Eight laws that rule the IT world
Some of these laws are made up, and some we took from the Web site of the National Association for Coordinators and Teachers of IT (www.rmplc.co.uk/orgs/acitt/ index.html):
1. Gallois's Revelation
If you put rubbish into a computer, you get rubbish out of a computer.
But the rubbish coming out of a very expensive and complicated machine will have attained a sort of respectability and no one will dare criticise it.
2. Westheimer's Rule
To estimate the time it takes to do something: first, estimate the time you think it should take, multiply that figure by two and change the unit of measure to the next highest unit.
So, in this way, you allocate two days to a one-hour task.
3. Freedman's Postulate
The reliability of a computer system is inversely proportionate to the urgency of the task.
4. Young's Economy
You never have to buy costly support contracts if one of your relatives works for a computer magazine.
5. Kilkie's Axiom
The number of formatted disks you have available is always n-1, where n is the number of disks you actually need.
6. The ninety-ninety rule of project schedules
The first 90 per cent of the task takes 90 per cent of the time. The last 10 per cent takes the other 90 per cent of the time.
7. The Computer Rule
To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer.
8. Grosch's Law
Computing power increases in direct proportion to the square of the cost.
If you want to do something twice as cheaply, you have to do it four times as fast.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Cartoonist Scott Adams started drawing the Dilbert cartoon strip in 1989.
It now appears in more than 1,000 publications in 29 countries. The latest Dilbert book, The Dilbert Principle, is top of the hardback non-fiction, best-seller list in the US. Business Computer World publishes a selection of the latest Dilbert cartoons, along with classics from the archive.
Most of the strip's themes involve the world of work. Dilbert is the main character, a put-upon employee in a big company, who knows all about technology but little about office politics or people. He will never climb very far up the corporate ladder, but he can configure a network faster than you can say cyberspace.
Dogbert is Dilbert's dog. Although he lives in the same house, a pet he certainly ain't. Dogbert has all the drive and ambition that Dilbert lacks. Indeed, his ultimate goal is nothing less than the conquest of the world and the enslavement of humanity. Meanwhile, he uses his unique doggish insights into the workings of corporate culture to come up with endless money-making scams - Dogbert is the ultimate business consultant.
Dilbert's boss is recognisable by his distinctive twin-peaked haircut and instant adoption of all the latest management fads. He's the natural target for Dogbert's entrepreneurial efforts. He might be technologically challenged and a bit of an imbecile, but his survival is never in doubt because he knows how to delegate - or at least how to shift the blame.
Wally and Alice are Dilbert's colleagues. Like him, they seem to know what they are doing but have little idea why. Wally is forever scheming against the boss, while Alice is overworked and apt to explode at the slightest criticism.
One reason why Adams so successfully captures the atmosphere of office life is that, until just over a year ago, he was working in the engineering department of US communications giant Pacific Bell. But he also encourages readers to email him about their day-to-day work experiences. So, if you've been on the receiving end of any corporate idiocy, feel free to shop your boss, your colleagues or even yourself to [email protected]
The Dilbert Principle (u9.99 from Boxtree, ISBN 0-7522-2287-2) includes examples of emails and letters Adams has received, as well as a large selection of his cartoons. Or, try and win a copy from our Web site at www.bcw.vnu.co.uk.
DONKEY KONG HAS MET HIS MATCH
Fed up to the back teeth with employees who tie up the network playing Doom and then toggle cheekily back to their spreadsheets as soon as you enter the room? US-based DVD Software has come up with Antigame, a utility that silently searches out and destroys games downloaded from the Internet.
The software works along the same lines as anti-virus applications, automatically scanning the hard disk every time users log on, recognising and eradicating more than 6,000 of the most popular shareware games. Resistance from employees is useless - even changing the file names won't deter this killjoy application. Actually, Business Computer World knows where you can get shareware versions of Antigame, but we're not going to poop the party by showing you. Anyway, you can bet your bottom dollar there are kids on the West Coast working on Anti-antigame as we speak.
DASTARDLY DIGITAL DEATHS HEAD
Our picture of the month comes from the forthcoming alien blockbuster, Mars Attacks. Directed by Batman reviver Tim Burton, the film will debut around the end of February, and features impressive state-of-the art computer-generated scenes from the Industrial Light and Magic stable (we had to mention the computer graphics to justify the picture).
The Donkey hears, however, that the film's release date is to coincide with that of the general election. Apparently, it's all part of the Tories' plan to scare sweet-toothed voters away from New Labour. They had heard that Burton was releasing a film about invaders from the red planet with staring eyes and bulbous brains called 'Mars - A Tax'.
Imminent attack will target a single bank with cloned cards used to fraudulently withdraw millions over one weekend
Using photocatalysts to convert carbon dioxide into usable energy such as methane or ethane
Trained on curated data from Moorfields Eye Hospital, the neural network also shows clinicians how it reached its judgement
Yokohama National University demonstrate technology that could lead to a fault-tolerant universal quantum computer