It’s hard to avoid the “Bridge Scandal” roaring on CNN lately:
For 25 years, a toll-bridge connecting NJ to NYC had the rightmost 3 of 12 lanes of the upper level devoted to merging traffic from Fort Lee, the nearest borough to NYC, despite them being only 4.5% of the traffic. There had been no testing to develop that flow. A test was designed to see what would happen if Fort Lee got only one lane. Apparently, little or no notice was given to Fort Lee people to: adjust departure times, assign traffic control structures or police, or even to notify the higher-ups in Fort Lee, like the mayor.
The result was highly predictable, improved traffic flow for the rest of NJ to NYC over the bridge and gridlock in Fort Lee. No doubt the people of Fort Lee used their unfair share and proximity to NYC to time their departures a little on the thin side. No doubt the people of Fort Lee were out of practice merging. No doubt the police/EMS had to develop a backup plan in a hurry and pull some political strings. No doubt politicians had to do something to react to complaints by the public.
There was some communication with people running the test and the higher-ups in the governor’s office. Some of these are clearly “smoking guns” showing that these folks new chaos would result and that they were happy with that… Then came the political fallout. One person was forced to resign and was publicly scolded by the governor. Another person was fired outright.
What has this to do with IT (Information Technology)? It’s a system. How do you deal with all the information flowing through your system today? How should people get across a bridge? The answer is obvious in both cases. Eliminate the bottle-neck! This whole problem would never have arisen if there wasn’t a toll-booth at which vehicles had to slow down/stop. The base cause of all this was the faulty decision (widely made in USA) that the user must pay no matter how inconvenient or inefficient this is. Doesn’t the whole country of USA, state of NY and state of NJ benefit from the traffic going over that bridge? Further, why do people have to “commute” (ie. waste time, money, and resources) to get to work? Is this not the 21st century when many of us can work from home via the network? This is an obvious example of a problem that disappears with sharing. Share the bridge. Share the cost of the bridge through taxation.
Back to IT. Sigh. Isn’t it about time we got away from this idea that Wintel must be paid for every user to do anything? Isn’t Wintel a monopoly over IT that was obsolete on Day One? Aren’t we better off now that */Linux is available on retail shelves for a fraction of the cost of Wintel? You bet! The world can and does make its own software. We don’t need M$ to tell us how to do IT. We don’t need M$ to tax our IT. We can pay for it one slice at a time and share the whole pie. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux for anyone wanting better IT today.