Digital Minefield

Why The Machines Are Winning

Too Many Things


The last post talked about the complexity generated by too many things. There are many solutions for dealing with too many things: clustering, subdividing, and especially hierarchies. But no amount of structure will help us control devices when there are simply too many. It’s the difference between a file system for device manuals and simultaneously running a half-dozen devices.

It’s not just how many devices we have but how much of our time it takes to do the necessary work they require. Besides controlling these devices as users, we are also the owners. As such we are responsible for keeping these devices functioning. You may think you’re the ruler of your digital world, but you are also the person who must maintain it.

The ugly truth: We are the maintenance men and women of this brave new digital world. Some people may look down on the task of maintenance. As in the phrase, “It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.” Certainly, the makers and sellers of these devices downplay the maintenance needed keep them performing their clever tricks. And the more clever the device, the further beneath it is maintenance. Yet, it’s necessary and it is our job.

Maintenance is rarely planned and less often budgeted. Despite this fact, it is literally the grease that keeps the world turning. The bottom line? Maintenance is essential and without it, things will behave badly. As in, Beware of Falling Bridges. And our clever devices? Without proper maintenance, they will aggravate, function erratically, break, die, and, yes, even kill.

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