[teknoids] RE: Biggest bar exam disaster ever?

Essary, Larry E essaryl at campbell.edu
Tue Aug 5 14:38:48 EDT 2014


The following article is by an IT consultant I have read for many years, books and articles.  I think this one is especially relative in the wake of the bar exam issues (with a small i).  I recommend following him when you can.  He has a simple, straightforward approach to IT issues that seem very effective.

Larry Essary
Director of IT
Campbell Law School
Raleigh, NC

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        [If you could read only one book about effective IT leadership, this would be it.]





Technological wizardry in action<http://www.issurvivor.com/>
Technology has become routine. Too bad implementing information technology hasn’t become routine.
8/4/2014
Clarke’s third law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
- Sir Arthur C. Clarke



[https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/s/?view=att&th=147a3a808ac37143&attid=0.4&disp=emb&zw&atsh=1]They just waved their wands and magical things happened.
Don’t be concerned. There is an IT point to this, although we won’t get to it for a while.
My daughters, children when I wrote the first of these missives, are allegedly adults now. (Excuse me for a moment … AIYEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Sorry.) I say allegedly because when we took a few days of vacation in Florida together a couple of weeks ago, Harry Potter World at Universal Studios was at the top of their list.
Top on my own list was the Kennedy Space Center where, among other treats, we heard retired astronaut/Deputy NASA Administrator Fred Gregory recount how his career happened.
Most people who talk about themselves are tiresome. Colonel Gregory was never tiresome. Two bits: (1) He gave his parents a lot of the credit, in particular because, he said, no matter what he wanted to do as a child, they said yes, and (2) his entire career plan was to have fun and have an impact. Seemed to work out pretty well for him.
We also got close to the business end of a Saturn V rocket — the booster used for the Apollo missions, which required something like four million bits and pieces of technology, all of which had to work flawlessly. NASA engineers understood how each and every one of them was designed and put together because NASA engineers pretty much had to invent each and every one of them.
In the Harry Potter books, and most books in which magic is an important part of the plot, magic doesn’t involve millions of carefully designed and integrated bits and pieces. It’s more a matter of opening your mind and exerting your will.
Which brings us to Harry Potter World. Give Universal credit — whether or not you like this kind of thing, Universal skimped on nothing. The attention to detail was phenomenal, right down to selling butter beer (the preferred beverage among young witches and wizards at Hogwarts, I was informed). Which meant someone on the design team had to (1) recognize that selling butter beer would enrich the experience for Harry Potter fans; (2) persuade the budget-meister that formulating a recipe for butter beer and building places to buy it would be worth the investment; and (3) actually formulate a beverage that was palatable and had a flavor that tasted how something called butter beer ought to taste.
They also sold magic wands. Okay, they sold a lot of stuff — merchandising is part of the theme park equation — but at least they sold it in realistic (if that word makes any sense in this context) Diagon Alley shops. In one, a master wand maker purveyed his wares.
Unlike in the books, exerting one’s will and shouting something Latinish is optional. These wands have hidden circuitry and an infrared (I presume) tip. At various places in the park, if you stand in the right place and wave the tip at a discreetly positioned sensor in a shop window, something magical happens.
Nice touch. Huge crowds. The children (including my adult children, and, I confess, me too — my kids bought me a wand so I could enjoy being a warlock for a day) got a kick out of it.
I’m willing to bet each and every visitor knew the effects were the result of technology, not magic, and could probably explain how it worked, at least in broad terms. Certainly, the park’s designers would have known that once they described what they wanted, the engineers would have no trouble making it happen.
We aren’t all members of the ETG<http://www.weblog.keepthejointrunning.com/?p=5815> (embedded technology generation if you haven’t been paying attention) but we’re all so accustomed to being enmeshed in technology that for the most part we only notice it when it isn’t working right.
This is what’s wrong, and right, with IT in a lot of companies — as a matter of fact, not blame or root causes. First, there’s no butter-beer budget, to make sure users have a natural-seeming experience. And second, unlike Harry Potter World’s designers, business managers in many companies have little or no confidence that if they describe what they’re trying to accomplish, IT will have no trouble delivering it.
But, most IT shops now do score well on the Invisibility Index<http://www.weblog.keepthejointrunning.com/?p=5139> — the only metric that matters for IT operations. That is, in most companies business users are so accustomed to everything working right that they only notice when it isn’t.
That’s no small accomplishment. And there’s no magic involved.
Just a lot of hard work coupled with careful engineering.
And, if we took the time to count them all, millions of bits and pieces of technology.
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Okay, say something bad about Harry Potter. I dare you!
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Do you know anyone or any discussion groups that should be talking about this?
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Bob Lewis is a senior management consultant with Dell Services, which takes no position on this commentary -- for, against, or more nuanced. Contact him at rdlewis at issurvivor.com.

