We, The Few, The Knowledgeable, The Experienced

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by mike_wells, Aug 10, 2004.

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  1. mike_wells

    mike_wells Registered Member

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    A week or so ago I read a reply to an existing thread that in essence stated that we on this forum were only an unhappy handful amoungst tens of thousand of happy TI users. Without a doubt, numbers wise this is absolutely the truth and I feel I must set the record straight as to just why that is.

    Your average PC user (about 75% of the community) has absolutely no clue what a backup is, how to take one, and if they could, what to do with it after the fact. Secondly, people buy software for many reasons one of the foremost being "status". "Hey Bob, just went over to SoftSell and got me that new version of blah, blah that I've been telling you about! Man, is it ever slick". Now this person has not and most likely will not even install blah, blah, let alone use it! Next, the "installer". This guy has so much software on his machine that he has lost track of reality and no longer knows what he has, let alone what it does or how to use it (or maybe not even how to launch it). It goes on and on but the sad truth is that all these categories go to make up the majority of our user community. How many people have you known personally that have purchased some piece of software, installed it and executed it one time? "Wow Martha, this new piece is just great! We never have to worry about our data again". You know the drill. That piece will never be executed again until the cows come home!

    As for imaging software, for the most part, this belongs to a special and unique kind of user. We know how to spell "partition" and "image" and know what they are and the difference between them. We have come to terms with reality and know that our data and systems have to be well protected and we continually strive to further that endeavor. Take a peek at the person who can spell "backup" and faithfully takes a backup with the M$ b/u applet. Now he's telling all his friends that he has his act together with respect to this issue until the fatal day comes when he has lost all and must do a complete system restore. Aint gonna happen, and he just can not realize for the life of him why this did not work, has no clue what a locked drive is, has no clue that the OS locks the drive! No understanding of backup/restore procedures, what it takes, and certainly no understanding of backup strategies! Sad but true.

    We may only be a "handful" but bottom line, it's the only number that counts! The pitfalls on any given piece of software will only be pointed out by the people who are knowledgeable enough to notice them. For the majority, the software will never be used on a regular basis (or understood), hence how could they possibly encounter any shortfalls?

    Mike Wells *puppy*
     
  2. rths

    rths Registered Member

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    Bravo! :eek:
     
  3. jsl

    jsl Guest

    New to TI (still thinking about buying in fact). But I do have a response to your comment. Your right that most folks don't even think about backing up. Being in the computer field my entire life, I KNOW how important it is. But I disagree with you on a couple points. Most folks that shell out $50 buck on software will make a real effort to use it. If they end up not using it correctly, it isn't a failing of the user... but of the software! Most software today is WAY too complicated to use without pouring through the manuals. If developers would focus on core features and making it dirt simple and clear there would be a lot of happy users out there! Focus on robustness rather than every bell and whistle they can think of. I'm amazed how stuff that should be simple is made to seem so complicated by software developers. Also amazed how obvious bugs make it into final products!
     
  4. mike_wells

    mike_wells Registered Member

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    jsl,

    Most folks that shell out $50 buck on software will make a real effort to use it.

    Begging your pardon but $50 is chump change for software today, and, most do not make any effort whatsoever. I find it hard to believe that you would even make a statement to that effect after "spending your entire life in the computer field"! Secondly, software only appears "WAY too complicated to use" to those who are not educated in the basics of the software they are trying to use! So, what happens is exactly this; a company like Acronis takes your sniveling to heart and they come up with a wizard-like interface that lulls the novice into a false sense of security about what it is that he is doing. Next, he is totally upside down, in way over his head and does not even know how he got there. Why? Because he had no clue what he was doing in the first place. He just let the wizard walk him right on thu it without any thought processes whatsoever.

    As for "bugs making it into final products" I would be wanting to ask you just how many pieces of COMPLEX software you have written for the PC platform during that "entire life". My immediate guess would be ZERO!

    Have a nice day. *puppy*

    Edit:
    Forgot my puppies!
     
  5. jsl

    jsl Guest

    Ok, fine your right... most people who buy software make no attempt whatsoever to use it. Your also right... today's software that is being marketed to home users isn't overly complicated. Your also right (of course), that companies aren't in a rush to release and therefore test test test to make sure they don't ship with bugs.

