Monday, November 14, 2005

Come, listen to this talk!

Paraphrased from an email I got this morning... "Hey, come see this talk by this person. It's a 3pm on this date in this place. See the graphic for more information, and let me know if you have problems viewing the graphic."

The attached graphic was a 5MB jpeg that was emailed to more than everyone in CS (well, all the departmental staff/faculty and grad students were on the list, as well as other departments research groups.)

Let's just assume this was 500 people. 5MB * 1.30 (for the binary-to-text mark up) yields a 6.5MB email, sent out to 500 people means 3.2GB was lost to store this message. And knowing how people around here leave all of that in their inboxes, which change all the time, I'm going to be backing that up again and again and again...

Lame. The content should have been culled from the graphic and copied into the email, or the graphic should have been put on the web somewhere and a URL included in the message.

"Use the right tool for the job." That's a simple extension of Occam's that applies to almost everything. It's sad some people haven't picked up on that yet.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Throttled survey

Campus/Chancellor sent out a MASSMAIL this morning regarding a survey about campus pedestrian safety. The survey is hosted by the WebTools office, which runs the UIUC website; I'm pretty confident in their abilities to run things. Their Survey tool is pretty neat, and allows anyone on campus to whip up a web based survey without having to know anything about web forms. This used to be something I had to do for our business office; now, we just send them to WebTools.

So it surprised me when the images in the survey didn't load. Because a few of the questions involve looking at images and answering questions, they're a critical part of the survey. When I looked at the properties of the broken image and visited it directly, I got this error:


Available bandwidth quota for this filesystem has been exceeded.

Please, try again later.

So it's not a survey bug, but a NetFiles configuration tweak that is purposely throttled. I suppose that works fine for normal traffic, but breaks when you MASSMAIL a link to it out to 60k people who check their email first thing in the morning. Oops.

[ Edit 9:09am: They fixed it. I guess someone else noticed. ]