Google released a Chrome beta for Android! GODDDDD. What took them so long? All the Ice Cream Sandwich users have been waiting, like, FOREVER!FIIIINALLY!
Finally, Tweetbot for iPad came out. I've only been asking them for, like, EIGHT MONTHS! Jeez.
Apple fiiiinally released iTunes Match after a whole month, and it didn't even work right!
Listen to how this sounds. How do we, the tech bloggers, get away with headlines like this? Where do users get off complaining impatiently about updates to a service that costs them $2.99? Or a free service? Let's have a reality check. Remember how awesome technology is?
This is an appeal to all of us, myself wholeheartedly included, to start appreciating how amazingly fast the world is changing and stop complaining about having to wait a week or two for the next incremental update of the future to arrive.
Let's Walk From San Francisco to Los Angeles
Sometimes, it takes longer to build amazing software than developers planned back at the beginning, when they were all psyched to get started. A great Quora thread about this popped up last week: Why are software development task estimations regularly off by a factor of 2-3?
Michael Wolfe's answer lays it out. Developing software is like planning a hiking trip down the coastline. When you're zoomed out, looking at the big map, the line is pretty straight. But as you actually start walking, you realize that the line on the big map glosses over the details.
The actual coastline twists and turns. There are cliffs and boulders and sand. "Angry sea lions!" It's not as simple as walking a straight line for the distance calculated by Google Maps. It might take 10 times longer to go one mile today than it did to go five miles yesterday.
So that's the part of the problem we can't control. Software projects take longer than expected. But the customers - and the bloggers - have to do more than just cut the devs some slack.
An App Costs 1 Cup of Coffee
We have to appreciate a few things. First of all, if you can afford a computer, if you can afford a monthly Internet bill, you can afford an app that costs $3. Let's assume we're talking about Apple stuff here. If you paid $3, the developer made $2.10 (and Apple took 90¢).
Just think about how many times a developer has to make $2.10 in order to make a living. That is your personal share of the app you bought. If it takes the developer a month longer than you wanted for a big update full of new features, just keep that in mind before you go ranting off to the Internet and leaving ????? reviews.
If the app is free, you should be saying "thank you."
Time & Perspective
The other part of this problem is our perspective on time. This is the one that affects the bloggers. We have our noses in this stuff every day, so the cycle of software releases tends to feel longer than it really is. But it affects lay users as well. We've gotten so used to things changing online all the time that we've started to think one month is a long time for a technological innovation.
That's craziness. It used to take a month to send a message to someone. Let's dial back the whininess and appreciate the amazing speed and plummeting costs of technological change. You can write your best-selling novel on an app that costs as much as a beer. I'm reminding all of us, especially myself, to try to stop saying "finally" and start saying "thank you."
Lead photo courtesy of Shutterstock