    Oh, I also like how you quote me and imply I'm a lier and don't know what I'm talking about. Give me a break! After working (as a Principle Software Engineer) for DEC then Compaq then HP (funny how my office didn't change but the corporate name did!), I do know a bit about software quality assurance as well as good software and UI design principles. You design for the target users! And you make your product robust enough to handle things when they aren't used perfectly. Able to handle fringe and out of bound situations. As for me shipping "complex software for the PC". Your right again (funny how your always right!). Our organization deals with large Unix servers and clusters. But on the PC platform, my attitude is even more important since your not targeting trained system administrators. I've seen plenty of developers who's attitude is (like yours) that the developer is always right and that the user is just a dumb Joe-Six-Pack or worse. Usability studies, contextual inquiries, surveys and feedback forums (like this), etc. always show that that attitude is dead wrong. Anyway, I don't know why you have such a chip on your shoulder but you obviously know better then everyone else and have an attitude that kills discussion.
     
  6. mike_wells

    mike_wells Registered Member

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    jsl,

    From your title "Principle Software Engineer" I speculated that you would be a marketing specialist. After reading the rest of your reply there was no doubt in my mind! You have changed my words and in true marketing style have managed to completely "rearrange" things to your liking. Your prolific use of marketing terminology impresses me not one bit nor does your implication that I am walking around with a chip on my shoulder, nor your implication that I look at all users as "dumb Joe-Six-Pack or worse". As for ""shipping" complex software for the PC", got me there E! I was under the impression that the wording I had used was "written", AND, I would be right again! ZERO.

    Have a nice day! *puppy*
     
  7. HappyLarry

    HappyLarry Guest

    Hey,that was an ambiguous thread!

    Acronis true image has never let me down once.All the backups are perfect and the imaging routine bug-free.

    Now,I can't work out whether this is because I'm so dumb I can't understand the complexities of what the wizard is doing,or whether it is due to TI being a pretty robust piece of software that compensates for my intellectual short comings.

    Ah..what the hey-kick me and call me stupid.I know where my data is
     
  8. jsl

    jsl Guest

    No, not marketing type at all. 100% software engineer. BUT, our group does try to stay focused on the actual end customer. We go out of our way to bring in non-expert users very early in the development cycle to make sure we aren't designing something technology experts might love but customers hate! An easy thing for an engineer that is an expert in some domain to do!

    Well, I don't know about "rearranging things". I don't think I did! And I could care less about impressing you! But as far as my "implication" that you have a chip on your shoulder... I believe my first post in this thread simply used the words "I disagree with a couple points". From that I get a response from you with an obvious negative attitude directed at me.

    Anyway, I'll state my point one more time... if you are marketing something to non-experts it should be designed with them in mind. If something is too complex for the average user of your product then the fault lies with the product not the user. Seems like a pretty obvious concept! I also think that companies too often loose site of the importance of quality and robustness. Adding fluff rather than being truly robust in handing problem conditions is one example. Shipping things with obvious bugs is another example. Now what is it again you disagree with? :^)
     
  9. mike_wells

    mike_wells Registered Member

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    jsl,

    Your entire tone is that of sniveling and implying that any given user should not have to take any responsibility for the software he is using, rather, he should just be hand-held and bottle-fed! Call me ignorant or whatever you like but I just do not get it! What you "suggest" is absurd and robotic. There is not a piece of software that can be designed/written that will not require at least some basic understanding on the users part of the underlying functions. If "something is too complex for the average user" then I would think that the user might just need to seek the level of complexity and understanding required by that particular piece. It's called education E., regardless of what form it takes! You, on the other hand, would prefer to replace technical expertise with placing blame on an object that you do not or can not understand. And that is by your own admission "then the fault lies with the product not the user". What a pity.

    Have a nice evening. *puppy*
     
  10. foghorn

    foghorn Registered Member

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    Hi jsl,

    I have to say that I don't necessarily agree with your point about it being the responsibility of designers to make systems simple enough for users to use.

    It is certainly true in my view that quite a bit of software is hammered out without going the extra mile to help users make the most of them.

    However this is a long way from what you seem to be saying. Taking you literally, you seem to be suggesting that (for example) the reason a jet fighter is complex to operate is because the designers couldn't be arsed to make the hydraulic/avionic/electrical/propulsion/navigation/weapon/environmental/emergency/communication systems simpler. I don't accept that for a minute. The fact is that some 'tools' are complex and cannot be used 'out of the box' by people who haven't got a clue what they are about.
     
  11. TheQuest

    TheQuest Registered Member

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    Hi, foghorn

    I agree with you 100%, how simple must a software program be.

