a almost 180MB download. Java is just a programming language, why should they push an entire office suite on users. Most users are not smart enough to catch this stuff, then they call me when they see stuff they don’t understand, and these calls are increasing. (As a note I love open office, I suggest it to many people and install it on all systems we sell.)
Now in the world of software this is a minor annoyance. You can run older versions, or usually disable all updates. But this is also done in many other areas, it is human nature that once something is very good you will keep changing it, even if the change is bad, simply to look like you are doing something. One area where this is VERY costly and actually dangerous is in the area of Government. The government keeps adding rules, and regulations in areas where none really is needed. Many people running for office brag about the number of bills they introduced, and the number of laws they passed. All of this makes life more complex. Do we really need such a complex tax system that you have to call an expert for help and even the experts don’t know half the time. Do we really need over 20,000 classifications for imported items. Do we really need to have so many regulations on hiring employees, increasing complexity and costs so much that companies get fed up with it and simply hire people in other nations. Should it really take over a year for a citizen to bring his wife to the US legally? Do we really need the government to tell us what food is safe, to tell us that we need to give our babies over 20 shots, many of which cause more harm than good? Should it be so complex to get a Federal grant that Matthew Lesko has become famous for his awesome 3000+ page book with over 15,000 DIFFERENT programs listed (BTW read his blog). Do we really need a government with 1000’s of different divisions?
This has cost our country a huge price. Our power has allowed us to survive for a while but now a crisis is coming. It is so hard to appease the government regulations that no nuclear power plant or oil refinery has been built here in over 30 years. Most factories are built overseas simply because lack of regulations make them much more profitable. Why would you want to build you widget here, and deal with the EPA the IRS and OSHA when you can built it overseas and import it for less. This is why our balance of trade is so bad, this is why are money is flowing out of this country and we are all in debt, as a nation we are living well beyond our means. This has been a problem for many years, but just recently it has gotten so bad that people have stopped lending to us, whole nations are writing down our debt, and this is causing problems for millions of Americans. This is a problem, created by our own government decades ago, the symptoms were hidden for years, the official government report showed almost no inflation from 1997 until 2005 while the average person saw huge inflation. Now it is all catching up, and millions of people are SHOCKED by it. It will ruin the lives of millions, it will also improve the lives of millions. I have written many times about this subject, see here or here.
Anyway this was suppose to be a simple post about how everything is getting more complex simply because people want to keep their job and have nothing better to do. Please comment on what you think about all of this.