e-Talk Radio: Pressman, Roger, 14 November 2000


And that's a decision that's going to have to be made by politicians. The actual implementation of a voting system, by the way, Carol, in my opinion, is not that awe-inspiring. I think it could be done relatively straight-forwardly, at cost certainly, but not…It is not as complex, in my opinion, for example, as designing a state-of-the-art air traffic control system.

Carol: Right.

Roger: And there's a system where you really, truly do want zero errors. Or as damn close to zero errors as you can get.

Carol: No kidding.

Roger: Yeah, all of us who fly kind of believe that very strongly. Were we to really understand the internal workings of the existing air traffic control system, I think a lot of us million-mile-a-year flyers wouldn't be doing quite so much flying. But we do anyway. The point is, I don't think it's that difficult to implement a nationwide, high-quality, high-accuracy voting system from a technological point of view. I think it's virtually impossible to implement one from a political point of view. And the question is, can our politicians, our quote leaders end quote, overcome that impossibility to the extent that we actually do something about it. Or do we opt to shrug our shoulders, say this is a one hundred-year election, all of us will be dead in the next 100 years, let our great-great-great-grandchildren worry about it. And that may be the end result of all this. Who knows?

Carol: And one of the things we talked about in the break was that Florida doesn't have a state personal tax. And I said do you think that makes a difference, and I was taken aback a little bit by your answer, which was that we're willing to spend millions and millions of dollars for stadiums that are only used on Sundays.

Roger: Well sure, but I would say that in Palm Beach County, there probably are a lot more Dolphins fans than there are either Gore or Bush fans. So the reality is that that's probably money well spent. At least from the voters' point of view. Although there are many voters who question that expenditure. I'm one of them, by the way. The reality is that it's really a question of what tolerance we have for pain. This, over this week, we're exhibiting a relatively painful process of seeing a system that is flawed. But it's going to go away, ultimately a count will come in, ultimately one of the two parties will concede, and we'll move on. And maybe that'll be the end of it. But I suspect we're going to see more of this before it's all over. And I just hope that some technologists, some good systems people, are integrated into the process someplace. What worries me is we're going to have a system designed by politicians, for politicians, and it's going to be a mess, and it's probably going to cost five times what it should.

Carol: And we'll be back with a close-up with Roger Pressman.

Welcome back to Quality Plus e-Talk! We're just about out of time, but we've been spending this week talking to Roger Pressman, who's an internationally recognized consultant and author in the area of software engineering. He's the President of Roger Pressman Associates, RSPA, and he is also a resident of Palm Beach County. I'd like to thank you very much, Roger, for being my guest this week. And would you like to give out your Web site address, if anybody's interested in…?

Roger: Sure. It actually has absolutely nothing to do with politics, I

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