Friday, July 10, 2009

Customer relations

Had a young guy as a customer today wearing an Oregon State University t-shirt. I said to him, "I believe, if I'm not mistaken, that the Oregon Country Fair is in the next week or two?"

He replied, "Really? Are they going to put it in this parking lot?"

I said, "The Oregon Country Fair?"

He said, "I know that they have a fair in this lot once in a while."

"That they do! But I think the Oregon Country Fair is probably held in Oregon."

He looked at me, paused, considered the wisdom of my reasoning, then stared into the air above me scratching his chin. "Oh, yea, I can see that."

"You borrowed that shirt, didn't you?"

"Yea, how did you know?"

"Lucky guess. Have a good night!"

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Open Source

Hard economic times force changes in behavior, even in Washington State's government. It was announced last week that the Liquor Control Board's help desk was switching from a costly ticket tracking system to an open source solution. In house testing had been performed, the training needed was minimal, and the cost was right, so we're making the switch. Other open source solutions may be implemented if they offer a reasonable cost savings, according to our IT folks.

Now, this may seem to be A) sensible and B) no big deal, but consider that Washington is the home of Microsoft, Adobe, Nintendo, and many other software vendors...and the state is looking into open source solutions. If they find one that they like, then they may look to others and once they switch, then what's the rationale for going back to a paid product for those items?

It's possible that the economic downturn is churning up changes not glaringly apparent, but that may have long term consequences not currently recognized.