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Not long ago, our warehouse manager announced during our morning staff meeting that the "system" was down, and he could not log or ship product. I watched my plant manager's head swell up and explode several seconds later.

Though my boss is 15 years my senior, he and I are of one mind in the area of technology. It has become a crutch for our younger employees. We make things, we sell them. That has not changed in the last century of manufacturing.

When I started in manufacturing, we had clip-boards, and pencils. That covered everything. I still use pencils and clipboards.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    My wife and I served in the Cold War. It seems our efforts were fruitless. We have a new enemy, and if not, we will create a new one.

    by Millrat on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 05:35:53 PM PDT

  •  Amen to that! (9+ / 0-)

    And people who design technology should be obligated to make it robust and reliable, and provide back-up methods for when it's down.  

    So here's a story for you.

    Back in the days when "mini computers" were first starting to proliferate in businesses, there was a computer consulting firm.

    The firm would go to a company's office and review all of their office procedures and work routines, "to help them get ready to buy a computer."  

    Then the firm would help them tweak their procedures to make them more efficient "to help them get ready to buy a computer."

    Then the firm would announce, "You don't need to buy a computer!   You've just made all the efficiency improvements you need, and there's no need to spend the money."

    I hear they were very popular in their day and earned a decent amount of money using this strategy, demonstrating to their clients that there really was no need to spend money on a computer when a few procedural tweaks would make them more efficient.

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 06:06:47 PM PDT

  •  in my industry (telephones) we see this game: (6+ / 0-)

    High-pressure sales & marketing hype to convince companies to "rip out their old telephone system and replace it with a new VOIP phone system."

    Here's the dirty little secret:

    Your "old" office phone system costs practically nothing to maintain.  A "new" VOIP phone system has exactly zero advantages for phones inside the office, and will cost a bundle to maintain.  That's why all the sales and marketing hype: people in my position can make a bundle selling you stuff you really don't need.  


    When I design PBXs (phone systems) for clients, I make this clear: "digital" extensions for inside the office (all the lights & buttons, lower cost), and VOIP for people who work from home and need the identical user-interface (same lights & buttons, higher cost per extension), is the most economical combination.  We'll happily install VOIP extensions where it makes sense to do so, but it just costs more than installing digital extensions.  And for people who work from home, we have another solution I invented, for about 1/10 of the cost of VOIP extensions.

    I have a client whose PBX I originally installed in 2001, on 9/11 specifically (a truly surreal experience).  Recently they asked about "call accounting," so they could better manage how employees were handling calls.  They asked if it was worthwhile to replace the entire system.

    I told them "yes we can install a new PBX and voicemail cabinet, with a five-figure price tag, or we can install a call accounting package that'll cost you about $500 plus a desktop PC to run the reports."  I gave them the proposal with both options.  No doubt my competitors were eagerly proposing all-new systems in the 5-figure range.  

    They stuck with my proposal, and their 2001 phone system is still chugging right along, costing them virtually nothing to maintain, but with the added new feature they needed.  


    And at this very moment, I have some programming to do on another client's PBX, so I'd better get back to it.  

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 06:24:01 PM PDT

  •  one more thing: Martin Luther King... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... used a dial phone.

    You can see it in one of his famous pictures, of him in his office.  

    His phone had a hold button, from 2 to 5 lines, possibly intercom, and that's all.  

    No PC, no laptop, no tablet, no smartphone, no Tweets or Facebook page or Google.

    There's a lesson in that.

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 06:40:28 PM PDT

  •  We Have Such a Battle Ongoing In Our House (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mint julep, cynndara, raster44

    because of our home artisan biz. Despite the fact that I was long a computer programmer and support tech, I'm a firm skeptic of tech worship. I see my partner in crime, Herself, spending demonstrably more minutes producing data than reading and writing would do.

    I recall an NPR report some years ago about some company whose boss came to the realization that most of the reports he was getting about the functioning of his business didn't tell him anything really actionable, so he dumped a bunch of the technology of that kind of monitoring and analysis and increased profits by having more time to do work he could sell.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 07:08:34 PM PDT

  •  You should maybe post a photo (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raster44, debedb

    so we can see what you are saying on that computer you have hooked to the world wide web ?

    Or maybe you could write a post card and send it snail mail
    and attach a photo to it ?

    Or please switch to channel 16 and morse it over to my teletype ?

    Even better yet , just hand it to the next runner and tell him / her to drop it off at the next pony express stop .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 08:18:37 PM PDT

    •  yeah, my husband worked himself clear out of a (0+ / 0-)

      job doing that "incremental tweaking" stuff... boss was all hot to get a computer, husband designed a paper system that was miles better than what they WERE using and didn't involve a computer at all. He eventually talked them into it, and it worked so well that his hours were reduced and reduced until he couldn't live on what was left.

      So he moved 500 miles and we got married and lived happily ever after. Except now we have a house to sell so we can move him "back home" for retirement. The exchange rate is also in the pits!  Our timing has often left a lot to be desired.

      "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

      by chimene on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 01:13:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  indycam (0+ / 0-)

      I have not yet tried to post a photo. I will when I get time to do so.

      You seem to have a snarky reply to every post I make lately. Why is that?

      How am I offending you?


      My wife and I served in the Cold War. It seems our efforts were fruitless. We have a new enemy, and if not, we will create a new one.

      by Millrat on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 01:26:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You have not offended me . (0+ / 0-)

        I posted a good link to the faqs for you , was that not what you wanted ? I asked if you had been able to post a photo after your diary died down so that I could give you one on one help with out others getting us off track , was that not helpful of me ?
        I posted what I thought was humor re a tool being down .
        Every tool has been thought a mistake by people who wanted to stay with the old method .

        "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

        by indycam on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 08:36:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  In the medical field (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tinfoil Hat

      Hospital and stand alone systems in various departments all have back-up.  My field was transfusion medicine and yes, we had a back-up / downtime form for every activity and OMG - we actually train everyone on how to use these forms.
       They may not be necessary, but all one has to do is consider what would happen when one loses a computer system and we couldn't dispense blood products because we would have no record.  And  FTR - we have planned "downtimes" in the middle of the night - and these forms were routinely used, because we haven't solved the problem of how to teach patient's not to need blood when it is inconvenient for the blood bank.

        In today's world, many (?) don't know how to do simple math etc. manually - paper / pencil .  To me that is a very scary scenario.

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