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Re: [SEAOC] Electronic publishing of codes

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First, let me thank thoe who wrote to me directly saying that thy agreed with
my position.  On to my comments on Frank Lew's comment.

>exhibit an attitude typical of some folks who are enthralled with the
>Net, and think the world should completely change the way work is
>done so as to fit in with the enlightened way you are now working.  You
>need to do a reality check.  Most people don't have the facilities, the
>inclination, or the environment to make the Net an integral part of
>their work routine.

In terms of the accusation of my being enthralled, I plead guilty.  But I do
limit myself to about 5 hours of on line time per month. (Well, this month I
used 6 hours.)  I do have a life beyond the internet.

In terms of thinking the world should change, I simply point out that the
buggy whip manufacturers probably felt the same way about automobiles about a
hundred years ago.  I hope your not advocating repeating the same approach.

Most people don't have the facilities?  Does that mean they are fascinated
with doing business in a more expensive manner?  More power to them; they're
free to spend their money any way they wish!

>Let me give you an example of how your proposal to put ICBO's annual
>code change documents on an FTP site just doesn't mesh with how people
>actually work. ...

Well, if the internet was used, prehaps all of the participants could have
accomplished this discusion at their offices.  I suspect the real reason for
a lot of those who attended was to get a "paid" vacation or to hobnob with
potential clients.  Tell me, of those from private industry, what percentage
were principals of firms, project managers, chief engineers, or other high
mucky mucks?  What percentage were college professors?  What percentage of
them were flunky engineering labor?

>We all brought our hardcopies of the changes to the meetings,
>along with copies of the codes and other standards that are proposed to
>be adopted by reference.  There was much flipping back and forth
>between pages and between documents during the meetings.

I agree that the way codes are written show that the code committees have not
yet discovered hyper-text.  And that access speed needs to be improved.  But
unless there is a demand for such performance, no one will bother developing
it.  Besides that, why are you wasting time flipping pages at a meeting?
 Isn't that something that should be done in preparation for the meeting, not
at the meeting?

>Besides, the local building department didn't appear to have more than 
>a handful of PCs, and certainly didn't have the power or wiring in the
>conference room to hook them up.

Well, if the local building departments refuse to keep up with technology,
then they can expect their communities to become less attractive to private
investment such as factories, homes, etc.  Why?  They appear to think they
are still living in the 1940s.

>When the
>resource limitations of these small departments, in terms of both 
>budgets and the backgrounds of staff, are considered, it is unrealisitc
>to expect that making these documents available only in electronic form
>could be sufficient, now or in the foreseeable future.

In other words, these departments prefer filing cabinets full of paper.  I
wonder what their wharehousing costs are, and what they do in case of a fire
in their records building?  Your swipe at their "background" probably doesn't
sit well with such staff either.

>By the way, in the work environment of many building officials, engineers
>engineering issues are barely on the radar screen.  We have a multitude
>of worries and demands for our attention, such as the constant threats of
>Attorney General and the disabled community to sue over levels of
>of accessibility regs, the CEC auditing us on how well we enforce energy
>conservation regs, the need to comply with the myriad of State statues such 
>as risk management prevention plans for hazardous materials, the constant
>pressures by mayors, councilmembers and city managers to give more
>attention and resources to complaints of activist neighbors and tenants
>to housing, zoning and health code violations, etc, etc.

Sound to me like you have a "quality" problem!  I deal with attorneys all the
time these days.  And I've lived through many an audit.  Do these guys
intimidate you?

>To expand beyond 
>your self-described "little people" status, you should broaden your world 
>beyond that seen through an engineering prism.

Engineering prism?  Exxxxxccccuuuuuuuse me!  I see life through the prism of
not only engineering, but child care, taxes, politics, little league
(softball, soccer, basketball), community health, supermarket shopping,
handicapped rights (I've got a kid with a couple of those), trying to keep my
lawn green, snow shoveling, dish washing, etc.  And not just as a rabble
rouser; sometimes I'm the guy that has to make the nasty decision that
affects a lot of people.

Well, time to go.  Got other things to do.

Ray Pixley