Anticipating Failure


I swear to GOD this is a friend’s “sig” line in her emails (she’s the hardest working IT person at a university department with lots of whining, illegal-software-downloading, computer-breaking-and-never-fixing, softdrink-drinking-right-by-fancy-computer-equipment students, so I have complete sympathy.)

Various Disclaimers:
MAD AT ME? My email load is heavy and some things end up in spam folders. If you think I have forgotten about you, re-send your email or send me an SMS.
ERRORS? I use a TabletPC. (Handwriting recognition is almost perfect.)

Why do I blog this? It occurs to me that these are all ways of anticipating failures of various sorts. Failures in the handwriting recognition software (inevitable..); failures to respond and anticipation of people getting upset because there’s no response inevitably resulting in a follow-up email with thinly veiled expressions of piss-offedness, etc. What are the ways that our technology forces anticipated failure? Does anticipating failure lessen the consequences? Can anticipated failure become part of specifications so we get out of the land of fantasy-advertised-feature-richness and get back to the pragmatics of how things actually work out in the wilds of normal, human real social practices?
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