My Love/Hate relationship with Christmas Decorations

I usually do my thinking, early in the morning in the car during my daily, hour-long drive to work speeding over the New Jersey Turnpike from Pennsylvania to almost into New York. At the time I am driving there I can still put it on Cruise Control and just leave it on 75mph. With a double coffee next to me, my satellite radio on one of my favorite channels, I wake up slowly during that time.

So, with that, and at this moment seeing all the Christmas decoration around me, and also at home, I started wonder something when I accidentally thought about my to-do list in the car. Really accidentally; I make sure I do not think about work as soon as I leave the office. That is my time, and that moment my time is dedicated to me, my family and the things I do on the side.

But this thought that I had this morning, is actually a follow-up on my post from yesterday, mentioning bugs in IT productions. Why is it a giant issue if a button thast is created in a program that someone get as a free service, while everyone is dealing without official complaints, with Christmas decorations. Please. Not only have I been cursing in the middle of the night last week during the first snow-storm hitting the east coast last week, while my icicle-lights kept falling off the front-porch gutter. Time and time again, while every hook breaks off. And then, when they are finally hanging, one part just breaks down, so there goes the ‘continous’ rain of sparking ligths, no, we have a nice dark part exactly in the middle right now.

We already came a long way since the ‘one light’s out, everything is out’ kind of string lighting. Decorations fall into a gazillion and twentyfive pieces every time our cat simply rubs itself against the stump of the tree, giving her every year at least a new heart-attack. It has about 2 lives left I guess.

My wife bought a lighted and animated stick-wooden reindeer at Target last year. Nice thing, absolutely, but putting it together was like taking a visit to hell itself. Because somehow this raindeer, standing about 60″ tall, and about 50″ wide, somehow fit in a 20″ by 30″ box. And when I say, it is a stick-reindeer, I am not talking about a stick-look-a-like, no, it is completely made from sticks and when opening the box a mass of cut-down scandinavian forrest jumps at me. My daughter picked the one-tiny-page copied instructions out of the box, where the whole instruction is crammed into one single visual that even Ikea put in 25 different steps. This reindeer shows on the box the retail price of $79.99 .

These days, for $80, you buy the home edition of Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel and Powerpoint. With that, you get a whole year of standard support, access to MS their almost unlimited online help system, and an unlimited number of fixes and updates for as long as they support the product, usually between 8-10 years. It takes care of practically all your administration needs for you as a professional, student or just for basic work.

For $10 more, you buy from Adobe, Photoshop Lightroom, an in my eyes very valuable addition to the photoshop system if you are a semi-pro of professional photographer, managing your photo collections in many ways, hooking it up to retail, your personal created filters and visual management, liberating you from a lot of time that you can put into your work.

For $80 I bought last year’s Bethesda’s Softwors’ Fallout 3, one of the best games every made that provided me with many and many hours of pure, well thought out entertainment. Covering also many updates and without any technical issue (as I have experienced, but as we know there are no programs without bugs).

So. Here I was, dealing with the instructions of putting dear old Rudolph together, had to rewire most of the thing because it was not well constructed, then it blew away during the first breeze because the pins that were included with the wooden animal were too small to really dig deep into the ground.

How can it be that we all accept this kind of stuff that also breaks down all the time in our lives all the time, but that if we find that the click color of a button in a system is a little bit off, that it is actually a major problem. It is not broken, not even wrong, just, not exactly what we want. Sigh.

It is not that I defend things that I should have done right the first time around, that is part of my job. And I do not mind it. What makes me wonder why quality is expected in this area, but we all buy tons of things that we are actually expecting to be horrible to deal with. Ah, there is enough work in the world for psychologists in the next couple of, well, hundred years 😉

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