Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Age-Old Dream

Any hierarchal organization has a tension--the bottom has needs, wants, and information; the top has needs, wants, and information, and the two don't match. 20 years ago when ASCS got its IBM system 36's, the IBM software included a "data file utility". It permitted people to do reports or create their own files. I well remember a program specialist from New Mexico ("SR") mentioning his usage of it in an alcohol-fueled happy hour after a training meeting. It took quite a bit of effort to get the agency to make use of such work, and initiative. (IBM released a new set of software that was more user-friendly maybe a year later.) There was always suspicion from the professional programmers and the Washington hierarchy of such efforts. With some reason, I might add.

But the same tension is still evident today, as IBM announces some "mash-up" software. Reading between the lines of this article I can still hear the echoes of long-ago battles.

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