Apple's recent software problems are bad, but shouldn't lead to knee-jerk personnel decisi...

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  • Reply 41 of 85
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,861administrator
    dewme said:
    While I'm in total agreement that the corporate reaction to Apple's latest round of software snafus needs to address systemic issues with systems thinking, integrated quality process, and engineering discipline rather than scapegoating and blamestorming - I'm a little uneasy using the loss of USS Thresher as an appropriate or comparative scenario to Apple's cumulative failures over the past few weeks. Yes, the massive negative consequences of systemic failures that led to the Thresher's loss, much like the loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger, require significant responses and refocusing at all levels of the organizations to ensure that systemic failures get corrected at their root causes. The root causes certainly involve systems, people, and process and the lessons learned from an understanding of the systemic failure must consider every facet of the root cause failure modes.

    If Apple doesn't react appropriately they are screwed, but they're not screwed on the same level as the crews of the Thresher, Scorpion, or Challenger because Apple does not operate in an environment where even the slightest failure can have cascading effects within the system that can in-turn lead to the catastrophic loss of the entire operational platform and the lives of its entire crew. I'm not saying that what Apple does is not complex or that its failures don't have serious consequences, but some of the reactions that were put in place by Hyman Rickover are wholly inappropriate for the scale and severity of threats that are faced by Apple. Sure, Apple and others can look to the US Navy's nuclear submarine fleet's overall model as a stellar example and derive some lessons and takeaways. But the impetus for change and embarking on a long path of continuous improvement needs to come from Apple's own leaders with an understanding of the environments that they live and operate within. They cannot lean too heavily on extreme cases that, while extremely valuable for getting everyone's attention, may not be seen as being directly translatable to everyday leadership, planning, and execution activities within Apple. It's up to Apple's leaders to apply the appropriate context at the appropriate levels to institute changes within the Apple organization. 

     
    As a sub vet, I think the scope and scale of what Apple needs to do is exactly in line with the sweeping changes implemented during the SUBSAFE revolution in the sixties. In fact, when Apple issued the apology for it, Rickover's quote about no single point of failure and altering the culture to fix the problem instantly sprang to mind.

    There's a difference between fixing the problem retroactively, and discovering the root cause (no pun intended) of the issue. Apple does the former very well -- but it appears that the system to discover the latter is broken.

    If an emoji is broken, that's one thing. If the testing system failure leads to not discovering the Root exploit, that is a giant, epic, unacceptable screw-up.
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 42 of 85
    A knee jerk reaction like reacting to losing functionality after an update?
  • Reply 43 of 85
    I pray for Apple.
    Good to know. I’m sure Tim Cook will be very relieved to hear that ... and God too. 


    edited December 2017
  • Reply 44 of 85
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,372member
    As a sub vet, I think the scope and scale of what Apple needs to do is exactly in line with the sweeping changes implemented during the SUBSAFE revolution in the sixties. In fact, when Apple issued the apology for it, Rickover's quote about no single point of failure and altering the culture to fix the problem instantly sprang to mind.
    There's a difference between fixing the problem retroactively, and discovering the root cause (no pun intended) of the issue. Apple does the former very well -- but it appears that the system to discover the latter is broken.

    If an emoji is broken, that's one thing. If the testing system failure leads to not discovering the Root exploit, that is a giant, epic, unacceptable screw-up.
    Skimmer vet myself, but with very close associations with submariners through rating, training, and post military engineering work for the US Navy. One of my family members is retired sub nuke power guy. My first civilian boss was actually stationed on the Thresher but away at training when the Thresher was lost. I'm not disputing the lessons learned from the Thresher, much like the Challenger, and I've seen these examples used several times throughout my career. Despite the severity and instant relatability for the rapidly diminishing population of veterans, they don't always resonate or translate into actionable responses for civilian companies and people involved in less dangerous endeavors.

    It's very good that Apple would quote Rickover but Apple's leadership needs to contextualize their own responses and actions to fit their workforce and environment in which they live. They need to walk the talk and not just observe and appreciate what others have done. Most companies, including Apple, just don't have a real leader in the strong, central, and with unquestioned level of authority role for quality & survivability that Rickover provided for the US Navy's nuclear submarine fleet while it was implementing SUBSAFE, and submarine based nuclear power programs in general, which has an even better record of unparalleled success around performance and safety. Tim Cook isn't the guy because he has a myriad of other jobs to do. Rickover was singly focused on one area of strategic importance and the Navy allowed him to stay exactly where he was needed and gave him the authority, time, and funding to do his job. The net result of what Rickover provided for the US Navy submarine forces, and truly for all of America, is unequaled in modern times. Off the top of my head I cannot think of anyone in industry who's been given a Rickover-level of authority to drive a strategic initiative for decades around quality, robustness, integrity, and verifiability of systems and people. Maybe NASA has some folks, but Challenger showed us that people within an organization like that can still be influenced to take inappropriate risks for the sake of expediency, which then turn out to have catastrophic consequences.   

