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The Therapy Sessions
Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Off track

The phenomenon may have already been noted, cataloged and filed away already, but in the off chance that it hasn't been, I would like to take this opportunity to stamp it with my big fat name.

I call it: Roger's Rule, and here it is, simply stated:
The more "time saving" superior technology you have, the more time you will spend making your project look "superior."

In my line of work, we have these annual symposia - events where we are supposed to showcase our work for our coworkers. We make these posters and we show them off, to anyone who might just give a damn.

And then - nine times out of ten - we throw them away.

A few years ao, preparing poster used to take an leisurely afternoon: me, a few documents, a cup of coffee and ChemDraw 1.01. Give me some some sticky spray and posterboard, and I'd be good to go in a half hour.

Nowadays, I have ChemDraw 12, Microsoft Word 12 and PowerPoint 160,000.Yeah, the posters look great - suitable for presentation to the company president and suitable for framing(they are so nice looking you'd feel as though they should be buried with you). An internal arms race has developed - with everyone trying to have a better looking poster - and anyone who presented one of the posters that were routine years ago would be laughed out the presentation room.

But they take a LONG time to do. I started working on mine about two days ago, and I'm not even close to be finished.

I know there are benefits: we have these nice posters that we can take our professional conferences, we get practice with the software, we get experience presenting our work....

But you know, there are benefits to burning big wads of money too: It creates lots of heat, for example, and it could be used to keep the house heated (for about twenty seconds).

(Please excuse the previous rant: my poster has taken MUCH longer than I expected, and the rest of my work (the work that I really like doing) has gathered dust...)

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