Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The Palestinian - Israeli Technical Support Center

The Palestinian-Israeli International Technical Support Center

How are we in the West different from those in the Middle East?

For the last fifty years whenever we, in the West, hear news of the Middle East, it is always about "The Conflict". Arabs, Palestinians, Jews, Israelis cannot seem to resolve their differences and live peacefully with each other. There are always random acts of violence and senseless killing. A suicide bomber enters a cafe, detonates his bomb and kills himself and several others. A school bus filled with children is blown to bits. There never seems to be any forward progress towards peace, just continued hate and violence-- people who hate each other so much that they go out of their way to focus their lives on killing.

Are we in the West any different from the people of the Middle East? Asking myself this question, I find that although there are individuals that I hate, I never think about hating them or engaging in any kind of violence towards them. I have never fired a weapon or built or detonated a bomb. I cannot imagine doing that. Why not? Hating and planning acts of violence would take a lot of time and energy. I have a job. I have family commitments. But most importantly, like most Americans, my spare time is devoted to dealing with computer problems. I am so preoccupied with computer software and hardware problems, I have absolutely no time to hate anyone.

Modern life in the Western world means spending your free time diagnosing and fixing interoperability problems with software programs, hardware plug-ins, and networks. Who has not spent part of her life holding on the phone for tech support, deciphering poor English in user manuals, and rebooting?

I spend hours figuring out why Dreamweaver cannot read my Paint Shop Pro .gif file, days debugging the intermittent problem of USB ports not synching correctly on the Visor, days re-installing the new Lexmark printer driver over and over so I can print on the Lexmark printer on the network. I still do not know why I cannot share a file on the server when I have the permissions. I spend all my time diagnosing these kinds of problems, downloading patches, and rebooting machines. I do not have time to hate and kill.

These thoughts lead me to the inescapable conclusion that we will achieve peace in the Middle East by grabbing hold of the sword of hate and bending it into rack mount sliders. In other words, we need to get Palestinians and Israelis involved in solving technical support and interoperability problems. Once you get involved in solving these kinds of problems, you have no time for hating and killing. Your focus in life becomes relief and technical satisfaction and pride in the PC system that you finally got to work.

PAL-IS: The Palestinian Israeli Worldwide Technical Support Center

How would this be set up?

Let's find 500 talented Palestinian and Israeli youths between 18 and 25 years old. They will need education and training. First, they will need to learn English to have some hope of reading the user manuals. Secondly, they will need to learn the fundamentals of operating systems and programming. Third, they will need an organization and infrastructure (office building, a website, a call center manager, a customer relationship management system, a director, managers, etc.).

Funding? Easy. The Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation can come up with the funding, and the major PC hardware and software suppliers can also contribute.

Basically, everyone, all end users, all over the world will either call the PAL-IS (pronounced "palace") tech support hot line, or send email to support@pal-is.com.

The mission of the organization may be expressed simply: no matter what interoperability problem you have, PAL-IS is committed to fix it. Report your interoperability problems to PAL-IS and get a resolution in three days.

How will this stop the violence in the Middle East?



Just like the rest of us, the 500 Palestinian and Israeli youths will have to be at work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. They will be given a set of bug reports every morning. Each individual will begin with the first bug and attempt to replicate it to verify that it is a bug and not "pilot error". Once replicated and verified, the individual will work with the suppliers of the non-interoperable products on getting bugs acknowledged and patches produced. Each individual will have to log and track bugs and bug fixes. He will have to maintain a knowledge base. He will have to get back to the customer with the solution.



If you have ever spent four or more hours trying to figure out the cause of a technical problem, and someone of a different race or religion gives you the answer in a few minutes, your response is most likely to be thanks and gratitude. You will appreciate that person; you will owe him a favor. You will not think of hating or killing the person. You are too busy. You are on a quota to get interoperability problems solved as quickly as possible.

When you go home at night, you will have to do more studying and reading about new products, just to keep up with the technology.

There will be absolutely no time in your day or night to dwell on hate and violence.

Conclusion

The plan for the Palestinian-Israeli International Technical Support Center requires more refinement. It will be difficult to get it launched and off the ground. Many people and circumstances could derail it. But so what? Nothing else has worked for the last fifty years. We are currently spending $3.9 Billion per month to maintain troops in Iraq (Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield quoted in The Wall Street Journal, 7/10/2003, p. A4). Imagine spending $3.9 billion on educating 500 youths! In just a few years, most of the world's interoperability problems could be solved, and we could all use our time more productively.




2 Comments:

At 5:52 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Fantastic Idea, Chris! IT's true -t hat's why the streets of American cities don't have loitering youths (except in ghettoes), because everyone's indoors with either cable TV, DVD's, and computer problems. Their social lives may be very limited, they may be lonely, but their minds are always engaged in something, rather than idle and looking for distraction.

Palestinians probably would be excellent at this work. Israelis, apparently, are already speaking English and doing computer work. They are already financed by American taxpayers in the billions of dollars. IT is to the Palestinians that this help and training must go. Israelis have had more than enough help, I'd say. Give someone else a hand for once!

 
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