November 4th, 2003

caillebotte_man at his window

Passing A Freezy Night

My left big toe -- the one with the nail that's trying to become ingrown -- hurts like hell tonight. It might be because I was out walking around in the cold on the damp ground. Or it might be toe cancer. I don't know. What I know is that the sky has a mottled look, as it does on moonless nights when it is covered with little sheep clouds. It ought to be shorn of them (heh) when the sun rises. And, as frost is on the ground, I expect to see a bit more red in the landscape tomorrow.

A question on my friends page led me to recall a web site I once intended to mention, then forgot about in my usual absent-minded way. Leo's Lyrics is one of dozens of web sites which have sprung up featuring song lyrics. But this one has an interesting search feature: you can search the full text of its entire 70,000 song database for individual words and specific phrases anywhere in those lyrics. So, if all you can remember of a song is a single phrase, you can hunt down the title here. It's a handy virtual gadget to have around, but beware the plethora of pop-ups.

Because my brain is still in dysfunctional mode, I've been stuffing it with poetry, in the hope that this might jog something loose and get it working again. Mostly, I've been reading Richard Wilbur, as I've never gotten around to finishing his New and Collected poems, published in 1989. Yes, I'm slow sometimes. But I recently noticed for the first time how often birds appear in his work. They are among his obsessive images, I suppose. The poem I posted on Sunday had birds in it. Tonight, I came across another which I found interesting. Its pointed humor ( a common trait of Wilbur's verse) makes me smile.

Collapse )
caillebotte_man at his window

Weather Complaint and Geek Question (with Free Rantlet Included)

I keep telling myself that the cold air is bracing. The cold air is just freaking cold! I'm glad that Sluggo is now happy, but why can't we both be happy. I just went outdoors to empty the cat box, and now my ears are all prickly as they warm back up, and my icy fingers are clumsy on the keyboard.

I have a question about the brouhaha surrounding the availability of more user icons. I've read through some of the comment threads in this post, (and the previous one, in which Brad made the announcement of the availability of 10 extra icons for ten dollars a year for paid users) and much of the discussion is about how the increase in the number of user icons is going to effect LJ's bandwidth. Clearly, there is something I don't understand.

This is what I see: when I load my friends page, it has 25 posts on it, and each post has a user icon. Whether my friends are each choosing from among three icons, or ten icons, or fifty icons, each post will still have but one icon on it. One icon=x amount of bandwidth. So how does an increase in the number of icons available have any effect on bandwidth at all, given the fact that LJ must fetch only one icon per post? Granted, some icons may be larger files than other icons, but even with fifty icons per user, that would average out. LJ must still fetch only the maximum of 40K of icon file for each post made. As far as I can see, this means that the option of more icons per user will have no effect on bandwidth. Essentially, this new option allows us to spend ten dollars a year for a maximum of 1600K of additional icon storage space.

I can see how more icons could effect bandwidth usage, but only if LJ currently fetches a given icon only once for multiple posts using the same icon on a given page. With more choices, a user might use more icons in, say, a long thread on a comments page, thus using up more bandwidth. But even that doesn't seem like it would have any huge impact. How many times would that rare long page be accessed? Even now, a paid user could use all ten of their icons in a thread. How many threads go beyond ten comments by each participant? Very few that I've seen. All the angst this change has provoked among some users strikes me as terribly overwrought. Even if the a greater variety of icons that will be employed by some users does increase bandwidth usage, I doubt that there would be more than a modest increase in overall bandwidth usage on the site.

If I'm right, of course, then this new option is going to be quite profitable for LJ. Storage is fairly cheap, and getting cheaper all the time. I'm not begrudging Brad the additional income, even though ten bucks a year for 1600K of storage is very profitable. I know he's unlikely to spend it on hookers and beer -- well, not all of it, anyway -- and will put at least some of it back into improving the site. Still, since a paid account with extra icons is now very close to the price Blogger charges for an account with multiple paid journals ($36.00 a year, last time I checked), I think Brad will have to start rolling out more features to stay competitive. And I'm pretty sure we haven't heard the last of the complaints about the price of extra icons, or of fretting over the strain they place on LJ resources. Ah, LiveJournal: home of drama for over 1/25th of a century!