The Software Approach to Flyswatters.


Adam: in other words it’s a sledgehammer for swatting flies. A sledgehammer with lots of knobs and dials on it that all must be set for its user’s height and weight, and the age in hours and zodiac sign of the fly you’re swatting.

Adam: This seems to be common in microsoft tools and APIs.

Alex: With random pitfalls. “I’m sorry, but you’re exactly 2^8 – 1 pounds and the fly is a gemini. Please update your sledgehammer for compatibility.”

Adam: hahah

Adam: yeah

Adam: or worse, “Yeah that’s a known issue, but we’ll have it fixed for the next version and you can buy that.”

Alex: Months later Linus Torvalds posts an essay on his new project, a normal-sized hammer for swatting flies, which can easily be modified for swatting mosquitos, provided the mosquitos astrological sign has a compatible license, therefor sledgehammers are evil.

Adam: There’s also question of whether or not the normal-sized hammer infringes on one or more hammer-related patents, but nobody will talk about what those patents are. Flames fly, large businesses invest in the continued future of the normal-sized hammer. Meanwhile users and developers alike still don’t have what they need: a flyswatter.

Alex: lol

Adam: Bloggers claim the normal-sized hammer isn’t ready for the workshop.

Alex: Usability questions arise. The normal-hammer camp will cry that theirs is a “More lightweight solution”, and while normal users don’t have nearly the level of accuracy required to use it effectively without smashing their thumbs, evangelists will claim that “Well, they just need to bite the bullet and learn to swing a hammer effectively.” The sledgehammer camp will point out the greater surface area and imply that if you can’t swing it, you need to work out more until you have the necessary muscle mass to swing the sledgehammer effectively. At which point, as an added feature, you’ll be able to smash everything around you into oblivion.

Alex: They will also point out that flyswatters do not have this property.

Alex: And, through clever marketing, imply that all walls need smashing, and thus flyswatters simply don’t fulfill the user’s needs.

Adam: Plus, as everyone currently uses sledgehammers, they become frustrated when the normal-sized hammer doesn’t work quite the same way, yet they constantly complain about their sledgehammers holding their hands too much.

Adam: Sledgehammer “power users” are known for circumventing the thumb-smashing protections because they think it makes them work more effectively.

Adam: They complain that the thumb-protections are included at all because they don’t use them and things like that are why the sledgehammer is so bloated.

Alex: Apple will release homes outfitted with mosquito nets. Elitists will smugly claim that the problem has been solved. Both hammer camps will roll their eyes at the idea that buying a new house is the solution to a fly problem

Adam: The mosquito-net houses aren’t compatible with the new sledgehammer addon. Mosquito-net house owners don’t care because they don’t need it, but hammer aficionados continue to cite this incompatibility as a reason why mosquito-net houses are, and always have been toys.

Alex: Eventually a small independant developer releases a flyswatter. Panic-stricken, the sledgehammer company purchases the flyswatter IP from the developer, and adds the flyswatter mesh to the handle of the hammer. Evangelists rejoice, competitors once again roll their eyes. Users wonder what the hell just happened.

Adam: Meanwhile some guy in his basement publishes blueprints of how to build a normal-hammer modification making it compatible with the new sledgehammer accessory. Normal-hammer users rejoice and claim this as a strength of their platform. Sledgehammer users scoff and say, “you have to build it yourself?? Not ready for workshop!”

Adam: Mosquito-net house owners have been in their houses watching fly-free movies this whole time, but nobody listens to those elitist pricks anyway.

Alex: Normal hammer users ask the honest question of how the hammer head flying lose from the handle when swung can possibly be classified as “ready for workshop” in the first place. They are immediately dismissed as trolls

Adam: Because after all, if the hammer head flies loose from the handle you’re clearly an idiot for not knowing that you had to hold the third switch from the bottom with your pinky finger as you swing in order to make the hammer head stay in place.

Adam: Because come on, you’d have to be a total hammer n00b to not know that.

Alex: The normal-hammer camp announces that their hammer has no buttons. The sledgehammer camp cites this as a missing feature

Alex: After all, how do you keep the head on the handle without that button?

Adam: The button by the way is a third-party addon. Usually there’s a trial button shipped with new sledgehammers, but you have to pay a yearly subscription to keep it working right. The sledgehammer manufacturer would include the button to begin with if it weren’t for the fact that the third party would sue for abusing monopoly power.

Adam: Many sledgehammer users in practice don’t know this and continue to use their trial buttons past the expiration date, blaming the sledgehammer manufacturer when the hammer head flies off.

Adam: Sledgehammer power users dismiss them as idiots and say it’s not the sledgehammer’s fault.

Alex: The modding community releases an intriguing solution involving duct tape and industrial strength rubber bands. This leads to the sledgehammer company suing rubber band manufacturers

Alex: The duct tape community, on the other hand, is purchased. A layer of duct tape now covers the flyswatter mesh in the sledgehammer handle, or will once you upgrade to the next version.

Alex: The mosquito net manufacturer, to everyone’s surprise, releases a flyswatter. Unfortunately, you can only use it in a mosquito-net home.

Adam: Someone comes out of the woodwork claiming that he has a patent on wooden handles. The sledgehammer has long used wooden handles and faces a problem. The normal-hammer camp releases instructions the next day about how to replace your wooden handle with a piece of steel pipe from home depot, and all new normal-hammers will use this new method. Normal-hammer users complain that the slick metal gets sweaty and is hard to hold, but these claims are dismissed with, “if you want a hand grip, make it yourself.”

Alex: Everyone, the normal-camp-hammer users decide, either has the proper machining in their garage to make a decent rubber grip, or shouldn’t be using normal-hammers in the first place.

Alex: This is in direct conflict with “Everyone needs to bite the bullet and switch over to normal hammers because they’re free.”

Adam: Somehow normal-hammer users don’t see these two things as being mutually exclusive though and don’t see what the big deal is.

Alex: Cost-analysis by several third parties takes place, as a result of curiosity as to if, at this point, normal hammers are still a cost effective solution.

Alex: Everyone looks to the flyswatters that can only be used in mosquito-netted homes. Crumbling under public pressure, the license is reconsidered. You can now use the flyswatter in non-mosquito-net homes, but only three designated homes per flyswatter.

Adam: Cost analysis is later made even more muddled by the fact that the sledgehammer manufacturer has been selling “upgrade insurance”, promising ‘free’ upgrades to your sledgehammer for the life of the policy. Sledgehammer manufacturer then proceeds to release no new sledgehammer revisions for the life of a policy cycle.

Alex: Mosquito-net-home users rejoice and evangelize this as the perfect solution, because having no social lives (as a tragic side effect of being elitist wankers), they’ve never been to more than three homes.

Alex: Hammer optimization continues.

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