IT: A failed revolution?

in General Discussion edited January 2014
This article comes courtesy of <a href=""; target="_blank">AppleLinks</a>, whose editors found it posted on

<a href=""; target="_blank">A Failed Revolution?</a>

It's a smart analysis, inflected by personal experience, of the extent to which computers have made things worse, not better, and the extent to which information technology has failed.

This was not a surprising read for me. There are a lot of big holes and big problems that people don't really want to talk about, such as the fact that it's still not economical for most developers to take the time to design a truly robust application with a robust interface - when they even have the talent to try. There's an old joke among programmers that if buildings were built the way programs were written, the first woodpecker to come along would destroy civilization. But nobody talks about that when they ink a deal worth millions of dollars with i2, or Microsoft, to deploy poorly integrated, slapdash software in an effort to tackle an immense problem. Similarly, the ugly statistic behind the rise in laptop sales is that they have a 25% per year failure rate. If that sounds alarming, the failure rate for desktops, on average, is 20% per year.

Speaking as someone whom makes a living as a developer, this is pathetic.

Apple has an in here: Their products aren't always quite as fragile, and their hardware is generally more reliable (but there are always exceptions). If they can maintain a higher standard, they can sell themselves to people like the above writer who want more than anything for their tools to just work. The numbers the writer bandies around are big enough that it might do Apple well to target this frustrated market rather than the sub-$1K crowd: If they guy has not one, but two ThinkPads, he's not even going to blink at the price of a PowerBook. But in order to do this, Apple has to demonstrate a level of quality and reliability that is significantly and consistently higher. I hope that they can. As it stands, Macs are still more complicated and less reliable than they should be.

[ 01-17-2003: Message edited by: Amorph ]</p>


  • Reply 1 of 2
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    I could go on for pages and pages of the ineptitude of IT's "vision" for our network and computers. Nearly all ideas have failed, and frankly we users could see it coming from a mile away. But of course, it's like talking to HAL when you talk to IT. All mistakes must be attributable to human error, there is no other explanation.

    Our Active Directory network is a serious pain to work with, killing our productivity because the host servers are just too slow. Our CADD platform runs directly off the server, so any lag-time, hiccup or slowness in the network affects every single keystroke we put in.

    Our two souped up rendering desktops that we can access through Remote desktop connect are a waste as long as our bandwidth cannot take the abuse. Just waiting for menus to drop can take several seconds. They render stuff really fast, but since you can't reasonably tweak or even access the files easily, it's just a giant turbine in the IT department waiting to be turned on.

    We did not get CD-R burners to back up our work until last year. Even now, IT's backup mechanism is a mess to sift through and fails as often as it succeeds in making a system backup.

    IT set up a secure FTP site for us and our clients. They did not install any FTP software for us to access it and upload to it. We have to go through IT and have them do it.

    We have a print tracking system that would make any OS X engineer wretch. it hijacks the entire machine when you print so it can first spool to a local temp file, then asks for billing info, then spools the temp document to the plotter, then waits about 30 seconds while the file RIPs until it gives up control of the machine. Then when the print is finished, it throws a message to this effect over all your work and interrupts whatever you are doing for a full 30 seconds until the message disappears. Batch plotting is unthinkable but the ability is there -- the billing info expires after 2 minutes of idling and has to be re-input. Searching for project codes is also worthless.

    Of course, plotting even to postscript printers is unpredictable, and many of our color printers and plotters are ot set up for postscript printing So we have no effective means of controlling color accuracy. I'm looking into this with one of the firm owners right now, but I know that without calibrating our plotters on a regular basis and working with apps that cannot work with ICC profiles means there is no solution.

    IT is looking for the Holy Grail of architecture and CADD applications: one that can do 2D, 3D, schematic, construction, project management, database, rendering, hook up seamlessly with Office our other databases, and creating all work in "standard" formats. In the meantime, their quixotic travels have left our current tools for these things to languish. They get older and more obsolete but instead of picking the best tools for each job, they've decided that instead of waiting for the Holy Grail to appear to them, they're going to pick the best compromise among all of these things. None of our CAD users or designers have input in this process -- it's all behind closed doors. When we tell them that the modeling software is too limited, they ask why we would do anything beyond boxes anyway? The saddest part is that a lot of my coworkers have accepted this constraint.

    Then of course is the ridiculous over-zealous wannabe techie who thinks PowerPoint is the only way to present work, do layouts(!!!) and is the epitome of technological excellence.

    I have to stop. It's the weekend for God's sake!

    [edit: moral of the story, people are to blame as much as machines, but my experience with windows and these custom apps for our firm also make me think that Apple hardware could make a big difference too.]

    [ 01-17-2003: Message edited by: BuonRotto ]</p>
  • Reply 2 of 2
    You didnt say who you work for, so i can only assume its microsoft or the whitehouse <img src="graemlins/lol.gif" border="0" alt="[Laughing]" />
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