Digi Domi

Sharing my passion for technology and learning.

S is for System, not Sorcery

on March 21, 2014

Complaints. We’ve all had to deal with them, ‘the system is too slow’, ‘why doesn’t it do [this] or [that]?’ Most of the time we are forced to simply apologise about the technology, and possibly even nod and agree that it isn’t good enough for a university, and that we should expect more. This morning I found myself once again wondering, should we really be asking more?

Of course we should always expect more from technology, that is how it evolves and improves rather than becoming stagnant (and we all love new toys to play with)! When it comes to what we currently have though, is it possible we sometimes expect too much from it? Perhaps we need to get better at setting expectation for our users so that they are not disappointed when a piece of software can’t magically reduce their workload and let them spend more time researching. I can confess, I have enjoyed from time to time when academic I’ve helped in using the VLE treat me like I’m a wizard! After all, we all like to feel special, important and being magic would be cool! But perhaps in allowing this vision of us we have created the illusion that we use sorcery, rather than systems? It might well be time to take off our cloaks and explain that while, the technology we are showing them can do a number of things, it is prone to failure. Just like the tech used by big companies such as, everyone’s favourite the BBC, or less favourable Microsoft.

When stuff goes wrong it is not always a sign of bad infrastructure, inadequate systems or untrained staff – sometimes its just a case of technology being technology…it fails, get over it. After all, technology was created by ‘mankind’ and to err is human…


As an quick aside when I was thinking of ‘S is for System, not Sorcery’ I came up with a few others so I’ll just share them here, otherwise my brain might explode!

A is for application, not for abracadabra

B is for beta, not for bewitchment

I is for internet, not for incantation

M is for machine, not for magic

S is for software, not for spell

V is for virtual, not for voodoo

W is for Windows, not for wizardry


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