I thought I’d post this story I discovered today because it is an interesting tale of big corporate and institutional failure, and how a 1st year student saved himself and his fellow students a whole lot of time with a little skill and imagination.
To make a long story short, It seems the system the Univerisity of Alberta had paid big coin to manage its students (allegedly and tellingly hacked together from an inventory control system) was a mess, and the U was planning to ditch paper altogether, dooming people to hours of pointing, clicking and swearing.
So, one enterprising student decided that something had to be done, and he was the guy to do it. His first cut took 5 days and was already a big help at that point. He was initially hosting it on his own tab, but now the Student Union handles that, though the University still can’t take a helpful position due to contractual requirements. For some more details the student union discussion board is interesting reading.
I could take the position that we’re all doomed by megacorporate control of computing (and I usually do), but this time, I’m just plain tickled to see one guy do a good job with what he had before him and help everyone in the process.
(if you can’t get the first link, sorry – the show was not yet posted when I wrote this so I had to make an educated guess)