Using email - the reality bites

July 8th, 2007 - chosen as a TWTWTW article

Further to my posting that states you can use email for the 'publishing' and 'reading' part of the Web 2.0 experience ... well, the reality bit hard today when I challenged one of my "80% friends" to move his email jokes list to a blog/feed approach.

He agreed to the challenge.

I set-up the Blogger blog.
I set up the Feedburner account and feed.

I let him know we're on our way.

I tried to forward one of his joke emails containing pictures ... it failed.

The first bloody attempt and it failed ... Blogger cannot handle pictures (or any type of attachment - there go the PowerPoint jokes). Arse!

Ok, I can handle that. Let's try something else. Aha, Wordpress can do it (with a wee bit of technical jiggery pokery). Right, don't want to install myself ... aha, they'll host it for me.

Set up a host Wordpress blog.

Search for how to email posts ... ah, they don't do pictures either.

Isn't this just so damned typical of IT systems and IT people? I (the "IT person") let you know that we can do the whole lot, I even let you know the limitations of the approach. I talk it up, I show you examples that are nearly exactly what you want ... it's just a matter of plugging this [jargon A] into [jargon B] and sign up for [service C] and you're away. Take about 30 mins ... or 3 years, depends how much you think you can get out of your esteemed client!

Now, what you usually don't hear is that the "IT person" hasn't actually done it before but they're convinced that it MUST be able to do that, surely, I mean, really, who would write an application that won't let you [fill in one of your requirements - post photos say].

"IT person" tries if for the first time.
Ah ... no. That particular application doesn't do that [post photos via email] ... yet.

The path from this point (or "going forward" as we in the wanky business world like to call it) is many and varied but can include one or more of:
  • The requirement is questioned ("Is it worth having photo's posted, is it really that important?")
  • Stall for time for a new version to be released ... be aware, this never delivers the feature either
  • Stall for time whilst teams of techo's are herded into darkened rooms and threatened with 'social interaction' unless they solve the problem
  • Techos generate a 'one off' soluton that within months becomes a cornerstone to the esteemed clients business and we can rake in mucho support related $s
  • The esteemed client is gently but actively ... dropped
  • Microsoft is blamed
  • Jargon is used to explain that both the requirements (and therefore the esteemed client) and the application was never meant to meet in this universe and maybe it's best if we all move on and have you tried [application D] before?
  • Someone sues someone else
Sucks doesn't it?!
(especially when, as is my case, you are both the "client" and the "IT person" - there's no-one to blame!)

However, sometimes an "IT person" will do what I'm gonna do.
Apologise to the client (my mate) and let him work with the system that he has - it's working, leave it alone until I can actually (in real life and not just in a sales presentation) make a positive difference for the client.

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