    Finally, I wish more Americans appreciated the amazing quality of the people and systems that are in place today in the US Navy's submarine force and what it took to get there, in large part to Rickover but also his disciples and followers, which includes pretty much every submarine officer and sailor. The levels of demonstrable competency and true leadership embodied in every single submarine commander in the fleet today, or who has served in the fleet as a commander, exponentially dwarfs what we see today with our top elected political leaders. Rickover provided and ensured that the levels of integrity and competency at the top were matched by those within the same system, providing optimal top-down and bottom-up leadership. Organizations and governments rarely (never?) achieve such an optimization in leadership or integrity. Imagine where we'd be today if the integrity that we have in leadership roles that manage a fraction of our most crucial responsibilities, i.e., submarine commanders, extended all the way up to the leadership role that controls the entirety of our most crucial responsibilities, i.e., the guy with the launch codes. Whew.
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 45 of 85
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,600member
    The Thresher story and analogy was very interesting 
  • Reply 46 of 85
    I bought a book on writing quality software back in about 1984/5. It began one chapter stating that each major release of IBM's OS has a 1000 bugs.

    How did they know this? Because each new release fixed about 1000 bugs in the previous release(s) of the OS.

    What else, apart from software, have human beings ever created that is constantly changed from the moment it's finished? TVs, cars, bikes, buildings, bridges, planes, washing machines, radios?

    It amazes me (and I'm a developer) that computers manage to keep going at all sometimes! ;-)
    cgWerks
  • Reply 47 of 85
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member


    Matchbooks from the launch ceremony, lessons in hubris.

    Kids, be sure to save your Galaxy Note 7 and Trump campaign memorabilia!
    dewmefastasleep
  • Reply 48 of 85
    "Sierra's initial release 10.12.0 release could have easily been called El Capitan 10.11.7, and High Sierra's first version could have been called 10.12.6 -- but for marketing reasons, Apple incremented the version numbers and gave them fancy names"

    I don't agree with this at all.....you can have a machine that has third party software and hardware purring like a kitten through 10.11.4, 10.11.5, and 10.11.6, but would  suddenly run off the rails if 10.12.0 was released as 10.11.7.  Even though Apple says the next major version is just "refining" the last one, there are big enough changes from one major version to the next that I won't even think about upgrading until at least 5 minor releases have been vetted.
  • Reply 49 of 85
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,952member
    propod said:
    The problem is that newer iOS versions makes basic task worse. Why does a 2 year old iPhone/iPad stutters everywhere in the GUI with the latest iOS? Why is it slower to type text, mark text and many more basic task? People wouldn’t complain if basic task like scrolling, type text and take picture stayed the same. 
    My kids get angry at me when I upgrade their phones, why? Ask a iPhone 4s user with a 9x release and they will yell at you, I can tell you it is a disaster. Nowadays I don’t upgrade them.
    It was a time when you upgraded your OS software it actually got smother. I miss those days.
    Exactly! The reason for it is irrelevant, but this is the user-experience (and hence the conspiracy theories).

    The problem is partly the rapid advance of demands from the OS and apps. Each time the hardware makes a leap, developers instantly start to take advantage of it, making devices with less capability (older models) feel slower. The *big* spec to watch for iOS is RAM. You can buy an older model, and as long as the RAM is the same as the latest models, it will be fine nearly as long. But, Apple was selling iPads and iPhones *NEW* with previous generation RAM. So, OS updates pretty much obsoleted them early in comparison to other models.

    IMO, this was really stupid of Apple instead of just making decent lower-end models (ex: iPhone SE) with capable hardware. It's another example of the marketing department ruling over good products and good UX. When you early-obsolete a product or make it all jerky, etc. you've lost FAR more money in terms of a bad UX than you gained on your profit margin!

