Sometimes things work, but are neverthelesss not the right solution. This is a philosophical problem of approach to problem solving that has come up repeatedly at work over the past few weeks. Group A wants to do things the most effective way. Wants solutions. Now. Likes to do a lot with a little. Likes simpler solutions. Likes not putting energy where it will be wasted. Group B wants to do things the right way. Never mind the cost. Straight to the top. All the time, no matter what. Assumes that amount of money spent always equates to amount of quality in the solution. There’s a lot to be said for that, but note that Group B even has trouble believing that open source / free software products can be high quality too.
One might think that questions of technology have right answers, but in the end, neither approach is necessarily more correct. One is more idealistic, one more realistic. One is only more right than the other depending on assumptions, contexts, budgets (time and money), immediacy, difficulty, etc.
Results count too. Related but unrelated: My SuperDrive has been failing intermittently — not recognizing CDs in iTunes. Burning coasters or having buffer underruns. Finally took machine in to the Apple store. I have AppleCare, but they won’t replace the drive until they’ve tried alt.solutions in the store. One of the Apple Geniuses recommended running Repair Permissions from Disk Utility. This made no intuitive sense to me — it’s an intermittent failure, how can perms on a kernel extension make the difference? (Note: You must boot from CD or external FW if you want Repair Permissions to be fully effective – some perms must be skipped on the boot drive).
And yet… we repaired permissions and sure enough, a test disc I brought that previously would not mount now mounted, and we were able to burn a test CD. Freaky deaky. And yet… something inside me told me this was not the right solution, that there was some fluke involved. Sure enough, days later I’m experiencing the same difficulties and need to bring the box back for a drive replacement. Ultimately, they wasted my time and theirs with a “solution” that I knew was not the correct solution and now I have to go spend more of my time and theirs to get it done right for reals.