Maybe The FBI Should Just Get AOL Accounts

from the one-solution dept

Nicholas Carr apparently isn’t getting enough attention these days. Just a week after he wrote that (oh no, not again) the network computer was going to be a hit despite its long history of failures, he’s taking on the recent FBI computer mishap boondoggle story, by simplifying the whole thing down to the idea that custom software sucks, and everyone should just use off-the-shelf products — which would, of course, support the thesis of his book (which, if I understand my release dates properly, should be getting ready for a paperback release sometime soon — aha! I think we know why he’s making noise all of a sudden). Anyway, it’s a nice idea that the FBI should be using AOL accounts (apparently, the Secret Service already uses T-Mobile for their email) and Microsoft Word to settle all of their computer difficulties, but life isn’t always so easy. Now, obviously, there are times when off-the-shelf applications should be considered, but saying that the entire multi-million dollar FBI system could easily be replaced with such software seems a bit extreme.

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Comments on “Maybe The FBI Should Just Get AOL Accounts”

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Paul Vint says:


I think if anyone’s guilty of oversimplifying, maybe it’s you. Carr pointed out, appropriately, the difficulty of large-scale software projects and suggested, reasonably, that the FBI’s approach – rush to build a custom system from scratch – was wrongheaded. There are plenty of available software components the FBI could have drawn on in building its system. My guess is that the post-mortem will show that Carr’s diagnosis is on target.

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