"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..
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