Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nuke Power Point

If you ever listed the most undesirable inventions in the world, Power Point should feature somewhere at the top of the list. This blogger’s visceral antagonism to Power Point may be well known to long time readers – there’s a series of posts on this here.

It was therefore with unbelieving incredulity that I read of Power Point’s infiltration into the US army in the New York Times’ report here. I had to rub my eyes a couple of times to believe what I was reading. But then on logical reflection, I should not have been surprised. Is there any organisation that the cursed Power Point has not infiltrated. Why should the military be impervious to its seductive powers. Human idiocy has not escaped any particular body of men.

Al Qaeda’s true magic bullet to winning the war in Afghanistan is not the suicide bomber. Its not the Taliban. Its not the weapons smuggled in through Pakistan. Its not the opium that’s grown to finance the war. Its not the Tora Bora caves. Its actually nothing that they have had to do. Their greatest weapon is actually what they don’t have and what they would probably never aspire to have. It’s the virus that has now conclusively spread in the US military. The glorious weapon called Power Point.

The consequences are mind boggling. Before you engage the enemy, you have to Power Point your plans to be approved at a meeting the previous night. When you catch a culprit you have to Power Point his Miranda rights. Before you shoot a suicide bomber, you have to create a slide outlining the disadvantages of embarking on a career in suicide bombing. And to the civilian who has just pushed you away from stepping on a land mine, you show a Power Point slide saying Thank You !

Can you believe the existence of the term “slideware” in business lexicon. Every consulting, outsourcing, IT, whatever company, has its own proprietary “slideware” that is guarded jealously and continuously “developed” by an army of nerds labouring away somewhere. I have some familiarity and admiration with the outsourcing business, but surely the most soul degrading outsourcing business is that of creating Power Point Charts offshore.

I like the epithet quoted in the NY Times article – “hypnotizing chickens”. Its now every clear to me how the US can win in Afghanistan. Launch their most potent nuclear weapon on Power Point. Actually, I have a better idea. Let Power Point seduce Osama bin Laden. Al Qaeda is then surely doomed.