Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Friendly User

What is particularly dangerous for a system is users that are accepting its flaws because of lack of background in how fast things generally move in a computer. I am parking in a garage that is remotely operated, from Rotterdam to Amsterdam. Once in a while the system thinks my car is in, when actually it's outside; the consequence is that it does not let me enter the carport. Now when I call the service number, the friendly service person at the other end thinks it is normal to have a login sequence of 15 minutes and that it takes half an hour to flip the flag that indicates the in or out position of my car. Yesterday I heard from a more knowledgeable person in the garage company that a software upgrade went sour somewhere last week and the response should be much faster.

Another example of this is when the OS/2 TCP/IP driver in its famous DOS box failed, it had to recover for about 20 minutes, and then it restarted. At the bank where I worked the users duly noted performance problems; which were checked by staff and then closed. When it worked, it worked fine. In reality, the users should have reported a defect (which it obviously was, with outages of more then 15 minutes), so a different crew would have been dispatched.