Archive for May, 2004

The Dead Horse Syndrome

Friday, May 7th, 2004

Tongue-in-cheek, of course…

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation
to generation, says that, “When you discover that you are riding a
dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.”

However, in government, education, and in corporate America, more
advanced strategies are often employed, such as:

1. Buying a stronger whip.

2. Changing riders.

3. Appointing a committee to study the horse.

4. Arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride
horses.

5 Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.

6. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.

7. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.

8. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.

9. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase dead
horse’s performance.

10. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would
improve the dead horse’s performance.

11. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is
less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes
substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some
other horses.

12. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.

And of course a favorite . . . promoting the dead horse to a
supervisory position.

In the "have faith" category…

Tuesday, May 4th, 2004

Google is a giant in the online world–the by-far leader in search engine technology. I saw a shining example of that at a client’s yesterday. We were searching for a particular piece of information–relating to the recent massive layoffs in the Cleveland public school system.

The client’s company had Yahoo set as employees’ home page, so we typed the desired URL into the Yahoo search box. Try as we might, we could not find the desired website. We even typed it in the URL address box, exactly as it is registered. Still no sign of the site.

Someone else said, wait a minute, I found that yesterday when I typed it into Google. So turn to Google we did. Typed the URL in the search box (not the address box) and voila–first entry returned was the correct website. What in the world is Yahoo doing that it could miss something so totally clear? Not a good sign. I’d say if you’re looking for reliable results in a search, use Google for heavens sake.

Anyway, you may know that Google issued its IPO last week–gone public and is offering stock. Search engine pundits are wondering out loud and online what differences this might make in Google’s preeminence and in what we optimizers need to do in order to achieve high ranking. Don’t freak yet–thus far it doesn’t look like things are going to change too much for now.

But then I dug a little deeper and found stats on Google’s rise. Impressive, to say the least, are the numbers on their revenue, costs and profits since their inception in 1999. Check it out…

Now ask yourself…if you lost $6 million your first year and $15 million your second, would you have stuck it out? But baby, look at ‘em now…

Here’s the rest of the article on Search Engine Watch.

Out with the old

Sunday, May 2nd, 2004

Ah, technology. The blessing and the bane of our existence these days. Changing web hosting services has been a real challenge lately (see earlier entry cautioning you about Earthlink). In the final throes of settling in to the new place this weekend.

And as if that were not enough hassle, customers sends me a fax that’s almost solid black the whole page–and it sticks itself to the fax ribbon and pulls the ribbon out so that all subsequent faxes come out with the ribbon attached. Attempts to repair fail. The scanner, kept in a box for two years for lack of space, gets set up–and starts spewing out scans with a huge dark line running through each of them. I check Google Groups (my tech guy Chris says that’s what he does when he can’t find an answer to a problem–it’s great stuff), and it turns out this particular model HP 3200C has been doing this dark-line-marring-your-scans ever since it was issued.

Apparently HP has been gladly letting you ship them your machine (at your expense naturally), pretending to fix it, returning it to you and then marveling with you that for some reason the thing is doing it again. How odd, they seem to say, sharing your puzzlement. But according to the folks exchanging frustrations on Google groups, it never gets fixed. Delightful.

Checked the Ziff-Davis site for evaluations of today’s printer/scanner/fax/copier machines–in the affordable category they rate the Canon machines best. So now I’m excited to say I have a printer that’ll do photo-quality, a scanner that scans cleanly, a fax that doesn’t use ribbon and a copier I don’t have to go in the other room to use… Sometimes we mistakenly–in a misguided attempt to be fiscally responsible–hold onto our old technologies a bit too long.

Go ahead. Fax me. ” )