Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Why your IT guy hates Apple

The title of this post could be "Why your IT guy hates anything that he doesn't already use and know" but that's too wordy. And the idea came from this annoying article on C|Net. And I have a personal hate on for Apple. They are the only technology company that I loathe.

I could spend hours explaining why I loathe Apple in particular, but I'm going to come at this from another angle.

I've been in IT for 20 years now (URK!). And the one constant about supporting end-users is that they do not like change. Every time we push out a new system we spend months fighting the political battles because users don't want to change how they do their jobs. People like being robots in that they prefer to do their tasks the exact same way every single time. It is a natural thing. Repetition breeds familiarity, which increases output. This is why we still use QWERTY keyboards even though the DVORAK layout is supposed to be more efficient. The time it would take to retrain every person and have them become as intimately familiar with the layout negates any benefits. And then you factor in how many devices use the QWERTY layout (smartphones, toys, gaming consoles, etc.) and the cost of the changeover for all devices becomes absurd.

And that is a big change, this is an example of how insane it can get with the little ones. We had a minor release for one of our in-house developed apps, where there were new important features added. To make room for these features, the menu was redesigned slightly. As a result, one single button was moved, because it was rarely used.

Well holy crap, there was one user that used that button. And they didn't want to learn where it went. And because of who they knew, and how loudly they were willing to complain, the whole system was redesigned to accommodate this one person and make it look the same as it did before, even though it made everyone else slightly less efficient because the new features had to be buried under additional menu options. Yes this is a poor management issue yahdee yahdee yahdee. Shut-up and go away, every large organization has this issue. People are irrational screamie meemies. You have to learn to accept that or you'll go insane.

So I am a Windows System Admin managing a largish environment that cannot change less all hell break loose. I have devoted considerable time and energy to ensuring that all our Microsoft products work with each other seamlessly, and the add-on products (like the RIM Blackberry) work seamlessly as well.

And then somebody walks up out of the blue and asks if they can use an iPhone instead of a Blackberry. A completely unfamiliar interface with a completely new OS, e-mail client and connection interface.

A user can go ballistic over a single button move. I reserve the right to go ballistic over radical departures from every norm I am used to.


Ken Breadner said...

To be fair, the same thing could be said of some Apple-istic company and the one rebellious RIM-type guy that insisted on using his BlackBerry. Could be said. Wouldn't be, because Real Businesses Use Microsoft Windows.
You're right about change, though. I'm starting to get used to this new system, but Safari didn't last 24 hours before I downloaded Chrome for Mac. Now I feel comfortable again. *sigh*

Catelli said...

First time I used a Mac, I "blue screened" it within 10 minutes.

I do see their appeal, but I hate the damned things.

Ken Breadner said...

You strike me as a bit of a power user, Catelli. Apple doesn't market to power users. In fact, I'd say the hatred you have is mutual. Jobs and Co. like to keep people closed in: they provide enough diversions that people who aren't inclined to look won't notice there are bars on the windows. Their marketing works extremely well as far as it goes. But I doubt Apple will ever go much over 20% market share in computing.

Catelli said...

Bingo! "Jobs and Co. like to keep people closed in"

I always find Mac fanboys are very blind when they complain about Microsoft lock-in. I like having a machine I can install a variety of OS's on (yes, including Linux) and being able to play with various software on those platforms.

Christopher Parsons said...

Just one small note re: lock-in (as it applies to actual computers, as opposed to mobile iDevices): you can (easily) install windows, linux, etc on macbooks/pros/minis and so forth. Bootcamp facilitates this, and it's a fairly trivial process to *just* have a separate non-OSX OS installed. Various linux distros work well, as do all the Windows versions I've virtualized.

Catelli said...

With limitations, yes Bootcamp allows some of this. But it is tied to the version of OS X/Bootcamp you are running. So there is still lock-in, however tenuous. It may be a difference without a distinction, but if I need to install Windows XP 64 bit for testing purposes, I can't.