    DOS is very simple but most of todays computer user do not know how to use it.

    Take Care,
    TheQuest :cool:
     
  12. jsl

    jsl Guest

    You guys are taking what I'm saying to an extreme and way too literally. The only reason this thread has turned the way it has is because of Mike's condescending and belligerent tone from the very beginning. And because of that, I'm probably not expressing my views the best I can but rather trying to defend myself. For that I'm really sorry. Good grief, all I said was "I disagree" and I get his kind of attitude! His style is to put me on the defense from the get go rather than just talk. I come to forums to talk, learn and when possible help. Foghorn's posts shows that someone can disagree without being belligerent. But it seems to me from Mike's first response to me his goal was to make me out like an idiot spouting nonsense. If you look back at my first post I simply state that software needs to be aware of the user base for their product and design to that target. When you sell software at Costco you do need to expect most people who shell out money for your product to be pretty ignorant of computers, etc. If your selling software into an enterprise environment where you have trained administrators then you can expect more (I hope!). I can take this argument to an extreme too. If you sell childrens software how much education do you expect from them? Yes, they might do things the wrong way. And guess what... people who buy software at Costco might do things the wrong way too (funny... in many cases the children know more about computers then the parents buying the software!). Or folks might not understand some basic concepts. I'm not saying to dumb software down to the least common denominator. I NEVER even implied that. A great design style is one that allows the basic job to get accomplished as simply as possible (for the 90% who just want to get a basic task done!). But it's great if software has the ability to address experts needs as long as it does not complicate the basic usage of a product (i.e. mixed in with the main window, etc.). An example that does the wrong thing is Microsoft Word. Sold around the world to everyone from kids up for word processing tasks. Yet a tiny percent of features are needed for 99% of jobs. Yet it is all tangled together into a complicated program that just about everyone complains about. So again, I simply said that if your selling software to home users it needs to be simple enough in usage AND robust enough to handle things that people who aren't experts in computers might do or handle conditions they might run into. Beyond that if it does more (for the experts) WITHOUT compromising its simplicity for most jobs than great! Such extreme contrast in a product is difficult to design (believe me I know!). But that does NOT make it the wrong goal.

    An example... I tried running Ghost on my disk that is going bad. Reading through the manual for Ghost I kept asking myself... how are everyday people (i..e non computer folks) supposed to understand most of this? Yet Ghost is sold into that environment. Anyway, I tried Ghost and it gave up in the middle of making an image with some VERY obscure error messages. I knew there were bad sectors but you sure wouldn't know it from the way Ghost responded! It left me hanging without a clue of what to do to continue to use their product. Then I tried TI... it came across the bad sectors. Gave me a pop up that said exactly what it ran into and the option to continue. I did and ended up with what appears to be a perfectly fine image. THAT is robustness. I guess Mike would just say that with Ghost I just wasn't educated enough to use it.

    Sometimes the problem with a product is fundamental to the way it is designed. But often the problem with software is simple things like wording. The name on a button or the way they say something in the manual. I've seen plenty of manuals that I swear must of been written by people who never used the product whatsoever. Or gui designers that leave you wondering why didn't they just do blah. I would think that most people could come up with some examples of this. And being in this field, it makes me mad when I see (way too often) compaines ship things with such obvious flaws!

    The second point of Mike's that I disagree with was that that after spending $50 bucks, most people who buy software make no effort at all to use it because it's too complex. Again, were not talking production environments here. Were talking home users. For the average home user $50 bucks is not chump change. Just read the posts of folks who complain about spending half that for an upgrade after such a short time (which I sure think is crummy too by the way). I believe that most DO at least try. But lets assume Mike's premise is true... most people who buy some $50 dollar software product end up not using it. By that very idea SOMETHING needs to change. Again... we are saying "people who are buying your software" are not using it because it is too difficult. If YOU owned a software product and that was the conclusion what would you think? To me this is a problem needing to be fixed. As a software developer I don't and can't expect to change my entire user base. Therefore my ONLY recourse is to try and address it in the product itself. Unless your proposing that a company stop selling it to the people who are buying it! I really doubt if that would go over well! So Mike I ask you... if you owned a product that you were selling into the home environment and you really felt most were not using it or not using it properly because it was too complex what would YOU do? I'm really curious!

