Friday, May 26, 2006

Feature creep really bites

On feature creep (on a toothbrush?)...

"The origin of this species of rant was a toothbrush. A new toothbrush. A new toothbrush that came with an instructional DVD.

The owner of this advanced piece of dental equipment had been brushing his teeth lo these many years without any educational aid at all. But now he was the proud owner of an "IntelliClean System" equipped with packets of paste to be downloaded into the toothbrush's hard drive.

The good news is that his toothbrush — excuse, me, his cleaning system — does not connect his fillings directly to the Internet or allow instant messaging with other people's bicuspids. But a toothbrush with a DVD and a "quad pacer" was the last straw, the final reminder of the ongoing "complexification" of everyday life — a word that can now actually be found in Wikipedia.

How did every simple piece of earthly equipment become stratospherically high-tech? How did more become more and progress become associated with the precise number of features whose main feature is frustration?

Have you seen my new cellphone that can take pictures, do e-mail, tell time, wake me up, get me the news, beat me in video games and generally make me feel incompetent? It reminds me of a New Yorker cartoon of a man going into a store asking, "Do you have any phones that make phone calls?"   continued ...   (Via Seattle Times)

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