e-Talk Radio: Daughtrey, Taz, 31 October 2000

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edit, has been involved in a number of areas. We've even taken some stand on legislation that recently has been before different states that really lessens the liability that people have for their bad software. So I think it would be good to reinforce that. The American Society for Quality has an 800 number. It's 800-248-1946. And there will be someone there that can certainly take some information or provide some information and take some opinions from folks, specifically in the area of software. The journal has a Web site, which is www, not www, I keep doing that every time. Actually, it will work either way, I found that out. You can type in or not type the www. But it's sqp.asq.org. So that's sqp as in software quality professional, dot asq as in American Society for Quality, dot org as in organization. And the ASQ, the American Society for Quality, is really just professionals, over 120,000 individuals who are devoted to applying quality principles to software. And we shouldn't put up with bad software quality any more than we put up with bad quality in any product or service. There's been so much "gee whiz" about computers and "gee whiz" about software that people have been maybe intimidated. But we shouldn't put up with that. Our televisions never crash, why should our computers crash so much?

Carol: And why should our…I think we can also demand, in some cases, that our software work with other software.

Taz: And I think a lot of this is…Again, the marketplace that we have been so much impressed by the technology, that we're willing to put up…But why…You call someone and they say, "I'm sorry, my computer's down right now." That's poor planning, that's not considered…That's not a business case for…If you depend upon computers, you should be having the computer working all the time. You don't say, "I'm sorry, I don't have any sharpened pencils right now. I can't write down your order."

Carol: Oh, I witnessed a presentation where somebody showed up on the screen, and it was put up in jest in some ways, but it was really actually quite real. It said in a car, you could have a screen that comes up and says "braking system failure-hit control-alt-delete." But you can't do what in a car. So, you know, software quality is going to become a life and death situation. And some of the situations where we've got recalls right now. Where we have major automobile recall parts, in particular. How much of that might have been prevented, or caused by poor quality software? Who knows?

Taz: And because we don't make the demands, either of the companies that manufacture, that individuals be held accountable. I've also jokingly said that one sign of the maturity in this area is to have some software malpractice suits. I'm not real big on a lot of needless, litigious behavior, but certainly malpractice implies that there's good practice. Unless there's a standard, acceptable level, people won't say well that's beyond due to their malpractice. When people start to say that's malpractice, that means there's some recognition of what really should be done. And there are certain behaviors and certain practices that are unacceptable. And if you cross that line, if I have to, I'll even sue you about it.

Carol: It may come to that. We fortunately have not seen and heard major disasters, major human disasters. And fortunately we have some of our governmental agencies, like the Food and Drug Administration, which does control things like pacemaker software. Pacemaker software

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