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Cox Crow

Asking the Stupid Questions Since 1971
 Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Optimizing for what?

So why are we taxing cooperation and coordination and subsidizing technologies that decrease rapid exchanges between workers?
Stephen Dulaney: Blogging Alone

2:22:36 PM # Google It!
categories: Industry, Messaging

Heisenberg and Phone Bills

My mother-in-law is an accountant, so every now and then I read things I wouldn't normally read, like The CPA Software News. An editorial there by Gregory L. LaFollette, "Too Cheap to Measure," asks "Do you have an old "per hour" pricing model that could use an overhaul?" Or, based on my experiences at consultancies, does it take longer to fill out your timesheet than it does to do the work?

He asks this after observing that the telephone industry has a per-minute pricing model that could use some work.

The result is that many industry analysts and observers believe that the costs of MEASURING AND BILLING now approach 80% of the total costs of providing telephone service

It costs eight (8) times as much to bill for the service as it does to provide it? So, MCI WorldCom, noted for some issues with its billing systems, charges a flat-rate for everything. Verizon's variation on this is much more confusing — you can't get a straight answer on the price from their website. Must be the Uncertainty Principle at work there as well.

12:29:01 PM # Google It!
categories: Industry

The Time Had Come, So Marvin Went

Jon Udell brings up one of my favorite topics: avoiding link rot.
The bad URL was, in any case, apparently obsolete. ... It strikes me that with namespace support for RSS, an element might be added that would enable aggregators to redirect in such cases.

One aggregator, Aggie, pays attention to HTTP permanent redirects and updates the subscription list. Google and Syndic8 also know what to do with a permanent redirect. But in some cases, the server administrators don't allow the user to modify the configuration.

So an element to handle changes of address was briefly discussed, and Kevin Burton's mod_subscription mentions it in passing. The specification really just needs some simple language describing the element and requiring an action based on the element. Something along these lines

The channel element contains metadata describing the channel itself, including a title, brief description, and URL link to the described resource (the channel provider's home page, for instance). The {resource} URL of the channel element's rdf:about attribute must be unique with respect to any other rdf:about attributes in the RSS document and is a URI which identifies the channel. Most commonly, this is either the URL of the homepage being described or a URL where the RSS file can be found. This is the URI of the feed itself. If it changes, user agents SHOULD update references to the channel.

Whether the appropriate place for the language is the main document or a module is a matter for discussion. What is necessary is more specificity in the specification.

11:39:34 AM # Google It!
categories: Writing Online

Planned Obsolescence

/. has a brief discussion about an article in the Economist claiming that Sun's N1 vaporware will make system administrators obsolete.

Yeah. Right.

We've been trying to do this to ourselves for years and it ain't happened yet. Someone has to clean up after the developers. You can call it system integration if you want to, but to me, I'm just a mechanic, keeping the car in fine tune.

9:24:26 AM # Google It!
categories: Industry, System Administration