Two things came up in the last couple of days that reminded me how people in the tech industry get drunk on the idea that they are the origin of the magic.
1. Despite all the negative reviews, I now have to use the Lion release of Mac OS. I bought a spiffy new 13 -inch MacBook Air. It's nice and fast, and only a little bigger than the old 11-inch one. And it has amenities like a backlit keyboard that I really missed. But I understood there was probably a pragmatic reason it was missing. Now it's back. So far so good.
But they took away scrollbars! Scrollbars. Can you believe it. That would be like god taking away fingernails. Okay our lives don't depend on fingernails, but please. Why do they even think of these things, much less deliver them in a finished product?
Sorry Apple, this is just plain wrong. Let me say that slowly. Just. Plain. Wrong. A mistake. A bug. Something you must fix if only to teach you the lesson, whoever you are, Oh Hater of Scrollbars, that you are not God and don't get to make these decisions.
2. Just read a piece on TechCrunch about GDrive, a product in development at Google that "captured the web's imagination." Indeed. Such a service from Google a few years ago would have been fantastic. Now we have other answers from smaller companies, and there's Amazon S3 which is a close approximation. But why did they kill it. Oh this is too good. "The concept of a 'file' was outdated." Oh really. I've got millions of them. Literally. Accumulated over twenty or more years. Did they all, suddenly, get outdated? When exactly did that happen? What were they replaced with?
The scary part is this. As with Apple and its scrollbars, companies like Google and Apple have incredible monopoly-like power. They could force us to live without these things. Just as Apple is forcing the issue of scrollbars, and who knows what else (I've only begun to explore Lion).
Wouldn't it be nice if somehow these guys got the message that they are making products for customers and while they may have a good idea every once in a while, that they must be positive, not negative? You can't take features away. And to the rest of us it brings home the idea that these guys desperately need real competition so they don't feel they have the luxury of pontificating to us about what we do and don't need.