    Mike Wuerthele said:
    If an emoji is broken, that's one thing. If the testing system failure leads to not discovering the Root exploit, that is a giant, epic, unacceptable screw-up.
    On ATP, though, they were talking about how this could be as simple as mistaking the Unix 0=true in some spot. It's a very easy mistake to make, but hard to catch unless someone thought to actually try entering no password several times. It's almost too obvious a bug, as people don't think to test stuff like that.

    kiltedgreen said:
    It amazes me (and I'm a developer) that computers manage to keep going at all sometimes! ;-)
    And... we want them driving our cars? (Or, other cars on the same roads as we drive on?)
  • Reply 50 of 85
    NotsofastNotsofast Posts: 450member
    One of the more bizarre articles on AI.  When a few software bugs are called a "historical" parallel to a loss of lives disaster, you know you've jumped the shark.  I'd suggest a more appropriate phrasing would be "hysterical" parallel.  This often happens in the tech pundit world because even well intentioned writers are so absorbed in their work that they lose perspective.  The reality is that yes there are bugs, but there always have been and always will be.  The more important reality is that for 99% of the people who use iOS and the other operating systems,  the software system works just fine and they never notice or care about the bug. Consumers have used phones for well over a decade now and they know they aren't perfect, but they also know that the vast majority of times, for the things they use their devices for, they work perfect, i.e., making a phone call, sending/receiving messages, taking a photo, playing music, surfing the web, etc., etc.  
    foregoneconclusiontmayrobbyxDeadguy2322
  • Reply 51 of 85
    Notsofast said: This often happens in the tech pundit world because even well intentioned writers are so absorbed in their work that they lose perspective. 
    It does seem like tech pundits have gone off the proverbial deep-end this year in a quest to find something that can be deemed a failure at Apple.
    Deadguy2322
  • Reply 52 of 85
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,861administrator
    Notsofast said: This often happens in the tech pundit world because even well intentioned writers are so absorbed in their work that they lose perspective. 
    It does seem like tech pundits have gone off the proverbial deep-end this year in a quest to find something that can be deemed a failure at Apple.
    You're both welcome to believe what you want, but it took a big event to convince the Navy that they needed to up their game. It may take the same for Apple.

    As clearly demonstrated, I am on Apple's side when I feel that they are in the right. I am not obligated to cheerlead them for everything they do -- or fail to do.
    edited June 2018 cgWerks
  • Reply 53 of 85
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,297member
    Why can’t Apple do continuous improvement rather than having to wait for a new OS version? How about decoupling apps like mail, calendar, notes etc. from the OS so they can be updated on a more frequent basis?
    robbyx
  • Reply 54 of 85
    Mike Wuerthele said:  As clearly demonstrated, I am on Apple's side when I feel that they are in the right. I am not obligated to cheerlead them for everything they do -- or fail to do.
     Just remember that both sides have cheerleaders, so being on one side or the other of an issue doesn't eliminate the possibility of cheerleading per se. 
    edited June 2018 Deadguy2322
  • Reply 55 of 85
    well, my iPhone system space still eats up all available space on my phone so I agree. 
  • Reply 56 of 85
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    Admiral Rickover was one of only four people to have received two Congressional Gold Medals.

    Tim Cook is a shrewd business man.
  • Reply 57 of 85
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 404member
    I used to call PC "Paralyzed Computing". Everyone had their own unique array of hardware, software, settings, etc. I am still truly amazed that for the most part a new release of anything can come out and update hundreds of millions of devices literally overnight and there are as few issues as their are. Problems, yes, but.........
  • Reply 58 of 85
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,351member
    One problem is too many updates. This causes developers to care less about quality. They think the bugs can simply be removed by a quick update. They don't know the updates are using up users valuable time. Each update the user will not be able to use the device for more than half hour. If you multiply half hour by hundreds of millions of devices and by more than ten updates in a year, this is a tremendous waste. 

    I have used Windows at work. Windows will update almost weekly. Apple developers seem copying what Microsoft. 
  • Reply 59 of 85
    ednlednl Posts: 61member
    Picking up Mike from the ashes of MacNN is the best thing AppleInsider, formerly a fanboi site, has done.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 60 of 85
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,686member
    iOs quality is still great. I can't even remember what the issue was back last year. There is something to be said that their original release of any new version ( the 11.0, or 12.0 release) being tied to a hardware release gets it out before it is ready, but thats a reason to download 11.1 only. 

    Prior to the iPhone I had a blackberry, outside its stonking email system it was a mess. I rebooted every day. 
    edited June 2018
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