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Why Software Sucks...and What You Can Do About It
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiiiIntroduction 1Chapter 1: Who're You Calling a Dummy? 9Where We Came From 10 Why It Still Sucks Today 11 Control versus Ease of Use 13 I Don't Care How Your Program Works 15 A Bad Feature and a Good One 19 Stopping the Proceedings with Idiocy 23 Testing on Live Animals 26 Where We Are and What You Can Do 28 Chapter 2: Tangled in the Web 31Where We Came From 32 How It Works 34 Why It Still Sucks Today 37 Client-Centered Design versus Server-Centered Design 40 Where's My Eye Opener? 46 It's Obvious-Not! 52 Splash, Flash, and Animation 56 Testing on Live Animals 59 What You Can Do about It 61 Chapter 3: Keep Me Safe 65The Way It Was 66 Why It Sucks Today 67 What Programmers Need to Know, but Don't 71 A Human Operation 77 Budgeting for Hassles 80 Users Are Lazy 83 Social Engineering 87 Last Word on Security 92 What You Can Do 93 Chapter 4: Who the Heck Are You? 97Where We Came From 97 Why It Still Sucks Today 98 Incompatible Requirements 99 OK, So Now What? 106 Chapter 5: Who're You Looking At? 119Yes, They Know You 119 Why It Sucks More Than Ever Today 122 Users Don't Know Where the Risks Are 125 What They Know First 127 Milk You with Cookies? 129 Privacy Policy Nonsense 138 Covering Your Tracks 140 The Google Conundrum 141 Solution 145 Chapter 6: Ten Thousand Geeks, Crazed on Jolt Cola 149See Them in Their Native Habitat 149 All These Geeks 150 Who Speaks, and When, and about What 153 Selling It 158 The Next Generation of Geeks-Passing It On 161 Chapter 7: Who Are These Crazy Bastards Anyway? 169Homo Logicus 170 Testosterone Poisoning 171 Control and Contentment 173 Making Models 175 Geeks and Jocks 177 Jargon 179 Brains and Constraints 181 Seven Habits of Geeks 183 Chapter 8: Microsoft: Can't Live With 'Em and Can't Live Without 'Em 189They Run the World 189 Me and Them 190 Where We Came From 193 Why It Sucks Today 195 Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don't 199 We Love to Hate Them 203 Plus ca Change 207 Growing-Up Pains 211 What You Can Do about It 214 The Last Word 220 Chapter 9: Doing Something About It 2231. Buy 224 2. Tell 229 3. Ridicule 232 4. Trust 233 5. Organize 237 Epilogue 241About the Author 243

Promotional Information

This non-technical book discusses the annoyances and dangers we encounter every day when using computers. Written with delightful wit and humor, as well as the insight of an experienced insider, it rips into the design of software much as Atul Gawande's Complications exposed the practice of medicine. Its basic message to ordinary people having problems learning or using their software is this: It's not your fault! It's not because you're dumb! Aimed primarily at casual users of software, the book tells readers what they should expect from their software and how to make their voices heard so that they receive it. The book explains the mindset of the programmers behind our software: how they're different from the rest of us, and how they're similar. It looks at the decisions programmers have to make in building their system or application, and why they make the choices that they do - choices that too often leave us scratching our heads, or worse. But the book is not just a funny rant. It shows what all of us ordinary users need to know, and can do, to make our interactions with computers less frustrating. You needn't become a programmer to become a smarter and cooler user. You do need to read this book.

About the Author

David S. Platt runs Rolling Thunder Computing (www.rollthunder.com), an education and consulting practice. He has more than twenty years of experience as a programmer, teaches software development at Harvard University Extension School and at companies all over the world, and is a popular speaker at conferences. He is the author of nine previous books--including Introducing Microsoft .NET, Third Edition, The Microsoft Platform Ahead, and Understanding COM+ (all Microsoft Press)--as well as many journal articles and newsletters. In 2002, Microsoft designated him a Software Legend. Dave lives in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

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