I’m reading a top “worst tech products of all time” thing on pcworld.com…it’s not important why…and it reminds me, again, of how out-of-touch with peripheral crap I can get. Which is of course a good thing, I like to think, but disconcerting all the same. It’s mostly disconcerting because the article is obviously intended for a target audience that cares about such things, and I like to think that I *do* care about computer evolution. I like to think I *am* the target audience. I’ve owned several several computers in my life, have done the homework that’s necessary to acquire several several computers, and have learned the idiosyncracies of all those computers over months and years of happy interaction and berserk fury when bad things happen.
But I’m not really the target audience. Apparently I don’t have the necessary staying power. For instance, with this ‘top bad products’ article, I find myself agreeing with some of the entries, like pricelinegroceries and the PCjr. I remember those debacles. For other entries, though, I have not the slightest memory of debacle or fiasco. In fact, if it weren’t for this article, I would assume these companies from Yore are still doing business with someone, somewhere. The example is ‘dBASE.’ Yes, I’ve heard of it in the last few decades. It occupies an odd spot in my head devoted to business…devoted to business that I couldn’t care less about. My brain long ago decided there was a program called ‘dBASE’ that some businessmen used for obscure fiscal reasons; it decided that it would never be called upon to be an advisor to a person of that type, therefore it had no further use for that knowledge or that word, therefore it would be filed away permanently. Now I find that dBASE is synonymous with ‘fiasco.’ Not only that, I find out that that is common knowledge; common enough for the offending company’s name to place highly in a ‘worst of’ list.
So I’m not really the intended audience here. And you may or may not know of this fiasco, and know that dBASE’s place in this list is well-deserved. That’s not my point, really. My point is that no matter how clever you are, you can’t pay attention to everything. You can’t even pay attention to the things you pay attention to; something huge will always slip by.