    Anyway, I hope I've now expressed what I was trying to say. This seems like such obvious QA concepts that I find it hard to believe that people don't agree. But that's ok. I don't mind disagreement. But what Mike should learn is that it's not always the concepts that are a problem but the attitude. And his attitude toward me from the start was pretty darn negative (and every post of his since has remained that way). I guess I just get tired of people who express personal views as facts then puts anyone who expresses another idea on the defence. Mike... I do still appreciate how, it seems, you help a lot of people here!
     
  13. noonie

    noonie Registered Member

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    My humble vote is for simple software.
    I use it whenever possible. For instance Plextor's Plextools is robust, simple and when you exit from it, absolutely no remnants remain anywhere. It does not create conflicts and it is also bug free, at least from all reports I've experienced. Anyone that uses it can attest to that. Many simple robust progs can be found, it just takes time. That is originally why I got Ti6, because it was so much simpler than the others.
    BTW 50.00 bucks is dirt cheap if you value your system and data
     
  14. jmschwartz

    jmschwartz Guest

    Hey There . . .

    I was keypunching IBM 360 JCL code on a Burroughs in 1969, and I'm still not quite sure why software works the way it does. I remember when IBM moved over to the 370 platform and I had to "re-punch" my JCL code, too. What a bummer, man!

    Oh, BTW, $50 isn't chump change to most folks . . . only to "chumps" and to Trumps.

    Regards,
    Jim
     
  15. jsl

    jsl Guest

    foghorn... good thought but I don't think your example works in this case. A Jet fighter is not sold to the home environment at Costco. If it WAS I would still argue that it better be darn easy to fly and crash proof!!! Now I might also argue that it should NOT be sold into that environment. But I doubt you would argue that computers (since they are complex machines) should not be sold to the home environment. My Tivo at home is a complex machine.... receiving compressed data from a satellite, using a Unix based computer to store it, index it, process it, etc... But a 5 year old can use it just fine and it works flawlessly! Given the environment that Tivo is sold into, do you not agree that they did things right (vs say allowing everyone to get to the Unix shell command prompt)? It's just an example of a software product that is robust, simple to use and just gets the job done for the market they sell into.
     
  16. Acadia

    Acadia Registered Member

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    You think that is something, just dare to disagree over in the anti-virus forums ... :doubt:

    Acadia
     
  17. mike_wells

    mike_wells Registered Member

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    Hey Jim,

    I was punching (on an 026) in 1968. Assembler language from the coding sheets I had handwritten. Burroughs too! I thought I was the only dinosaur left! *puppy*

    Mike
     
  18. Bassett

    Bassett Guest

    My two cents: I'm a casual reader of this forum. I browse various posts periodically. I must say I agree with JSL's comment "The only reason this thread has turned the way it has is because of Mike's condescending and belligerent tone from the very beginning."
     
  19. ILikeThis

    ILikeThis Guest


    How do I get to that forum?
     
  20. jmschwartz

    jmschwartz Guest

    Hi Mike,

    Yeah, those were the days. I worked mostly with Snobol and Icebol . . . being an English major <smile> in grad school.

    Regards,
    Jim
     
  21. doxtr111

    doxtr111 Registered Member

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    Over the past several days I have been bombarded with friend's requests to "fix their computers". I'm retired so I have had the luxury of spending as much time as I want over the past 3 years learning not only what to do, but more importantly, what not to do in Windows. I agree with the origional poster, most folks just want a computer to 'autorun'. Anywho...going over to a friends this evening hoping to learn why he can't finish his porn downloads. LOL
     
  22. mike_wells

    mike_wells Registered Member

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    Right On doxtr111,

    You've been around the "block"!

    Mike *puppy*
     
  23. SilvrD00♠

    SilvrD00♠ Guest

    Simplify the intricate and complicated in order to make it firmly accessable.
    Build on the foundations of inspiration,truth and value, think not highly of oneself but be confident in all things.
    Trust that what you believe is the truth and in this way help create it.
    If you beleive you have it, Dont flaunt, share it....

    Mark N. MCSA/MCSE Cisco CCNA
     
  24. mike_wells

    mike_wells Registered Member

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    Why then would you be flaunting it?
    Most likely because you have nothing useful to share!

    Mike *puppy*
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2004
  25. mike_wells

    mike_wells Registered Member

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    Hey Jim,

    Isn't it simply amazing what you and I have SEEN take place in the computing field since "those days"? Just try explaining it to somone (although I am sure you already have)!

    Mike *puppy*
     
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