August 29, 2009

The New Republic redesigned its webpage to make things look nicer...

... and wrecked all the old links to it!


rhhardin said...

Bit rot is the natural process by which software things that used to work no longer work.

Usually it's due to graduate students improving something, since they're uncoupled from market forces.

Bissage said...

(1) Bit rot. Hmmmmm . . . that’s quite the coincidence.

Just this morning I was trying to remember the meaning of “single bit drop out.”

Teh Googles were not much help.

My best guess is that it had something to do with the old ENIAC machine and the legend that three people worked full-time replacing burned out tubes. Apparently, that is more myth than legend. Link.

(2) Another little known fact. There was a logbook the technicians used to record maintenance activity on ENIAC.

One day, the cause of a malfunction was a moth that flew into the machine. One of the techs scotch-taped it into the logbook. Bug. Get it? Ha!

(3) Both of those tall tales came from the same source; a FORTRAN II professor in 1983, who was literally a rocket scientist. I liked him.

lucid said...

Two points:

1, rhhardin's comment above that bit rot often occurs because graduate students who are uncoupled from market forces think they are imporiving something appies perfectly to TNR which is run by graduate students (or superannuated undergrads) who are fully subsidized in their work for the magazine (since TNR couldn't earn a dime inthe real world).

2. Your shouldn't read TNR anyway--it's bad for your blood pressure.

David said...

I buy all my legal drugs from Walgreen's. This week, when I needed a passel of refills, they launched their redesigned web site. It didn't work. It tool them a day to acknowledge that it wasn't working and another day to fix it.

Quite a screwup--and no acknowledgement or apology from Walgreen's.

On the other hand it works great now--unlike the VA, as portrayed in a recent news article, which spent $70 million on a new reservation system design over several years. System is junk and must be discarded. $70 million down the drain.

Oh, sure, I want the government to run my medical care.