Adeptus-Mechanicus

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"Inveniam viam aut faciam" : I will either find a way, or I shall make one


DEAD PARROTS AND SECURITY SNAKE OIL

Today I was once again listening to the "Dead Parrot" skit by Monty Python, I find a periodic listening to such classics is good for the mind. Anyway, as I was listening I was suddenly struck by a realization. Now before I can explain it, it is necessary to explain the skit. The basis of the act is that a man has bought a parrot (the infamous 'Norwegian Blue') from a  pet store and has realized it is actually dead. He takes it back and tries to confront the pet store owner, here is an extract..

C: Um...now look...now look, mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of this. That parrot is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not 'alf an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein' tired and shagged out following a prolonged squawk.

O: Well, he's...he's, ah...probably pining for the fjords.

C: PININ' for the FJORDS?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?, look, why did he fall flat on his back the moment I got 'im home?

O: The Norwegian Blue prefers kippin' on it's back! Remarkable bird, id'nit, squire? Lovely plumage!

C: Look, I took the liberty of examining that parrot when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had been sitting on its perch in the first place was that it had been NAILED there.

The owner attempts to distract and argue with the disgruntled customer in spite of overwhelming evidence. Now here comes my little epiphany. I have over the course of years had to deal with many vendors, and I suddenly realized I had lived through this sketch, except from an IS/IT slant..

ME: Right, I went to install this product, and I found that while it runs it does not do what you said it would. You assured me it would be able to handle the environment

VENDOR: Well, it's ... ah ... it's probably not configured properly

ME: Not configured properly! What talk is that? Look, why did it flood my switches when I plugged it in?

VENDOR: That product prefers a non-switched setup. Remarkable product id'nit? Beautiful interface!

ME: Look, I took the liberty of examing the code when I got to the office and I discovered the only reason it had worked in your demo was because it was hardcoded!

Well you get the idea. This has happened in other cases with slight circumstantial changes, but the message is the same, I had been sold a Norwegian Blue (or if I was lucky I realized it during the sales pitch). How many times has the media or a company or a salesman told us about something and when we question what seem to be the obvious flaws, we are told "Lovely Plumage!". Well I do not care about the flashing lights (unless they are blue) or about the lavish interface, I want to know that it works. But we live in an 'Apple' world, where if it looks good and lasts at least a few days, it will sell millions. Do you know that even now there are company's where the standard practice is to reboot all Microsoft servers each weekend - 'just in case'! I truly shudder at what we have wrought.

When will enough be enough? I wish I knew, and I am not sure if there is an answer, I just hope when the 'parrot' starts to stink I am standing downwind with my perfectly servicable mutt that happens to be metabolically active.