The Ghosts of Software Past, Present and Future

Our story begins on a cold and bleak Christmas Eve in Boston. Bob had just finished his TV dinner after a long day at work. As the Technical Publications Manager for ACME Corp, his dreary drive home in the old white Prius reflected his dreary mood. “Another crappy Christmas,” he mused. With more expected work backing up over the holidays, waiting to drop on him like an axe when he returns to his tiny office…Might as well go to bed and…

Bob’s thoughts were interrupted by a cold blast of wind that swirled through the room, leaving a single lamp light on.  Out of the shadows stepped a ghostly figure, wrapped in chains and holding large steel cash boxes.

“Carl?” Croaked Bob. “Is that you?”

“Hello Bob, how’s work?”

“Carl, are you dead?” asked Bob, holding his dinner tray up for protection.

“Nope, I’m retired and living it up in Florida with Susan and the grand kids. You however, are in grave trouble,” Carl stated, sternly.

“Tonight you will be visited by three ghosts.  Heed their warnings or you will be carrying chains of regret and empty cash boxes of your own.”

Bob’s eyes were wide with both fear and amazement at Carl’s terrible long shorts and fluorescent Hawaiian shirt.

“Well, I need to go; it’s two for one at the Olive Garden tonight.” With that, the vapour that was Carl evaporated into the darkness.

Bob had only just collapsed into his lounge chair when the ghost of software past arrived in a large flash of light and the soundtrack of Top Gun blaring from his iPhone X. The sunglasses were Ray Ban and shirt smooth herringbone.

“Sup Dog, remember me?” Cooed the independent consulting ghost.

“Your… you’re the independent consultant we hired to select our S1000D software… but you were anything but independent. You sold us a lemon and disappeared!” Bob felt dizzy…

“That’s how I roll man.  Always do your own research and document your requirements.”“Hey, those Porsche’s don’t drive themselves you know. Thanks for the cash Bob, call me anytime.” With that he disappeared in a cloud of smoke which smelt of burning money.

Bob retreated to the corner of his lounge room and hid behind his 90’s TV.  Suddenly the phone rang, the TV flickered and his old Nokia warbled like a banshee.

Oh great what now, though Bob, his eyes shut tight.

The room glowed blue. In the middle of the room stood a small shimmering figure in tweed and wearing glasses so thick they could pick-up cable.

“Hello Bob, I’m your customer support ghost of software present, how may I invoice you today?”

“I know you,” stammered Bob. “You charge me for software features that should be standard! You charge me for updates when the software spec is updated! You make me pay for IETP Viewers that should be free to distribute!”

“Now Bob, you should always read the vendors support agreement before you purchase any S1000D software system.” hissed the ghost, adjusting his clipboard.

Bob was shaking with rage. “Go back to whatever dark place you come from!” He yelled, shaking his fist.

With that, the I.T. ghost disappeared to the sound of an old modem dialling its internet provider.

Bob could see the door to his hallway, perhaps if he could reach…

“Hi Bob, I’m Jim, the ghost of software future!” Bob spun around, startled.

“Sorry, there’s no easy way to make an entrance when you’re a ghost.  Care for a Candy Cane?”

Bob took the treat from the casually dressed spectre who was now straightening up what was left of Bob’s dischevelled lounge room.

“Bob, you need to deliver PDF’s, IETP’s and HTML 5 in various formats, on various devices. Don’t get ripped off on your future S1000D system purchase and don’t pay too much for a system.  Sparkling Water?”

Bob took a deep swig from the chilled glass bottle.  “What about hosted?” Bob asked, relaxing in his Lay-Z-Boy.

“Sure. On your network or in our cloud, buy outright or pay as you go. We are always updating our software to support new S1000D spec releases and these are included with your maintenance.  Easy to use, fast to deploy and backed by 20 years of sales and service experience.”

For the first time that night, Bob was no longer afraid. “Hey ghost, want to get a pizza?”

“Thanks for the offer Bob, but I need to get back to the helpdesk.” With that, the ghost of software future shook Bobs hand and disappeared, leaving nothing but the scent of nutmeg and a blue and white business card which simply read

That’s it, thought Bob. First day back we will write a requirements document as a team, do our research and contact OneStrand. I will buy donuts, and coffee!

“I love Christmas,” mused Bob.

By the glow of his fireplace, Bob fell straight to sleep, a happy man. He never saw a ghost again, although he did fly to Florida for golf with Carl, who still wears that terrible Hawaiian shirt.


Happy Holidays!
The OneStrand Team


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