Beware the Pseudo-Engineer

Snake-oil salesmen would use language that, to the commoner, would sound similar to the language of the doctors. As they traveled the nation, selling their concoctions plenty of folk where charmed by the salesman and their pitch, nicely peppered with pig latin words.


But the salesman is not a doctor, and when the ointment failed to cure any ills (that would not have cleared up by itself anyways), the circus had long since left town.

I still, occasionally, come across snake-oil salesmen once in a while. I often wonder if they are oblivious to their own deceit, or if they know that they are pretend-engineers. Some scientific research supports the idea that they most likely are not aware of their own ignorance. They simply consider themselves superior to their “peers”. This is called Illusory superiority (I am not making this up, I swear!).

You may come across people that pretend to know about H.264 and IP. To the lay-people it comes across as reasonable, even somewhat scientific, but anyone who really knows about video codecs and IP¬†immediately¬†understands that the salesman is full of shit. If you engage in a conversation with the misguided “engineer”, the salesman will often pepper his retort with “fancy words” to try and sound even more like a real engineer.

I am sure that there is a place for analog systems, and I appreciate their simplicity as much as the next person. But when vocal advocates for the “analog revolution” starts making things up about IP then it bothers me. It bothers me that some folks get up on their stoop and start confabulating about things that they clearly do not understand to people who might waste their money on a vial of “Dr. Rocks Heal-it-All Ointment”. They may admire the pretty uncompressed video, being sent across expensive dedicated lines from edge to recorder, but when the time comes and they look at the recordings from last nights burglary, they may realize that the ointment just smelled nice, but it gave a horrible rash when you applied it. But by that time, the circus has left town.