Tuesday, October 28, 2008

the passions run deep

Technology is an extremely personal thing. We all have our particular likes, dislikes, suffrages, and delights. I know this. It's why we review, analyze, vet, test, and reverse engineer technologies and processes before we ask our end-users to adopt them as their own -- in sickness and in health.

So while I'm not overly surprised by responses to this, I'm wondering about motivation and argument. Claim and warrant are both shaped by the rhetor's passion for the subject, at least that's the way it used to be. It's this passion that I'm curious to understand better, particularly when we're talking about something as innocuous as a network operating system.

In spite of my efforts to qualify my comments, there remains this need to have the last word. It's like arguing with my kid about why he needs to have his license on him when he's driving the car that I still insure. It's a reaction that I understand, but nonetheless wish I experienced less. Julie makes two absolute guarantees in her claims about Netware/Groupwise vs. AD/Exchange. Richard is similarly compelled to reiterate the notion of fiscal irresponsibility in selecting a Microsoft solution. In both cases, I'm struck by and admire the strength of their conviction and the urgency in their tone.

What I can't swallow is the implication that our decision to adopt an AD/Exchange campus computing environment was wrong. The implication isn't palatable because it assumes there is a "right" decision. I guess it's like anything: you have opinions and convictions that drive you to accept certain beliefs. In some cases you hold onto those convictions so long that you simply can't consider any alternative, compromise, or compelling context. In other cases, you're driven to continue to hold onto something because you just can't tolerate, accept, or otherwise co-exist with the alternatives.

This is why I think we've been modestly successful in our IT work at UC. We know that technology is personal and that technologists get really geeked up when you start bandying around options, directions, and future-think. Maybe I'm just getting tired of the outliers who continue to screech the same old tunes I've been listening to since the days of the Lisa and X-Windows. Yeah, maybe I'm just getting tired.

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