The auditors in Portland have noted that some of the Pay and Display machines currently installed don’t work quite right. Software Issues, they say.

I can only have the greatest sympathy for the vendors, that’s right the vendors.

Software is a tricky thing. it is virtually impossible to test it in every possible situation. When Microsoft brought out XP there were thousands of bugs in it. It took a couple of years to get it mostly straightened out. AND remember, Bill Gates has billions to spend on R and D and took years of beta testing and STILL there were bugs.

Now put yourself in the place of the parking equipment vendor. They have developed systems that work a certain way but if they tested it as Bill did, you couldn’t afford the system. Where Microsoft puts out millions of copies of a bit of software, a parking vendor may product a couple of hundred. So they do the best they can and then correct problems when they are discovered in the field.  Most of the issues are due to situations they never experienced before, or frankly, features that a customer wants that they didn’t provide in the original package but "tweaked" to make their customer happy.

Parkeon and Cale, the two suppliers in Portland, actually seem to have done a good job. The city has been happy, as have the residents.  I don’t know which vendor had the issue, and frankly don’t care. The audit found a couple of problems and my guess is that by the time you read this, they will be fixed.

I am amazed at how few software bugs are found in parking systems, considering the fact that they are so inexpensive.  You realize that if the systems were tested with the same zeal as Windows Vista (but hopefully with better results) they would cost 100 times as much.

A good audit makes us all better (except perhaps one from the IRS)…Now the city should let the vendor fix the problems, and then keep looking for more.  It will only get better and better.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. Just the kind of comment one would expect from an Editor that makes his living with revenue from parking vendors! John, your bias towards the vendor/private operator is clearly evident to any one reading your posts, you appear to have totally given up on any pretense of being unbiased in your comments.

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