Written by Nick Heer.

The Reliability Journey

Steven Sinofsky:

PCs used to crash a lot, a whole lot. PCs routinely crashing, freezing, hanging (various ways to describe a computer that has ceased to function) and losing work was the norm. Over about twenty years of engineering and iteration, the PC experience changed dramatically for the better, with vastly more reliability and higher quality. Now I recognize even typing that should make for a protracted thread on Hacker News or Reddit where everyone shares the crashes that just happened today or happen “constantly”. This is the story of going from a world of nearly universal quality and reliability problems to a literal world-changing invention that dramatically altered the path of PC quality.

I really enjoyed this essay about learning how to capture and share debugging information with the software vendor — in this case, Microsoft. I have to wonder what today’s systems look like, given that users of Windows now measure in the many billions. How does debugging scale to the users of products from Microsoft or Apple or Google today? Submitting reports through Feedback Assistant feels almost quaint in its similarity to the developments described by Sinofsky.