There are some constants in the IT world. Windows will always have viruses, you always have to have a backup and recovery plan, average computer users are stupid, and apple and linux
disciples users are nuts. And if you look hard enough — there is an app for just about everything, or some starving programmer who will write something for you if you hand them a fist full of cold hard casd. Nothing new there.
That said, looking over the software, office and IT landscape, I think I found a glaring hole that needs to be filled by technology. Let me explain. Computers and software have transformed the work place office as we know it over the last 15 to 20 years. Our type-writers are keyboards and text programs, our phones are smart digital devices, we no longer uses pens and pencils to send letters, or for that matter, use stamps that go on the envelope (remember those) — we just send emails. Everything in the old office work-place has become assimilated by a piece of technology that has replaced it in the new modern work-place. All except for one glaring thing.
For a moment take a quick glance around and just look at the techno geeks walking around with their laptops, bags filled with smart phones, pen drives and wireless mice, etc.. and all of them (with a few exceptions) have a coffee cup glued to one hand. (Wait, coffee??) Most hard working IT people that play god with user access rights on a daily basis drink coffee until .. well.. all day.. It’s the fuel that binds the creative energy in our brains to the fuel in the flame under our butts. Yes, coffee in the modern work-place has not been so assimilated by modern technologies in a way that I believe to be acceptable.
But wait you say! There are already digital coffee machines, the ones tha keep the time, automatically make coffee on pre-defined schedule and will beep when the coffee pot is low. Then you say, isn’t being modern what Starbucks is for? But that my IT friends is not what i’m talking about.
If your in IT you know that there is one thing we like — Control. Rights management, smooth running software, networks and computers. When something goes wrong, or out of our control, it usually has to do with an end user. Endusers are stupid and have no respect for order or control. They just screw things up and expect us to fix it. So we drink our coffee all daylong keeping the ever watchful eye on the users to make sure they don’t screw things up.
Where things tend to get a little harry in the office is that one thing we can’t control (yet..) – the physical user. So when Joe A-Hole Bob gets up from his desk, walks into the office break room, and proceeds to drain the last of the coffee and walks away without making a new pot about 45 seconds before you walk in to refill your cup, you literally feel the user control slipping away from you. (and albeit a fair amount of rage..) You don’t know who did it, there are no logs to search though, no errors to explain it, its just a few drops of coffee burring in an empty pot that someone didn’t bother to refill. You feel the irritation at your “smart coffee pot” that is beeping away because it knows it needs to be refilled. This my IT friends it totally unacceptable.
So today I suggest a new IT office application and appliance. The snap-in, network aware digitally monitored coffee maker with built-in empty pot protection software. This is how it works. The monitoring software can be installed on any network and can monitor coffee freshness, the weight of the coffee in the pot so it knows when it needs more, and can email you on a set schedule to remind you to re-fill your cup incase your coffee is cold. But that’s not the best part, now with the built in empty pot protection software, systems administrators can finally answer the age old question that plagues every office in the world — “Who IS the A-hole that never refills the pot for everyone else?”.
The “SINADMCM” appliance as I’ll call it, comes with not only the coffee maker, but a large metal floor mat that sits on the floor in-front of the counter that the coffee maker is on. If the “SINADMCM” protection software senses a user walking away while leaving a pot empty and not re-filling it, the metal pad gets a whopping 250 volts of electricity, then at the same moment, notifies the system administrator and snaps a picture of whoever it is laying on the floor in their own urine and spilled coffee while emailing that lovely shot to everyone in the office. Additionally it uses facial recognition software to figures out who the user is and emails everyone in the users computer address book the picture with a message about what an a-hole they are. Now systems administrators can truly have control over the entire office place.
But, hey.. this is just a suggestion for a glaring IT hole that I think can be filled with technology. I could be wrong, but I reject that notion because I don’t have user access to the folder labeled “i’m wrong”.