Saturday, April 1, 2006

Armchair quarterbacking

Instant replay
Perfect hindsight
In slow motion
You're always right
Watching life on tape delay
You know what happened yesterday

An armchair quarterback
You'll never have to lose
You'll never have to wipe the dog shit off your shoes
An armchair quarterback
Do you get those armchair blues?

-- Armchair Quarterback by Ten Foot Pole

As I wander around the internet on a daily basis checking out blogs I'm interested in and chasing down bits of news/gossip/stupidity that amuses me, I've been struck by the amazing amount of folks who are willing to post their opinions on things that they have absolutely no clue about. Not only are they willing to post their opinion, but they are then willing to fight just for the fun of fighting. For the most part this arguing becomes pure pointless noise, and completely obscures any real information. As a good example I would point people at the following conversations which all occurred around the exact same topic (Scott Byer (from Photoshop) blog, macslash, Rich Schaut (from Microsoft) blog, Discussion on Ars Technica). There is no need to go to the actual links, unless of course you are interested, as the topic being discussed is rather arcane.

Basically people are wondering why Adobe hasn't shipped new versions of it's products yet for the new Intel Macs. Scott Byer, an extremely talented engineer off of the Photoshop team, posted a very good description of why it is taking Adobe so long to ship those new versions and was very frank about the issues that they were/are running into. Kudos to Scott. What blows my mind is that after Scott's nice post, there are pages of comments from people telling him that he is completely wrong and that he has no clue what he is talking about. Not only that, it spills over into Ars Technica, MacSlash, and probably several other sources that I didn't bother tracking down. Rick Schaut puts together another nice post from Microsoft's point of view...and still got folks posting that he didn't know what he was talking about. How many people in this world have experience porting a million line piece of code from CodeWarrior to Xcode? Ummm...well let's see. I can count about 1 person from Google (heh), 6 folks from Adobe, probably about 6 from Microsoft, a few from Apple and really that's about it. I know that there's some folks from Blizzard and Maya who have ported some big apps over, but I'm not sure if they fall in the million line+ category. So where are all these other opinions coming from? Why do they feel that they know anything about the topic? It's very obvious from some of the posts that they haven't even written any code before, let alone tried to port from one compiler to another. I spent over 8 months of my life working on doing the switch for a large application, and ran head first into most of the issues that Scott and Rick describe in their blogs. Ironically both blogs actually refer to me (not by name) as being an example of why the Xcode switch can be so difficult to do.

Getting away from this specific example of commentary stupidity, I want to emphasize that I fully support everyone's right to voice their opinion, but PLEASE try and make it an educated one. If you don't know the answer, or are curious, there is no shame in asking questions instead of arguing. It just helps educate everyone, instead of leaving multiple pages of useless discussion that educate/help no one.

Maybe the next big web app will be a way for folks to be able to prove their authority on a subject so that people who are interested can easily filter out the drivel of anonymous cowards. Hmmm...sounds like something a Googler could work on :)

Sorry to bore everyone with a Saturday afternoon rant. I'm going to go play with Keira now.

1 comment:

Anonymous Coward said...

A mere million lines of code? Bah. Sounds trivial to me, and I should know, as I am a veteran programmer (from UVic) of at least one Mac program.

Personally, I think that Adobe should have had it ready when Apple announced the Intel switch. After all, I'm sure you knew about it. How 'bout instead of doing silly things like adventure races, you actually do some work Dave?