Lists Home |
Date Index |
How about progress through making a component more reliable
by avoiding the 'duct tape' approach?
Tim O'Reilly writes an article designed to promote open
source paradigms but picks an awful metaphor because
for anyone who actually does what he suggests, the lesson
Only amateurs and desperate roadies duct tape mic cables.
It leaves a sticky goo on the cable which makes it
difficult to wrap and put in a case. It is quite
difficult to remove afterwards. Because of
that, the ever so delicate wires inside break
down faster and one is out serious money over
time, and it will fail at a bad time: ten minutes
before the show, or right in the middle of it.
One sees that bad habit only where the budget has
exaggerated cash flow. For the majority
of professional sound crews, rock bands, etc. that
is seldom true. (We use snakes or we use long
runs that route around the walkways.)
What do we use duct tape for: we duct tape
something that is broken if there is not enough
time to fix it correctly.
It is excellent for holding broken technologies
together until one can afford to replace them
with new or better ones. I don't think that is what he
means to say in that article; however, it may
be accidentally insightful given his discussion
of the dynamic upkeep of Internet apps that
break far too easily and often. Perhaps the key to making
money On The Web really is like 1950s auto manufacturing:
make it cheap, make it quickly, make it delicate, sell
the customer an extended warranty that only covers parts
that won't fail, and charge a lot for the parts
and services that do.
Low initial costs plus high maintenance fees: sound
like a good business model to emulate? Caveat emptor.
If your iPod has duct tape on it, it won't get you laid.