Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Bedtime Story About Second Life, Viewer Development & Interspecies Communication

Bonifacio  (general)

A group of small children approach an old lady sitting on a bench.

"Auntie Honour?  What are you doing?"
"I'm waiting little one."
"Can we wait with you?"
"Sure, but it might take a long time."
"What are we waiting for?"

The children look at each other and shrug.  The smallest crawls into the woman's lap. "Tell us a story" she pleads.  The old crone looks at them and tries to think of a simple way to describe her concern.  Finally she decides that she can only try and make it brief or these children will never get to sleep.  She nods and then begins to speak.

"Once upon a time there were no computers in the forest.  Hush children, this is my story.  Well then, some brave engineers and mathematicians worked very hard and created these wonderous machines that could perform what seemed like miracles at the time.  As years passed the machines became better and faster and smaller.  The group of people working on them became more and more specialized until an entire new species evolved.  We call them Programmers.

Bonifacio  (general)

Every now and then the Programmers would have to talk to somebody outside their community to get some knowledge they didn't have, like accounting principles, but they tried to limit that type of interspecies communication.  It was difficult and it just complicated things.

One day, after many years had passed, somebody had the bright idea that computers should be used by all species.  A small box was built and passed around and the programmers pointed to a magical genie inside the box that would help even the lower life forms like business people make use of what was now called "technology".  This genie was named DOS (the old lady shudders) and we'll skip his story for the moment.  I will say that "sexy" is in the eye of the beholder and Programmers need glasses.

Over time the whole world of computers got bigger and bigger and a major change took place.  People started to view technology as a tool and, if it was going to be useful, business people felt they should have some input and control over what was done.  The Programmers fought against this new world order but they lost.  In order to make sure the different species could understand each other a new life form was born.  We called them Analysts."

Bonifacio  (general)

"What did Analysts do Auntie Honour?"

"Analysts worked to understand what everybody's needs were and the implications of those needs.  They had to understand the whole picture and translate those needs into a language the Programmers could understand.  You see Programmers lived on code (and sugar and caffeine) but that meant their view of the universe was very narrow.  The rest of the species decided it was not a good idea to let Programmers make decisions about what the technology would do.  It was the Analysts' job to look around and make sure that expectations would be met and that no harm would come from the work that was done."

"What happened to the Analysts?"

"Ah well, you see looking around and understanding required time.  The world was changing quickly and various life forms were seeking for ways to do things faster and cheaper so they decided to "streamline" their methodologies.  The Programmers convinced all the other life forms that Analysts were "overhead" and unnecessary and sent them to navel gaze on a remote island in the Pacific. 

At about the same time that this entire species was sent packing a new form of technology magic suddenly moved into the world.  It had been around for a while in various forms but advances in graphics and interfaces suddenly made "gaming" available to both the technical and non technical species.  Programmers had ownership of this magic and had learned enough from the past that they weren't going to let go of it to anybody.

Then a new version of this magic was created - the virtual world.  The exciting thing for many species was that this world was usable by those who couldn't "code" and didn't speak the Programmers' language.  Everybody was happy in the forest for a while but then things started to go wrong.

Bonifacio  (general)

 The Programmers had found an Agile way of deciding what they wanted to do and actually doing it.  They were in heaven because it meant they got to make many things and do them quickly.  The serpent in this Eden though was that occasionally they still had to get input from users so they came up with a solution that made them very happy.  They would force the other species to communicate with them in the Programmers' own tongue using one of the Programmers' own tools called a JIRA.  

This worked wonders, particularly since only a very small percentage of those users knew it existed and an even smaller percentage could understand it.  This latter group, not surprisingly, were users who were also Programmers.  These "users" would identify bugs and demand new features.  The Programmers would prioritize as they wished and code to their hearts content and pump out fixes and enhancements quickly.  The entire species was very very happy.

But there was a dark cloud forming in the forest.  You see if a new feature was created on the bones of an old one, or if something was changed to make way for the "new", nobody had the job of understanding how the old version had been used.  The Programmers like to focus and focusing on the stories they were given for new code was their job.  Stories about other people who might be impacted were not necessary.  The other species - much like the business people of old - felt that it was impossible to make their voices heard and have their stories taken into consideration. They were hurt and got angry and interspecies relations fell to a new low."

"What happened then Auntie Honour?"

"Nothing yet little one.  I expect the circle to come around again at some point in the future.  Some bright spark will decide that Analysts should be brought back from their exile and facilitate interspecies communication once again.  

You all should go to bed now.  I'm going to sit here on this bench and wait."

Bonifacio  (general)


Laura18 Streeter said...

Aw. his is just too cute! A new twist on an old story... and yet still true

Opensource Obscure said...