[LINK] new IT council

Tom Koltai tomk at unwired.com.au
Tue May 12 00:40:01 AEST 2009

> -----Original Message-----
> From: link-bounces at mailman1.anu.edu.au 
> [mailto:link-bounces at mailman1.anu.edu.au] On Behalf Of 
> Bernard Robertson-Dunn
> Sent: Monday, 11 May 2009 10:24 PM
> To: link
> Subject: Re: [LINK] new IT council
> stephen at melbpc.org.au wrote:
> I am assuming that John Grant studied civil engineering, which was 
> probably a requirement for working as a civil engineer with Brisbane 
> City Council.
> What is it with the IT industry that we have so many people in senior 
> positions in industry bodies, vendors and user IT departments with no 
> formal qualifications in Electronics or Computer Science?

I think I could hazard a guess at this.

Firstly - there were no compsci degreses in the '70's or the early 80's.

Those that studied the art of Computers, specialised in fortran and
creating databases out of left over helicopter spare part filing
cabinets [PICK].
Revolutionaries existed and they used the innappropriate [according to
IBM] and frowned upon environment called UNIX.
They didn't get banned to spend the rest of their lives on a desert
island - but they also were not considered seriously for any REAL job.

My own experience of the early days of PC computing in three continents
was that in the beginning was 
the HP41C Calculator/Computer with the ibm selectric printer as the
output device (driven by a wang interface).

Followed within 2 years by the spreadsheet on cpm (Adler PC's) followed
by the word processor followed by CAD made possible by the 8087.
Autocad was the first real "delivered" commercial application outside of
the accountancy base that computers came from.

Engineers, Surveyors and Draftsmen were the first to be given these
powerful [cough 8087.... Cough] new productivity aids, therefore I
surmise that when Data3 started (about 1985/6 from memory, the only
people around that could operate the stuff were "operators" and

Ergo - Logical.

> I don't suppose there is relationship between this 
> observation and the 
> extraordinary number of large scale IT project failures?

On this one - I would guess that you might be referring to the Westpac
and the Yellow pages fiascos, being the most expensive that come to mind
(costing Australia 1.8 billion between the two..... In 1990

My take would be that road gradient curves have very little to do with
four decimal places on compound interest and the code required to
calculate the differing outcomes could be the reason for the project

Road curvature goes up and down following a shallow bell curve -
compound interest only goes up. That could be the problem.
Autocad cant do non-linear curve structures.
>From memory - it didn't do very good 4GL lookup for phone numbers either
- circa 1993.

And if you were IBM, in the mid 80's - you wouldn't staff a subsidiary
with any of those radical unix users....... Nope, you would use


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