LowComDom Performances Presents
The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
You Know You're DOOMED When...
Your boss gets busted down for being a complete asshole, he submarines for less than a year, then gets promoted back up so he can be an asshole again. (Go ahead, guess who I'm thinking of.)
You've stumbled onto another issue of The Crapolla, a journal written for software professionals. No not the managers; I mean the people who do the work.
This Crapolla is sponsored by...
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In This Issue...
Divorce & Phone Trees
At the risk of completely walking away from the theme of this column, I feel compelled to speak up about the idiots who seem to think that HDTV is going down the tubes before it even begins.
For those who haven't been paying attention, last year the FCC decided that in nine years time, the official TV standard of the USofA would be HDTV. It's been a year, so that means in eight years, all of the NTSC (Never Twice the Same Color) broadcast licenses will expire. This means you will have to replace your TV, VCR and your entire VHS library. HDTV signals will not play on your NTSC TV. So just to recap, you have to by a new TV in the next eight years to ensure uninterrupted feeds of Gilligan's Island.
During the same week, two conflicting bits of information hit me about HDTV.
Because there aren't any shows yet? Maybe.
Because it's 7500 bucks for the set and tuner? Bingo!
Do these Bozos really think mass numbers will buy 7500 dollar TV's? Common! The industry knows that as the price drops more sets will be sold. This insures that all the Econ 1A text books can still be used.
The LowComDom website has gone through a divorce. Content and formatting data just can't live together anymore. The LowComDom website has over 7000 html pages; the formatting overhead for each page is about 4k. You do the math, formatting data that is largely the same between pages was eating up our precious hard drive quota at the ISP. The other problem with having so many pages is changing the look and feel of the website as we do from time to time. This is the type of problem that creates necessity - the mother of invention.
There are other types of SSI and other ways to get the web server to parse the file. The new edict laid down by LowComDom founder Biff Pondwater was that all new pages (there are about 100 a month) would be written with two mandatory SSI tags. The first holds the formatting data that happens before the content of the page, and the other holds the formatting data that occurs after the content. But the real work was in retrofitting all of the previous pages. The retrofit has resulted in many megabytes of saved hard drive quota.
As for getting the server to parse every HTML file, we couldn't change all of the suffixes of all of the pages. For one reason, none of the search engine links to LowComDom would be valid. Second, your bookmarks to The Crapolla (you are bookmarking this... RIGHT?) would also be dead.
Most webservers will allow you to set it to parse every html file. Our ISP has their's set to allow individual users to switch on this function, which we have. The potential downside is that parsing files takes more time on the server. On a very large website, where there are many thousand hits per minute, there might be a scaling problem with this practice. The upside is that all special programs are run on the server where we know what the environment is and can control all versions of all software. Our result is pure HTML that will run on any HTML 3.X happy browser.
Another cool thing about SSI is you can make modular pages that contain formatting, and even content based on the user's preferences. (Can you say, Portal?) We haven't started doing this yet, but you can see where this could open whole new vistas in web writing. I think this is a good divorce.
As you might have heard, there are a lot of long distance phone companies out there. For some reason, long distance is a very hot market. The size of the market is not terribly visible to me as a home consumer. I might make 3 long distance calls year from home. Most of my calls happen at work.
That in mind, I decided to cancel my long distance service on my modem line which never makes a long distance call. That's right Sparky, you don't have to have a long distance carrier. So I dialed up MCI.
For some reason their automated system calls your phone number your frequent flyer number. Huh? I ain't flying, I'm dialing. Next, I had to dial in my modem's phone number. I had to tell the phone tree what I wanted to do, namely close the service. This caused me to be connected to a human being who asked me the exact same information. After closing the service, I asked why the phone tree asked me the same questions she did. What was the point?
Silence then, "Well never trust a computer."
No wonder long distance rates are so confusing.
Since all this recording has produced a mountain of video tapes for me to watch, I now enforce a strict 20 minute rule. This comes from something Richard Walters, my screenwriting instructor, explained to me. For a film to really work, it has to suck the audience into its clutches in 15 minutes. That's 15 pages of screenplay to you and me. So I give a film an extra 5 minutes. In 20 minutes, if a film hasn't grabbed me, it gets dumped.
HBO has a very extensive rating system. They have initials for everything. BN for Brief Nudity. SL for Strong Language, etc. The other day I saw a movie with a FR rating for Fucking Rude. I suspended the 20 minute rule for this film.
Let's play, "Who said this?"
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
"This company would be a lot easier to work at if we got regular blow jobs."
"As a child, I played equally with Barbie & Ken."
"I need to hit something."
"Don't quote me."
"You know me, you can't believe anything I say."
"All the features will be there, but they won't work."
"I can't believe I survived as a sperm."
I need to dial in my blood type on the cable company phone tree.
(Destroyer of Laptops - Morale Officer - The Last Honest Geek)
Remember: The Crapolla contains my personal opinions. That's right they're mine, so get your own! And you kids get off my lawn! This whole mess is copyright © 1998 by LowComDom Performances, all rights reserved. Wanna send this to your friends? Go ahead and pass out the URL.
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