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Sent from my iPad

On Aug 5, 2014, at 2:23 PM, "Dean, Daniel" <daniel.dean at ttu.edu<mailto:daniel.dean at ttu.edu>> wrote:

I was the site captain for the TTU site and we had no issues.  Fortunately we have excellent internet connection at this site, both wired and wireless, and we make sure all applicants are uploaded before they leave.  Evidently we were all uploaded before the glitch.  With any technology you can eventually expect glitches.  The real test of a provider is how they handle the glitches, and Examsoft has always been good at this.   If this is the worst that happens I will not have any qualms with  Examsoft.

Daniel T. Dean  MCSE
Unit Manager, Academinc Technology Asset Management
Texas Tech University School of Law
Law Library and Computing

tel:806-843-6530
Tell us how we are doing—rate your interaction with Law Library/Information Technology<http://www.law.ttu.edu/lawlibrary/comment_card.php>

From: teknoids-bounces at ruckus.law.cornell.edu<mailto:teknoids-bounces at ruckus.law.cornell.edu> [mailto:teknoids-bounces at ruckus.law.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Holland, Wes
Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2014 12:52 PM
To: Teknoids
Subject: RE: [teknoids] RE: Biggest bar exam disaster ever?

Hey All,

I was a Site Captain in California this July and while it is true that ExamSoft had communications issues for upload on the evening of Tuesday the 29th, it was resolved by the next day and folks were able to upload without problems.  I spoke to their technical staff and they said they had some problems with some of their communications providers and were working to resolve it.

Most BAR sites will give applicants a day or two to upload so it really wasn’t an issue other than the initial “OMG, I can’t upload right this second!!!” folks.

Biggest disaster ever???  I think not.

-Wes-

From: teknoids-bounces at ruckus.law.cornell.edu<mailto:teknoids-bounces at ruckus.law.cornell.edu> [mailto:teknoids-bounces at ruckus.law.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Peter Stanisci
Sent: Friday, August 01, 2014 6:20 AM
To: teknoids at ruckus.law.cornell.edu<mailto:teknoids at ruckus.law.cornell.edu>
Subject: RE: [teknoids] RE: Biggest bar exam disaster ever?

Yes Daniel… and that was when most of us decided to switch to Examsoft!   I will be curious to see what happens to Examsoft as a result of this…

BTW, It made it to foxnews….

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/07/30/bar-exam-fail-law-grads-unable-to-submit-completed-tests-due-to-software-glitch/


From: teknoids-bounces at ruckus.law.cornell.edu<mailto:teknoids-bounces at ruckus.law.cornell.edu> [mailto:teknoids-bounces at ruckus.law.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Starnes, Daniel
Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 12:40 PM
To: teknoids at ruckus.law.cornell.edu<mailto:teknoids at ruckus.law.cornell.edu>
Subject: Re: [teknoids] RE: Biggest bar exam disaster ever?

  This is very bad.  But I remember one worse.  In July 2007, the New York bar exam had a software glitch and lost all or part of the essays.  Some were recovered, some were unrecoverable.
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