Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Special: Dr. Do-Nothing or How I learned to find a new scapegoat and love the muskrat

Without fail every year the Times Daily provides an article with the latest info on the Spring Park blame game. Without further ado, the new scapegoat for 2016 is the fountain’s electronic system. (Hey Fountain System, I feel for ya! It sucks to be blamed.)

I know what you're thinking. Wasn't it the muskrats who damaged the fountain show?

Well it's easier for Dr. Do-Nothing (a.k.a. park manager) to blame a muskrat instead of saying that he can't afford to buy a replacement part. I know the parts aren’t cheap, but c’mon man - can you not create a decent park budget for park maintenance? If city hall can be remodeled with all new furnishings (and with a hefty budget $$) then the city should be able to buy a bulb … a bathroom door … parts for the train … paint for the horses … but I digress.

So is the fountain's electronic system out of date? Surely this is a software issue. How about getting an upgrade?

The original software really isn’t a concern in this case. This type of system doesn’t require software upgrades like a personal computer because you’re NOT going to use it to open an email, upload a photo, stream a movie, or browse the Internet. Its only function is to store and control choreographed fountain shows.

So then, is this a hardware issue?

Yes it’s a hardware issue deriving from laziness and lack of common sense. The fountain show’s electronic operating system is located in the second story of a small building in Spring Park. The AC units within the building are not reliable and thus provides a very toasty environment for the fountain’s sensitive electronic equipment. The electronic system contains a lot of parts that in itself creates heat when in use. Tiny fans within the system help to move out much of heat that is generated from within the hardware. However, the fans cannot handle the additional heat also coming from outside the computer. Common sense tells you that when the temperature gets too hot you risk serious damage to the system. It's not that the internal components aren’t built to last, but they can’t cope with the intense temperatures they are often subjected too. Needless to say, keeping the system cool should be top priority!

So what happens when you mix hot, humid weather (and no AC) with expensive electronic equipment?

If it's somewhat functioning, the park spectators witness a unique version of the fountain show. When the system gets too hot it becomes erratic with incoherent water & light patterns that clearly are not in sync with the music. Sometimes the system even locks up and when that happens an employee is called in to fool the crowd by operating the fountain show by hand. This by no means is visually epic. The city employee starts the music then randomly pushes buttons to jettison water and shine lights. It kind reminds me of what happens after eating that triple layer burrito. Like I said, it's not pretty.

So what type of upgrade is truly needed? I recommend starting at the top by electing a new mayor and hiring a new park manager. Spring Park deserves more than lethargic management. It’s time to find people who care!

Tuscumbia Muskrat

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