Road Engineers, a breed apart, are single minded and possessed. They learned that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and that is their philosophy – straight to the point. They don’t go round things like sites of special interest, but do go through Granny’s 400 year old cottage – so be it. However they take stuff for granted that we Plebs need to know. It’s understandable, they are involved in stresses and drains, centrifugal forces, and strains, so simple stuff is unimportant. Have you ever wanted to get from A to B in a hurry and found you arrive, half an hour late, when the cakes and the coffee are all gone, and people are down to the nitty gritty, all because of one missing sign post. You start at A and know you get to B on the motorway, there are signposts at regular intervals saying, in effect -‘You’re on the right track.’ Then one tells you to get on an ‘A’ road, you do – more signs to B. Then you arrive at a Six Road Ends, any one could lead to B, but the Road Engineers knew the area so well themselves they saw no need to tell you. Then you were on a bet of 5 to 1 against,.
Computer Periferals operate in the same way – those faceless people who send you death messages, like ‘Error, protocol XYZ, 000779, not available,,,’ and then on for another 6 lines of gobbledegook. I’m just a bloke who makes pictures, writes, enjoys simple things like any other Pleb, and I just haven’t a clue. The damn thing waits until I am in a hurry, on my way to bed, need to go to the lav, have 7 or 8 screens running, and then pounces -, without a word from me, he starts to install some huge piece of kit I have no need of, which fouls up my email system so I can’t post to my blog. There is also a salesman who tells you your ‘Free’ antivirus programme will be out of date in a couple of months, goes into great detail in how you can sign for X Dollars for something you don’t need, – even my bank wouldn’t need it. But finding how to renew the free one is worse than the Hampton Court Maze. Having got it you are instructed to register, but then your problems start again and registration is impossible because of a glitch you haven’t a clue bout.
Then there is another salesman offering you something you would really like. It is within the budget, just right, but how in hell do you get hold of it? Suddenly there are more than one version and I have said yes and got it wrong and lost money. Actually I have only bought 4 things off the internet – 3 were wrong and I couldn’t get my money back, the 4th my daughter bought for me, it never arrived and she had to get her money back by some other means. When you go to a shop it is simple – mostly. You know what and how much! Why in heaven can’t downloads be as simple?
IT Debacles I am surprised it has taken so long for the Mandarins of Whitehall to discover there’s a limit to centralisation, but not that their failed attempts to make it work would cost billions. It is so obvious that vast, integrated computers, by their very nature, must become so complex that they inevitably become unwieldy and prone to error. The long history of departments of the Civil Service with computer problems, has been ignored for too long. Many are so impenetrable the Public is losing services and money in unbelievable quantities. Now the DHSS proposals as well as those of the Police are foundering. In the end the police woke up to the fact and gave up, not so the DHSS, an even more complex problem.
Recent reports show that delays in the new DHSS computer were partly due to the problems of converting hand written notes on to the computer. Surprise! Surprise! Even Banks have problems with centralised systems, and the numbers of accounts, staff and operations is miniscule compared with the DHSS. With a population of 60 million, doctor’s records from birth to death, references in more than one hospital, specialists, physiotherapists and also a plethora of other out-providers, such as opticians, all to be interlinked, the memory needed must be unbelievably colossal. About two years ago a very august charity was persuaded to update its operation by importing two computer systems, split into its subscriber function, and its charity one – they are now suffering as others similarly, with malfunction and record loss The proposal of such a system defeats common sense. Medical staff has managed with local systems; why not improve them at less cost and, more to the point, less risk of failure?.
Pay-by-the-mile Road Charges. Implementing without general approval produced gridlock throughout the country when applied to oil. The government leaders should bear this in mind currently, as at grass-root level there might be murmurings.