Boom times for truants as registry system crashes

The lighter side of IT

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Data centre

The entire concept of IT project failure - or project success if you are an IT supplier - was summed up this week in one Zen-like statement by programmer Cecilia Farfan.

"Anything you need to do, you cannot," she said of a new £30m computer system that was meant to record attendance at schools across the city of Chicago. Peak-time processing is said to have ground the system to a halt.

News of the electronic register filtered down to students, who began bunking off almost immediately. Knowing that the students could not be tracked, the school board realised it was fighting a losing battle.

To incentivise students back into school it hit upon the misguided notion of offering free passes to the Museum of Science and Industry to those students who honestly turned up for lectures. It did not prove a success.

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