Thursday, June 3, 2010


Computer programmers need to realize that just because something runs great on a dual-processor mega megahertz machine with a terrabite or so of memory doesn't mean it will run just as well on the average three or four year old PoS. The reason I say this is because with every new version or upgrade of just about any type of program these days comes a corresponding increase in the amount of lag that users have to put up with when using that program. I used to think this was limited to game developers, who naturally would prefer to have state of the art equipment to test their new ideas on, but now I am seeing the same phenomenon happening with other types of programs as well, such as client-server database software. And before someone says that it's all part of a continuum that drives consumers to upgrade their hardware I need to mention that, in non-game applications, it's usually an employer that owns the hardware and some poor employee that's stuck dealing with all the lag, usually with the boss breathing down their neck wanting to know what's taking so long and saying things like: "This is brand new software. You should be able to do the job in half the time it took with the old stuff."

I am becoming more and more convinced that computer programmers should be restricted in the type of hardware they are allowed to use when developing software, or at least be made to give it a test run on substandard (hell, I'd settle for standard) equipment before turning it loose on an unsuspecting public. Frank Zappa, according to legend, used to play every mixdown he made through cheap little three inch speakers just to see if all the complicated stuff he was putting in would be heard by the low-end listener or if it would instead be an unlistenable mush. The result was a series of recordings that not only sounded halfway decent played through a cheap system, but sounded great through a more expensive one as well. Is it too much to ask programmers to make sure their "upgrades" actually improve performance when used on the same machines that ran the previous version rather than decrease it?

Just askin'.

1 comment:

  1. Just me, testing the system. You can ignore this comment if you want.