Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Read The Manual!

Instructions are devilishly difficult these days. For a start, I am of an age when the writing seems to be getting ridiculously small. Half of the time, I can’t read the vital information in the first place. But when I can read it I am often none the wiser.

Take flat pack furniture. The instructions commonly involve lots of graphics and very few words, a good few of which seem to be in Swedish. The pictures never seem to match reality. It drives sane men crazy.

Technology is even worse. Instead of the idiot’s guide 99.9% of us need, they assume we actually know something. It is a recipe for disaster. I need instructions like ‘plug the green cable into the blue hole’. I do not need instructions like ‘re-tune your interstellar nano widget to the delta frequency whilst refreshing your proxy server to stereo’.

Clearly the job of writing the manual is given to someone who thinks the process they have to describe is so easy a three year old could do it, whilst asleep. That is if they bother to write a manual at all.

The whole asset disposal sector is a bit like this. In fact, just take the person who decided to call it asset disposal and shoot him, that will be a good start! We do not need a twee name for everything that makes it sound big and important. It puts people off, and makes them over-complicate things.

So, IT recycling or throwing IT related electrical equipment away. Its waste Jim but not as we know it. And although the bad boys of Brussels came up with the WEEE regulations and someone in Westminster gave the ICO the responsibility of policing data breaches, no one bothered to write down what people should be doing to be properly responsible and data safe.

Oh yes, there are a few suggestions. Both the FCA and the Bar Council have done a half-arsed job of advising their members how to survive in Dodge City. The ICO has had a bit of a go, but it’s just advice and a bit woolly...except when they talk about crime and retribution.

Even IKEA do not say you could put bolt A into hole B if you like. Not when that holds the whole structure up. And that is where we are in our little sector...important enough to attract very large fines if it all goes wrong but not important enough to detail best practise and give the poor confused businessman a chance to get things right.