I thought I’d share an interesting Star Trek dream that I had last night, probably triggered by the Covid excel database debacle.
I must have been some sort of regulator at Star Fleet Command because I was involved in some investigation into malpractice on the starship Enterprise. Someone had discovered that the computer program running the ship (and written in basic!) had been tampered with. It was obvious looking at the code. Right at the very top of the program, before all sorts of commented out introductory text was one line of code setting some variable equal to 1.
I wanted to dig into the program. To find where this variable was used, so what setting it to 1 was actually doing and to probably discover even more patched on code. It would give us clues to why the changes had been made. But others in the team were talking about how the important thing was the underlying risk of the code being easy to tamper with and the need to put proper procedures in place. Captain Kirk was being very supportive of this risk based approach and doing a lot of brown nosing.
Now that I’ve woken up, I can guess what actually happened. There probably were all sorts of procedures already in place. But Captain Kirk wanted things done quickly. He turned to either Spock or Scotty and asked them whether it was possible to reprogram the Enterprise to do something differently to solve some problem that he had. Scotty or Spock told him that they could put in a change request and that it would be considered at the next meeting in a couple of weeks. But Captain Kirk wasn’t interested. He told them to bypass all the procedures and just make the change. The quicker the better. If it’s to be a bodge job, so be it. And when the investigation team find out that it’s Spock or Scotty that made the change, he’s going to distance himself from it all and throw them under the bus.
I didn’t get to see what else happened but I expect the regulator identified governance and processes as the problem and that Captain Kirk (the real risk) escaped with a slap on the wrist, having “learned his lesson”.