kits, a nevere ending story

S. A. Modena samodena at csemail.cropsci.ncsu.edu
Tue Jul 14 05:10:49 EST 1992


In article <1992Jul14.082056.20341 at gserv1.dl.ac.uk> suter at de.dbp.MPG.MPIZ-KOELN.VAX writes:
>-summary of previous discussion:  (about molbio "kits")

I too almost collected the thread about kits.......

>
>we have had discussions in our lab about kits also. if i may get very
>cinical at the end of my message, i noticed that bosses have more criticism
>on kits than their co-workers. they see all the disadvantages that we do:
>too expensive, they make you too lazy, you don't know how they work anymore...
>meanwhile they forget that they have the ultimate kit: namely a technician....

Perhaps one of the struggles is that using a "kit" allows that feeling of
"direct control" to slip away.  Think of the remark about the "bosses:"
before their eyes new workers slip into doing something "routinely" that
they struggled to learn and get under control.

Switching contexts:  there are people who swear that all software should
be written in Assembly.  Well, that's not too wise...when one is confronted
with developing applications to run in an operating system environment,
like Windows NT (thinking of the most immediate mind boggling thing on
my horizon).  "But in Assembly you see every aspect of what is happening."
True, but my objective may be so complex that I can't _complete_ the
work without using a high(er) level tool(kit).

Yet, when the final software is done, it's usually pretty easy to tell
if the application is "buggy."  At that moment, there is a hard decision:
what to do about it.  Is it really any different in sequencing or doing
RAPDs?  From what I've seen, it isn't really different.  (Are fragments of
vector sequences really "accidental?")

Hopefully, there are rules, or a guiding philosophy (as Tom Schneider has
correctly pointed out to us), that _can_ save us from the worst.  That, as we
do our work, whatever the tools, we keep in mind "quality" versus "the
shortcut."   Kits are not "short cuts" anymore that the Windows API is
a "short cut."  But in both cases, one must frankly assess the quality of
the tools and the consequence on the final product.  Is personal responsibility
to do _quality-assessment_ something routinely skipped over?

The question is: in our own individual work space, what is our philosophy
on quality, and who is providing the leadership to assure it.  Is there
a quality champion is your lab?  [ I didn't say "quality enforcer." ]
I don't think that "kits" are really the problem.

>
>sorry if i insulted anyone. i think there are some interesting paralels here.
>
>cheers ! clemens

Steve
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