Jeff Longland

Relax, don't worry – have a home brew!

Imperfect technology in the perfect world?

Over the last couple of years I’ve observed an increasing dependency on technology, in both myself and those around me. We all have high expectations about how technology should work – reliably and without problem. If you’ve ever stood at the front of a room conducting a demo – only to expierience a catastrophic meltdown at the most crucial moment… then you know where I’m coming from.

For example, today I really wanted to listen to a live recording on mtvUber only to receive a very simple, yet elegant Error. Worse, I couldn’t find a help page or discussion board. In this case, I can live without. I’d be of a much different opinion if I couldn’t submit an essay or complete a quiz. What if I could complete the quiz, but every other question saved incorrectly? How would I feel if I learned that the incorrect question issue wouldn’t be resolved for a week? Three weeks? Three months?

How do we reconcile imperfect technology in the perfect world? We’re increasingly reliant on technology and when it fails, anxiety and frustration grow. Many industries have invested substantial time and money in the development of ‘reliable’ technology. ‘Are we there’ in higher education computing? Many vendors in the arena are responsive to the needs of their customers, but is it enough? Is three weeks too late for the student who needs their correct grade tomorrow?

It would seem that I have a lot more questions than answers…

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Written by jlongland

November 15, 2005 at 12:06 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Technology is a form of mysticism, built on the fallacy that “you get more out of the tool than you put into the tool.” BUT, to a CORPORATION, technological reliability means the product FAILS RELIABLY.

    MAINTENANCE is by far the dominant sector of the technology industry, since planned obsolescence guarantees larger corporate profit. If I sell you a car that lasts 100 years, I make a one time profit of $20k. If I sell you a car that lasts 10 years, I make a five time profit of $20k. If I sell you a car that lasts 5 years AND has various components guaranteed to fail, I make a ten time profit of $20k plus bill you every time you come to my garage.

    R.T.

    December 9, 2005 at 6:45 pm


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