The Story of Every Technical Failure in One Example

If you have an Android phone, and you want to take a screenshot, the manufacturer and the operating system developer have provided you with a standard way to do it.

You press the “down volume” button and the power button at the same time.

Remember, you’re trying to take a screenshot, so you want the screen to stay put.

What happens when you press the down volume button? Why a little handy-dandy volume slider appears and covers up the top 15% of your screen. See if you can guess what appears in every screenshot you take?

But those tech geniuses aren’t done. What happens when you press the power button on your phone?

As a former contract programmer and team lead, I can tell you exactly what happened in the meeting where these two world-class decisions were made. The guy at the front of the room doing all the yelling is Bob the middle manager, who wouldn’t know technology if it ralphed up a half-eaten frog on his desk. If you’ve ever had a tech job you’ve all worked for Bob at some point.

“Uhh, sir? Wouldn’t it be better if we used a button other than the power button for a basic function like this?”

“YOU’RE NOT BEING MUCH OF A TEAM PLAYER! HOLIDAYS ARE COMING UP AND WE LOVE THEM TURKEY DINNER LAYOFFS!”

“But sir–”

“DO IT WRONG OR YOU’RE FIRED!” (Bob switches to the next slide with a pie chart and a “whoosh” sound effect)

These phones are manufactured by companies with unlimited money and buildings full of what they constantly remind us are the smartest human beings who have ever cast a shadow. Silicon Valley is where all the smart people work, dontcha know.

And they decided you should take screenshots by pressing the off switch on your phone. These are the same people, incidentally, who lecture us on a daily basis about artificial intelligence and how robots are going to take our jobs.

I can think of one job the robot should apply for first.

Black out.

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