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Re: [xml-dev] Re: XML As Fall Guy

On Tue, Nov 26, 2013 at 9:27 PM, Stephen Cameron <steve.cameron.62@gmail.com> wrote:
We have to accept and cope with the fact that 99% of the people on the other side of the table don't have the foggiest what we are talking about when we describe the technical necessities and gotchas.  They are Money Elites and We Are Socially Beneath Them Because They Know The RIGHT People Who Sign Checks.

Time to rise up from the comfort of my chair and exercise my throwing arm.

We in IT are so inward looking and this is compounded within the sub groups that we fragment into be that imperative/functional, XML/JSON, lazy/strict C/Java etc. Much of what follows may seem and may be  facile but there is alot of high falutin language floating around that I don't pretend to understand and I want to stay on terrain that I find comprehensible and focus on the cause rather than symptoms.

99% of the people on the other side don't have the foggiest what we are talking about. Is that surprising?

Only in IT will you find people arguing with a complete lack of diffidence that things as patently absurd as

x=x+1 or counting something and then keeping a running total so that you know when you have finished an iterative task, are natural.

Think about that last one next time you are about to climb a set of stairs.

Only in IT will you find people passionately defending or accepting languages that have distinguishing semantics for =, == (and even ===) or eq? eqv? equal? and I'm sorry to say our own general vs value comparison operators as acceptable.

Only in IT is any absurdity justifiable by virtue of it's mere presence in a specification. To the general public the notion that  A=B and A eq B have completely different semantics or (A=B and A==B and A===B) or  A = B vs A<-B is absurd. In IT however the willingness/ability to waste good brain cells internalizing such distinctions makes you a guru.

A while ago I had to fill in a form on a website that had a field with a completely  arbitrary word count limit but worse rejected my submission because it contained an & and wouldn't accept it until I had changed it to &amp; (lucky guess eh). This was on a UK government website meant for use by the general public.

The UK government gateway http://www.gateway.gov.uk/ provides access to government services  and enables you to do things like file tax returns and register for other government services. It did not occur to anybody that it might not be the best idea to send passwords that included characters like o0O i1l or 5S. No big deal, just order another password ........ but you have to wait 7 - 10 business days for it to arrive (for security reasons) by mail and therefore may miss a filing deadline. But hey, this is the industry happily and deliberately devolves responsibility for designing user interfaces to people who can code things like _javascript_, but know nothing about HCI or UX so quel supris? Technical authors - who possess some of the skills to bridge the communications divide are novel luxuries - I've only ever come across one project that used them.

At university I dodged doing the mandatory Professional Standards course (what was the point I planned to be a techie). Subsequently having to teach the class  was quite an illuminating experience. Would IT communities  be so insular (XML bad JSON good), (languages that begin with J good, languages that begin with X bad) if they were exposed to the extent the legal community go to harmonise leglislation (e.g Data Protection, Computer Misuse and laws relating to intellectual property)  across the continent.

There are too few women (and minorities) in IT they cry. What kind of person is a startup going to attract if the employee profile presented to applicants is modeled on Mark Zuckerberg or the Google twins? A good proportion of IT job ads are unlawful - but if you never took a Professional Standards course how else would you know about the relevant provisions of the Equalities Act (another illustration of harmonised legislation).

What are the consequences of a gung ho attitude to IT procurement on any of the interested parties (Big 4 firms, outsourcers on both sides, individual consultants, responsible managers etc). Nobody goes to jail despite the fact their screw ups might kill people (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Ambulance_Service#System_failures) and that not being able to buy timely health insurance has had serious political  and is bound to have serious medical consequences on some.  You'd be unlucky to lose your job and if you did you'd notch it down as another X years of experience on the resume to be used to lever yourself into your next position.

I bet you the 99% on the other side of the divide don't have the foggiest idea what their lawyers, architects, doctors, surveyors and engineers are on about either but those projects get done. Partly because they have barriers to entry and because if they did the shit that we do in IT they wouldn't be able to continue practising.

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