Friday, August 15, 2008

Big, Bulky & Crappy

I'm sitting at the breakfast table right now and Norton Anti-virus is running in the background. Sounds like an innocuous scene doesn't it? Well maybe it would be, if I hadn't told Norton to shut down about 10 minutes ago. And I didn't just tell it to shut down, I even pressed buttons.

It's still there. It's even blinking.

This unhappy happenstance forced me to do something I rarely do via email/letter/phone: I left feedback. I didn't swear in the feedback (my brain thought swear but on the way to the fingertips some part of me realized that though they will ignore this feedback anyway, they will ignore it harder if I swear, but now I'm stuck with a pile of swear in my elbows and they're starting to ache). The feedback was of course negative.

Norton, and the company behind it, Symantec, is an example of what happens when business types are put in charge of innovation. A bunch of services are added to the core product that alhtough they might look pretty, actually hurt the core proudct. I see Yahoo and Symantec as siblings, travelling down that Internet highway, like packrats picking up bits and pieces of useless services that bog down the core product to the point where its about as useful as a bucket with a hole in it (granted a bucket with a hole in it has some uses, but none of which are for what its actually intended).

I got to experience it in the days of the dot com (those were wonderful days - but we could always tell how well the company was doing (or not doing) by the quality of the free company meals - from 5 star restaurant to Joe's Fil Yer Boots Pizza) but the downside of that was: we were a company in the leading high tech industry and our CEO was a 73 year old Chemical engineer who thought the table of contents for a web site should be on the right side of the web page because most people were right handed. The rest of mamanagement weren't much better: everyday they walked into to the PWA (Peon Work Area) with a new "product" that would never materialize to drive this mysterious bus called "revenue".

Here we have Symantec Norton Antivirus which if I recall used to be just Norton Antivirus, back when the product actually worked. Instead of an anti-virus program we now have some digital frankenstien, made from the parts of other dead Internet services, that will supposedly: protect your PC from virus, check for spyware, cook you a grilled cheese, check for malicious cookware, check for malicious spyware, check for malicious thoughts about you in the heads of other people, clog down your PC so that its the only thing that can run, and fly you to the moon so you can play among the stars. Diversification? Diversification sucks.

While I typed this, my pancakes got cold. I fear not. The fires of my rage will warm them again and they shall be as they were when first they stepped from the griddle.

It's still there. It's still blinking. The beat goes on.


Carole said...

Well from now on when you say your elbows ache I'll know it's just due to a pile of swear building up there...

PrincessButtercup said...

Doesn't it also remind you of cell phones? Remember when a cell phone was merely a communication device similar to a house phone but the size and weight of a brick. It seems when they made the technology flip open, it opened up a world of phones that, send text messages, go on the internet, take pictures, record memos, wake you up in the morning with alarm, tell you the date and time, play songs and help you be the dungeon master by letting you roll dice...