IT is an interesting field of business. It’s
full of promises and continually upgrading
new products. From the viewpoint of a system
administrator and a systems integrator IT
is also plain hard work: it’s about taking
care of existing installations, making sure
sites are working every day, reacting to
troublesome situations, and reporting to
the bosses. It would be easy to bring
much better (software) products to the market,
if only the old ones would not be so
bolted into use; old software sticks like
elephants in tar. The truth is that innovations
are slowly spreading into use, and many of
the good old tools are fighting a fierce
battle for existence and living room.
Web 2.0 and Internet are probably slowly
changing the application-centric model into
a scene where there are more automatically
updating tools located in the network.
So people will work IN the network, not
with the network. But there are always risks
involved with moving into a network — and
the least of these risks is by no means the
fact that when outsourcing (=moving into
using ASP provider’s tools) the tools’
ownership is transferred from the client
to the subcontractor. This is a major
factor: it creates somewhat a feeling of
risk, and feeling of losing independence.
There’s an old saying of “rolling your own”,
or do-it-yourself attitude, if the readymade
product is not satisfactory. Especially hackers
like to knit code and systems themselves.

The amount of information has increased
and is probably continually still increasing.
Programs are getting more complicated.
Business processes are in a constant flux.

Many basic tasks are candywrapped in
a new form: for example as basic a thing
as the email has been candywrapped many
times. There’s Hotmail, Gmail, the Finnish
IOBox (in the 2000s), and thousands of
other free or for-cost email systems in the
WWW. Many people have at least two email
boxes to read.

I found out recently that there were 194
unread mails in my university email account.
Most of them are not personal – they are
instead generated by computer systems.
They’re notifications of different things
happening in the digital environment.
Some are discussions in email lists, some
are communications from the changes that
taken place in yet other systems. So we’re kind
of flooded with messages about events. This
is nothing new: if you take a walk in the streets,
you’ll see huge number of messages about events.
Every poster hanging in the city walls are
messages. They’re advertising different kind
of things. It’s this environment of messages
that is getting virtualized.

I once did an experiment of leaving the email
untouched for 3 months. What happened?
Nothing. I thought beforehand that this kind
of reckless action would constitute at least
and arrest
or a capital punishment. But no, nothing happened.
Isn’t it miraculous? Keep this in mind, when
you’re being bombed by too much information.
You don’t have to read it all. Nobody can, in fact.

In a big company the process of checking a single
fact can blow into an email thread which consists
of about 50-100 messages, and the thread
travels through the company’s employees for
months. You can get a reply 6 months after
you sent the mail. It’s kinda like a tunneling
piece of information, propagating its way
in the networks and collecting opinions, facts and
debris during its journey.
The answer can be eg. an estimate of a certain
financial figure. What’s the value of an estimate,
3 months after you requested it? A thing worth
thinking!

I discussed earlier this thread thing with an
insurance sales man. We were in a party, and
casually started chatting. He said that
communications is all in all; that’s what
digital and many substanceless products are!
They are mostly communication.
Projects, insurances, software: all communication.
It’s an interesting viewpoint, one that really
had an impact on me.

The value of information is subjective, and
there’s a fuzzy and situation-dependant
function which defines this value. Information
is often time-critical. Old information is called
history. They say, that information increases
the pain we experience. On the other hand,
correct and current information also reduces
the guesswork which would have to be done
in a certain situation.

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