I just wanted to take a moment to say how very much I enjoy Shane’s columns – well written, informative and frequently entertaining. In fact, if I only have time to read one article, it is Shane’s! Thanks for giving me a great start to my days!
synopsis of IT business is a great model of how broadcast e-mails should be designed – brief and straight to the point!
I tend to agree with you. Any highly technical project started in 1991 and run by a highly bureaucratic organization had no chance to compete against similar technical endeavours run by the “”lighter”” and “”motivated”” capitalist civilian ventures. The end result being that the civilian were better, faster and cheaper.
The blame, however, is the lack of courage in the DND to have assessed the situation at some point and to have stopped the project before it was finished. I know this requires courage, but the alternative is a mere show of incompetence and lack of total responsibility toward the taxpayers. It reminds me of a saying: If you realize you are sailing on the Titanic, you might as well travel first class. We are paying for the Titanic here.
Maybe the DND could actually have thought about their core needs/root pains that drove the acquisition initiative before splurging taxpayers’ money. Your argument that technology changes is pedestrian. We all face the same technology challenges with every purchase of electronic equipment. We are never really buying the latest, and we often find out that a purchase meets some but never all of our known needs.
The DND needs to stop making contributions to the public waste.
You should have mentioned the attempt to do the same thing in Ontario by way of contrast. I hope Ontario’s civil servants and politicians are taking notes.
I remember Bob quite vividly and my experience is that Microsoft marketed Bob to the wrong crowd.
My parents were hitting retirement when Bob was introduced. My mom had the most experience and had worked with WordPerfect 4.X in an office environment. My dad was the traditional senior manager of his day — worked on paper and had the secretary do the typing and computer work. The first computer they owned (and had until last year) was an IBM PS1. It had gone through a major upgrade (or two), but the same old chuggy processor (a 486SX25) sat inside.
But Bob was the perfect GUI for my parents. The applications were just what they needed, nothing fancy. They used Bob for several years and it was actually hard to get mom to switch to newer word processors because “”they had too much stuff on the screen.”” Trying to convince kids and younger family that Bob was neat was a failure for Microsoft.
My parents are in their 70s and the computer is a daily way of life for them. The web and e-mail keep them in touch with relatives and friends around the world and I think Bob played a big part in their development.
Vice-president technology communications
Thornley Fallis Communications
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