A favorite quote by someone I’ve forgotten is “Do not mistake complexity for sophistication.” This continues to be good advice. I’ve been tricked into complexity many times. It sneaks its way into everything—software, consumer devices, even the written word. I’m going to get rid of it in as many places as I can.
Software – I develop a boatload of minor, and some not so minor, web applications. The urge is always there to put in a ton of cool features that absolutely nobody is going to want or use. From now on I’m living by the You ain’t gonna need it principle: “Always implement things when you actually need them, never when you just foresee that you need them.” Now, how to get clients to think like that?
Cameras – I have two cameras. (That’s not entirely true, but for the sake of argument…) One is a Leica M6 TTL and the other is a Canon 20D. Both are awesome, but I seem to grab the Leica first. There are really only 3 things that need changing on a camera: Aperture, shutter speed and focus. Most of these are automatic on the Canon, but when something needs changing it’s a much more complex operation involving menus and LCD readouts and such. On the other hand, the Leica has only 3 main controls. Guess what they do.
Apple – It seems that Apple is thinking along the same lines. The new Mac Mini and iPod Shuffle are about as simple as devices of their types get. I don’t think the appeal of these new offerings is completely about price. I want one of each, even though I currently use each of their more complex siblings.
Writing – I just can’t seem to stop tossing in unnecessary words and run-on sentences. Still working on that. For now you’ll just need to wade through it all on the off chance there’s something useful buried somewhere.