It's ironic that what people would find annoying in one place, they tolerate in another. Case in point: if you were driving on a highway and your car frequently broke down without warning - requiring a restart - you'd probably be very irritated. However, when dealing with computers, you almost accept this as a fact of life.
That's one of the many points about popular culture that Robert Swiatek, MS '72 makes in his self-published book Press 1 for Pig Latin. The School of Advanced Technology graduate pokes fun at - and shares his frustration with - television, computers and cars among other things.
Swiatek spends much of the book discussing computers - an area of expertise for him because he has extensive experience as a consultant. Among his more noteworthy projects, he worked for Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Monroe County, N.Y., to help ensure their computers would be Y2K compliant. Swiatek, who has done a good deal of programming and mainframe work, believes that computer companies feel rushed to get their products to market. The end result, for consumers, is that problems are discovered after the fact.
"From my experience, if a system only works 95 percent of the time, it's not working," Swiatek said. "It needs to work 100 percent of the time. You can't design a system that will do everything. It won't work."
The retired consultant says spam and spyware can be eliminated; however, even though they create annoyances for computer users, they also create jobs.
"It's truly amazing that I get more e-mail now than I did when I was working," Swiatek said. "Most of the e-mail you get is used as a vehicle for selling things."
Swiatek recently received attention in The Buffalo News; Louise Continelli's article discussing his book introduced the term "computer rage" - think about "road rage", only transfer the frustration your desktop computer - to the lexicon.
"[This] brilliant book summarizes why we are all fed up with voice mail, e-mail, restarts, upgrades and viruses that have showered down on us thanks to the failure of technology," said Continelli, in a review of Press 1 for Pig Latin. "He does offer solutions since the advances of the last century have so many possibilities. Indeed, we have the ability and the brainpower to fix things and make life better for mankind."
Swiatek can be contacted through his website, which offers free downloads of his books.