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Re: [tlug] [Resolved] Experience running internet connections over old Japanese wiring that wasn't designed for internet connections

On 21 March 2015 at 05:02, Stephen J. Turnbull <> wrote:

> Josh Glover writes:
>  > Your landlord is perhaps the greatest engineer on this list;
>  > basically the diamond that cuts through illusion. [1]
> That's a nice *dajare* (I laughed), but there's a real lesson here:
> sometimes managers can solve engineering problems more effectively
> than engineers can -- by changing the requirements.

Absolutely! I wasn't really being flip, though I must admit to some
playful intent.

There's a great story somewhere in the annals of "Joel on Software"
illustrating the same point. I can't find a link, but it was about
some byzantine accounting forms that had to be submitted every year.
Being a programming company, they started designing some software that
could handle this drudgery. They went excitedly to the accountant with
the solution to her problem, to which she replied something along the
lines of: "I have to spend a full day on this once a year. That
amounts to several hundred dollars of cost to the company. You want to
build software to handle this for me, fine. How many man-hours will
that take?". Sheepishly, Joel admitted to her that it would probably
be a man-week or more to develop, not to mention fixing the inevitable
bugs, showing her how to use it, etc. So the accountant solved the
problem by simply printing out the forms once a year, filling them in
with an ink pen (remember those?), and dropping them in the post.

Sometimes the best solution to a technical problem is to reframe it as
a non-technical one.


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