Why are digital things in 21st century so incompatible? people and thoughts

The other day, I was trying to setup my earbuds with my windows laptop and the combination was simply not working.

I was trying to create an azure function app resource on one of my subscriptions and there’s simply so much configuration control to me that I was overwhelmed with all the options I have and super confusing text everywhere. I mean Microsoft actually need certification courses to make people expert on services they offer !!!

Simple things like knowing who is accessing my microphone are so difficult to find out in my system. Why is Microsoft licensing so difficult to understand?

I don’t mean to just talk about Microsoft here but I’m sure we all have 100’s of such digital/technical things in daily life that we can’t guarantee will work 100% all the time… and the question is … WHY ? Why doesn’t our digital things work the way our analogue systems work?

I can push a button and I am 100% sure that no matter what, it’s going to turn ON my fan, I can plug my charger and I’m sure its going to start charging my phone.. no matter which cellphone I have.. if it fits in the charging slot, it’s gonna start charging …

I mean I can show at least 20 simplest things in my laptop that are really difficult to figure out unless you know about it…

Mind that I am a developer we face these incompatibilities more than anyone else in the world but the point is, why can’t we have universal standards that everyone implements in their products and make digital things work seamlessly between each other !!!

One of the most confusing entities for me has been Cloud functionalities. Let it be Microsoft Azure or AWS ( GCP is little better though). Azure has so many granular services that figuring our which one is the right one takes days to figure out.

Why can’t I just say that I want to create a WebApp in this resource and click create !!! Why do I have these 100’s of dropdowns? which region do you want and which machine do you want, do you want v1 machine or p1v1 machine, do you want Linux or windows, do you want app insights on or not, …. WHY?

Why can’t I just select resource group and say create me a webapp and let Microsoft figure our what best for me !! Won’t that make life easier?

Why do I have so many microphone and speak settings? There’s setting for which of my microphones my system uses. And there’s setting for which microphone the chrome uses and teams uses and then there’s default system microphone settings and then there’s separate system sound enhancer that tunes in my microphones and speakers .. WHY? Why can’t I have one dropdown in the whole system where I select a microphone to use and everyone else uses the same setting ?

Recently I was surprised that I muted my teams call ( which muted my microphone) and as I was on mute, I was talking to mom and then a message suddenly popped up that said, ‘Are you talking? You are on mute!! ‘ ( I forgot the exact messages but it was along the same line) .. Why did you listen when you are muted Microsoft teams? Microsoft teams was able to understand I was talking because the microphones were not really muted .. they were just muted so that the other people on the call can’t hear .. WHY? Don’t you understand that muting my microphone means physically turning it off? I’m sure almost every other video call platform does the same. WHY?

Why can’t digital systems be made simple?

I was really thinking deep on this and in my opinion, our digital systems are so advanced and so bad at the same time only because of the competition. Everyone wants to have their proprietary technology and wants to invent their own protocols that rather than simplifying simply introduces one more system that creates incompatibilities in the global digital ecosystem.

Why can’t we have handful of protocols, UI guidelines, set of libraries, hardware that are globally accepted which can be used by everyone in exact same as everyone else is using without creating any extra addition ? Won’t that make life easier? Won’t it be awesome that I just have PDF doc type for documents, Type C connector on all cellphones with all the chargers with same output voltage and current so that charger from one OEM don’t damage battery of my another OEM cellphone !!

According to me, having so many verities over input and output of every other digital systems is what cause this problem and I do believe that somewhere we should have these globally accepted input/output standards that no matter which hardware, which UI, which website, which setting you introduce, will support the same type of input and output that is globally accepted.

I mean with all these advancements we are making in the tech world, somewhere we really are getting rid of convenience and simplicity.

I can still see a company that does things differently and that’s Google. Look at their products. Take Android as an example. Android has such a perfect compatibility with every other type of user.

It’s already very easy to navigate and find what you want, for developers, building their own fork of android and modifying system is just about understanding how to compile and understand the code, for elders, there are enough of accessibility features that let them handle their phone really well.. for parent, there are parental controls, digital wellbeing ..

Take Gmail as an example. Everything over there is so neat and simple to understand ..

I do understand competition is there and companies will create different products and hardware and software’s that do not work with each other … even though its completely possible.. because then it won’t bring up any money on the table .. products won’t look different without having those inconsistencies …

You know !! just like you can’t enjoy happiness unless there’s sadness .. sadness will have to be there so that when you have happy times, you would know its value and you enjoy.

But alas, it all is for nothing if we introduce 100’s of products, services and software everyday that simply do not work with each other ..

We have seen with example of Apple that how well things can work when everything has compatibility between each other .. that’s how Apple ecosystem work so well .. but unfortunately , it’s also proprietary and work really really bad in rest of the world.

I think if these incompatibilities between digital tools keep going, the day isn’t so long when we will have so many different technologies tools, IDE and hardware’s that none of them will work with each other just because they will have slight variations.. And even worse than that, I’m sure we will still try to make them work introducing more and more complex structures, incompatibilities, limitations and will thereby introduce more components in the ecosystem that would simply complicate everything …

I think its the time to be more careful with which technologies and principles we adopt and which one do we standardize. Else we will create a mess that we ourselves won’t be able to deal with.

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