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Why Software Sucks...and What You Can Do About It

New or Used: $4.94
New or Used: $4.94

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiiiIntroduction 1Chapter 1: Who're You Calling a Dummy? 9

Where We Came From 10

Why It Still Sucks Today 11

Control versus Ease of Use 13

I Don't Care How Your Program Works 15

A Bad Feature and a Good One 19

Stopping the Proceedings with Idiocy 23

Testing on Live Animals 26

Where We Are and What You Can Do 28

Chapter 2: Tangled in the Web 31

Where We Came From 32

How It Works 34

Why It Still Sucks Today 37

Client-Centered Design versus Server-Centered Design 40

Where's My Eye Opener? 46

It's Obvious-Not! 52

Splash, Flash, and Animation 56

Testing on Live Animals 59

What You Can Do about It 61

Chapter 3: Keep Me Safe 65

The Way It Was 66

Why It Sucks Today 67

What Programmers Need to Know, but Don't 71

A Human Operation 77

Budgeting for Hassles 80

Users Are Lazy 83

Social Engineering 87

Last Word on Security 92

What You Can Do 93

Chapter 4: Who the Heck Are You? 97

Where We Came From 97

Why It Still Sucks Today 98

Incompatible Requirements 99

OK, So Now What? 106

Chapter 5: Who're You Looking At? 119

Yes, They Know You 119

Why It Sucks More Than Ever Today 122

Users Don't Know Where the Risks Are 125

What They Know First 127

Milk You with Cookies? 129

Privacy Policy Nonsense 138

Covering Your Tracks 140

The Google Conundrum 141

Solution 145

Chapter 6: Ten Thousand Geeks, Crazed on Jolt Cola 149

See Them in Their Native Habitat 149

All These Geeks 150

Who Speaks, and When, and about What 153

Selling It 158

The Next Generation of Geeks-Passing It On 161

Chapter 7: Who Are These Crazy Bastards Anyway? 169

Homo Logicus 170

Testosterone Poisoning 171

Control and Contentment 173

Making Models 175

Geeks and Jocks 177

Jargon 179

Brains and Constraints 181

Seven Habits of Geeks 183

Chapter 8: Microsoft: Can't Live With 'Em and Can't Live Without 'Em 189

They Run the World 189

Me and Them 190

Where We Came From 193

Why It Sucks Today 195

Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don't 199

We Love to Hate Them 203

Plus ca Change 207

Growing-Up Pains 211

What You Can Do about It 214

The Last Word 220

Chapter 9: Doing Something About It 223

1. Buy 224

2. Tell 229

3. Ridicule 232

4. Trust 233

5. Organize 237

Epilogue 241About the Author 243

Promotional Information

This non-technical book discusses the annoyances and dangers we encounter every day when using computers. Written with delightful wit and humor, as well as the insight of an experienced insider, it rips into the design of software much as Atul Gawande's Complications exposed the practice of medicine. Its basic message to ordinary people having problems learning or using their software is this: It's not your fault! It's not because you're dumb! Aimed primarily at casual users of software, the book tells readers what they should expect from their software and how to make their voices heard so that they receive it. The book explains the mindset of the programmers behind our software: how they're different from the rest of us, and how they're similar. It looks at the decisions programmers have to make in building their system or application, and why they make the choices that they do - choices that too often leave us scratching our heads, or worse. But the book is not just a funny rant. It shows what all of us ordinary users need to know, and can do, to make our interactions with computers less frustrating. You needn't become a programmer to become a smarter and cooler user. You do need to read this book.

About the Author

David S. Platt runs Rolling Thunder Computing (, an education and consulting practice. He has more than twenty years of experience as a programmer, teaches software development at Harvard University Extension School and at companies all over the world, and is a popular speaker at conferences. He is the author of nine previous books--including Introducing Microsoft .NET, Third Edition, The Microsoft Platform Ahead, and Understanding COM+ (all Microsoft Press)--as well as many journal articles and newsletters. In 2002, Microsoft designated him a Software Legend. Dave lives in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

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