“Fried Apple iPie: A warm, delicious crispy fried apple pie with just a hint of cinnamon, smothered in rich vanilla ice cream and topped with an edible iPod-like MP3 player and whipped cream.
Real earphones complete this tasty iPie experience!” — 2008 State Fair of Texas New Food Locator.
The Fried Apple iPie didn’t win a Big Tex Choice Award. Best Tasting went to Chicken Fried Bacon (“Thick and peppery Farm Pac bacon is seasoned, double-dipped in a special batter and breading and then deep-fried.
Served with a creamy side of ranch or honey mustard sauce”), while the Most Creative award went to “Fried Banana Split.”
Who are these people? Why are they trying to seduce us with these insane foods? And who really needs or can survive eating Texas Fried Jelly Belly Beans, Deep Fried S’mores, Fried Chocolate Truffles or Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Waffle Balls?
These vendors are like vampires, seducing us with forbidden delights so they can drain our money.
They are just another part of what you might think of as the vampire economy.
To digress for a moment, I have to mention that if you haven’t caught HBO’s latest series “True Blood” make sure you do.
It is a clever and very well executed modern vampire tale by Alan Ball who created “Six Feet Under”.
People who like this sort of thing will find this to be the sort of thing they like.
Anyway, vampires. They have certain attributes that make them fascinating: They are powerful, mysterious, can’t tolerate light (a metaphor for not being revealed), lure and seduce victims through visceral offerings, and are extremely hard to destroy.
Those are also the attributes of the vampire economy.
Take, for example, the cell phone companies. You want a cell phone? They are just waiting to seduce you. And you’re not going to get just a phone, you’ll also get a camera, a diary, an MP3 player, a blender, a chainsaw — a whole load of things above and beyond just a phone, and they lure you into wanting all these features.
But the vampiric perfidity doesn’t stop there. Nope, they give you all that at a really low cost, and then lock you in to a long-term contract with no real service guarantees.
They get their fangs into you and then offer you a new phone to hook you with a contract extension. They are pure evil.
But the cell phone companies aren’t alone in this kind of evil. Oh no, there’s Cisco, Microsoft, Apple, Sun … all of the really big names in IT. They seduce you with complex, mysterious products you really need, and by the time you’ve mastered them, by the time you know how to make them work, you know too much.
You can’t leave them and they’ll do their best to make sure you won’t and don’t. Like Bram Stoker’s Lucy Westenra, you’re hooked and you can’t get away without paying a terrible price.
Oddly enough, even open source products have similar consequences if they find a home in the strategic backbone of your enterprise. Once you succumb to their blandishments, that’s it — you are in their clutches.
So, how do you end this fateful entanglement? With vampires it’s exposing them to sunlight or a stake through the heart. Well, in IT that’s been tried. For example, consider Microsoft. It was exposed to the light through the legal processes of the European Union and a financial stake was waved at it, but to no avail. Technological vampires appear to be a lot more powerful than the fictional kind.
Nope, whether you’re in the IT world trying to build infrastructure or at the State Fair of Texas trying to find lunch, you’ll find it hard not to be seduced by evil. At least after the fair you can go on a diet.