Hack = to distill a skill down to it’s essence to allow a much quicker adoption of said skill.
I’ve just started reading Tim Ferris book the four hour cook/chef and he is as ever advocating hacking a skill. I have divivded opinions on this, on the one hand I would hate the idea that hacking would make craftsmen obselete, in beautiful, lovingly hand made products you can feel the skill and love that has been poured into their creation and I’d hate to see products of this type dissapear. Part of the problem here is that hand crafted products can be seen as elitist aimed at a few wealthy individuals. Another issue is that marketers are more than happy to apply the labels of skill and craft to mass produced tat in order to encourage sales. Marketeers are also more than happy to hijack culture and pin it to their products, Dol Mio being a perfect example of selling the simple Italian lifestyle and attaching it to a product made in a Dutch factory.
The flip side of this is that hacking is becoming a necessity in the current job market where employers requirements are constantly changing and in order to remain employable the quick adoption of new skills is a must.
So clearly there is room for both, we all want artisan products in certain circumstances but also there is a requirement for some items to be cheap and mass produced, finding the right balance is going to be the challenge.
Last Wednesday I was among many eagerly awaiting the release of iOS 7 for my iPhone and iPad. Some of the details are just coming through now on what a massive impact this release had on the internet as the throngs of early adopters attempted to download the update, on top of the this the twittosphere was alive with the problems and delays being experienced along with with many facebook posts with a similar theme. I guess I was quite lucky I had my iphone updated within two hours of the launch but had to wait overnight to manage the same with my iPad which also required a reset???? to enable the upgrade which again was pretty painless.
I’ve read quite a lot of negativity toward the new OS but for me it was a massive improvement and I now see how much better it is to use without skeuomorphisms. The whole OS feels so much more intuitive, I know the app manager has been ‘borrowed’ from elsewhere but it works really well.
The polar opinion on this makes me think that sometimes changes like this make software fit in with the synergy of one persons workflows and and completely against others. I’ve heard a lot of people complain about battery drain but I haven’t experienced this at all, is this because the way I use my iPhone just fits better with the way the new OS is set up and perhaps the next iteration won’t and I will encounter more niggles which make the experience less enjoyable. I think a good analogy here would be Formula 1, where changes to tyre compounds have impacted hugely on the performance of different teams, Ferrari being the prime example, up until the change of compound they were very competetive but since the change they have struggled for pace whereas Sauber have benefited greatly from the new compound and have seen an improvement in their results.
So this time around its my turn to enjoy a smooth transition, but next time who knows.