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Cox Crow

Asking the Stupid Questions Since 1971
 Monday, July 29, 2002

The Carrot and the Stick

Is this missing coffee supposed to be a motivational tool to encourage us to boost the next quarter's revenue?

5:14:57 PM # Google It!
categories: Coffee

Space, the Final Frontier

The New York Times asks, "Can AOL Keep Its Subscribers in a New World of Broadband?" after noticing that
America Online's subscriber count in the United States grew by only 477,000 in the second quarter, a 7 percent annual rate. A year ago, subscriptions grew by 12 percent; two years ago, the rate was 16 percent.


America Online now has only a 4 percent share of the 12 million broadband subscribers in the United States.

The way that broadband is deployed limits the growth of all of the parties involved, excepting possibly Earthlink. In order to get a broadband connection you must live in a specific area. The local loop, by and large, is owned by franchisees who do not resell the last mile or so. You buy DOCSIS service from your CATV provider. You buy DSL from your LEC. You buy a satellite earth station from DirecTV and try to figure out how to get it to transmit upstream. Except in the latter case, you have to move to change providers. Which means, the provider's growth is limited by geography.

To grow, they have to expand the region in which they have local monopolies; that is, they must merge.

The only way to avoid this constraint on growth is to separate the connection provided from the service provided.

5:13:53 PM # Google It!
categories: Industry

Margin of Error

The Netcraft Web Server Survey for July is out already. The survey notes the effect that domain parking has on the data.

Microsoft gains around 3% in the top line numbers this month, primarily through register.com putting a Windows based front end back in place on their domain parking system. register.com has alternated several times over recent months between using a Windows or Linux front end, and this causes a fluctuation of around 3% in the top line figures when it changes. As domains are either allowed to expire or put into active use, the influence of the domain parking systems on the survey numbers is abating, and the number of parked sites at Verisign and register.com has declined slowly but steadily during the course of this year.

It's illustrative to compare the graph for market share across all domains to that for just active sites. The former graph shows Microsoft trading share with Apache, while the latter graph shows fairly steady gains by both, with Apache taking the lion's share of the gains.

Microsoft's share is tied to the penetration of Windows in the server market, while Apache's isn't. Because of this tying, I don't anticipate they'll be able to get much more than a quarter of the market overall, though certain segments may find IIS more appealing. The addition of ASP.NET hooks to Apache may reduce that appeal. IIS has two advantages over Apache: It's included with Windows 2000 and XP, and it supports the latest bells and whistles from Microsoft. As they become more and more interchangeable, the advantage lies with the tool makers: which tools work best with which product?

Or, to look at this from a slightly different angle, IIS no longer adds value to Windows. Since revenue comes from other products, increasing the reach of the .NET Frameworks will increase the probability of increased revenue: We don't care what web server you use (but it will be easier with ours).

2:43:10 PM # Google It!
categories: Industry, System Administration

This Way to the Egress

Rick wonders
For the life of me, I cannot understand how a rational court can find a hyperlink to be anything but a pointer. Are phone books illegal because they publish phone numbers which permit you to directly contact an individual?

In this case, the law in question, the Database Directive (1996), had already prohibited hyperlinks — assuming Wired's rendition is accurate.

The directive also protects against the "unfair extraction" of materials contained in a database, specifically mentioning downloading or hyperlinking as examples of prohibited extraction methods.


"Temporary reproduction" such as linking and downloading are specifically addressed in the directive, which also gives the database owner the right to control or prohibit any sort of temporary reproduction of all or substantial amounts of the contents of a database.

So, by legislative fiat, a link is defined to be a temporary reproduction, rather than a pointer. This simplifies things, but reflects a mis-understanding of the nature of hyperlinks, much as the lawsuit itself reflects a mis-understanding of the value of hyperlinks.

Hyperlinks are only pointers, but have the character of other things because of the ways that they are used. A web browser, for example, may take a list of pointers and aggregate for display the items on the other side of those pointers. Has this changed the nature of the pointer? They're still just pointers, but the browser has used them to construct a new thing. Is the culpable party in this case the link, or the browser which does something with those links?

Suppose I noted that the coffee pot is in the cafeteria. If you walked up, took a cup of coffee, and didn't leave the $1, who would be at fault?

Mainpost v. NewsClub is even more ridiculous because the entire point of a newspaper is readership.

[A]re you guys as depressed as I am?

Yes, but this week that's because we no longer have free coffee.

1:51:38 PM # Google It!
categories: Law, Media

In the car park? What are you doing in the car park?

Dan Rosenbaum notes that the New York Sun is somewhat online. Looks like their editorial copy is thoughtful and well-researched: Lieberman vs. the Miners asks what were those miners doing in that hole in the first place?

Mining coal.

Turns out that there's another way to mine coal: scrape the top off the mountain, and dump it in the valley. And, the author notes, this method is safer!

I don't suppose the author has ever seen a strip mine.

1:10:37 PM # Google It!

Public Humiliation

The Happy Tutor suggests one of the many intruments that our modern legal system has forgotten:

The Stocks: His Media Conglomerate defrauded millions of small investors, employees, and vendors. His punishment was to be confined to the stocks outside his Corporate Headquarters, without police guard, for 15 minutes at rush hour. Even his own scum-sucking Media Crew turned away in horror. [Wealth Bondage]

12:30:51 PM # Google It!
categories: Law

Important Decisions

Should the coffee pot go on top of the Sun, or on top of the IBM?

11:51:01 AM # Google It!
categories: Coffee, System Administration

Corrupting the Minds of Children

Dave Dave Dave.

Shouldn't they be learning these things from their parents?

11:36:39 AM # Google It!

The Key to Worker Morale and Higher Productivity: Eliminate Snacks

It does include coffee!

Time for remedial action: I've a spare Gevalia drip coffee maker at home. Plenty of room and power outlets in this cubicle. The upside is that I'll be drinking better coffee, and I won't have to leave my desk.

9:45:56 AM # Google It!
categories: Coffee