Tuesday, September 07, 2004

ST: Overheard

Off Sunday Times.

Website crash: Was it fowl play?
REGULARS of the satirical website TalkingCock.com have noticed some unusual occurrences there in the past month.

First, there were new postings which did not sound like the usual TalkingCock. Next, whole chunks of old postings disappeared into thin air - including a game involving inflicting electronic slaps to the images of prominent politicians from both government and opposition camps. Finally, the entire site crashed.

Site regulars speculated that the site might have been hacked into.

When the site came back on in late August, its main page declared: 'We are still investigating the cause of the crash. As a poultry-themed site, we cannot rule out fowl play.'

Cynics say however that it masterminded its temporary demise. After lamenting how a lot of TalkingCock data had been lost in the crash, it revealed that 'we're now in the process of engaging professionals to perform data recovery, which is likely to cost us a lot of money'. You can help, it said, if you buy its publications or make a donation online.

CCTV recorders and trash theory
THREE people fell off the platform onto MRT tracks last month and, each time, we were reminded that 35 of SMRT's 51 stations already have CCTV recorders while 16 are having the system installed.

A group of MBA students in an organisational behaviour class asked why this was being repeated ad nauseam.

After all, more cameras won't save lives, whereas barriers could. One student said this beautifully illustrated what the garbage can theory of organisations taught: Initiatives and problems are thrown together in an organisation like trash in a garbage can. The imaginative manager picks up from the garbage can an existing initiative and calls it the solution to an unanticipated problem that has emerged.

If there is slight slippage in the logic, just wing it.

When the CCTV system is fully installed, it'll be easy to review how someone fell onto the tracks. No one will be saved - but something would have been done.

Rubbish, you say? You couldn't be more right.

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