Monday, June 13, 2005

the broken arrow paradigm

This is a short post about an apartment complex (which shall remain unnamed for indemnification). It's a gated community (which means it raises the sense of security for the residents while dropping the chances of break-ins and the like). That last parenthesised note should be enough indication that things (just as in the software world) don't always work right. The card-controlled gates have had issues (they've occasionally been open for anyone to waltz in through; they've been jammed shut so no one could get in [which is cool, perhaps] and no one could get out [ouch!]). The security alarms are sensitive enough to be heard regularly (e.g. if you happen to just so much as nudge the computer in the business centre, you've done the needful). There's a cute feature about the second gate for walking in and out: you have to assume a kung-fu pose so that you can tap the switch to deactivate the magnet and at the same time kick the gate open (this is a new version: the previous version would deactivate the magnet for a short interval giving you enough time to walk to and through it). But we digress. The coolest thing (or the scariest, if you will) is the number of break-ins (rather high given the fact that it's a gated community). What's really scary is that they seem to know that these things happen so often that they actually have a template for the letter they jam into your doors every time a break-in occurs. They skimp on the details (which, honestly, would be important -- after all, you wouldn't want to be living in a "break-in prone" section would you?). What they customise is the number of break-ins and then tack on a standard HOW-TO for living a secure (aka scared) life in the complex (the list includes a mix of duh-level and useful tips). This reminds me of Broken Arrow and my favourite quote there-from (I don't know what's scarier, losing a nuclear weapon or that it happens so often ther's actually a term for it.), which I could paraphrase for the letter's template.

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