Where’s the Date, Man?

Mark Berry July 2, 2011

Enough with the calculated time spans already.

It seems like more and more blogs and discussion posts are going towards the format “Written x days/weeks/years ago” rather than specifying an actual date. My question is:  why?

Missing Date 1

Yes, date stamps on posts are supposed to give an idea of how fresh the post is. But they should also tell me the exact date when an article was written.

Not to brag, but I’m pretty good with Gregorian dates. I know that July precedes August, for example. If you tell me that an article was written on July 15, 2008, and I see another article was written on August 1, 2008, I can tell which article was written first! (I know, it’s a gift.) However if you tell me that both articles were written “almost three years ago,” I have no clue.

Missing Date 2

What I’m not good at is doing date arithmetic in my head. Quick, what is today minus 2145 days? Let’s see 2145 divided by 365 is … 5.877 years ago … so what month was that?

Maybe “freshness” dates on Facebook and LinkedIn are okay, from “a few minutes ago” up to about “4 days ago.” But if you’re writing anything that you hope will be relevant for more than a week, man up and put a real date on it for cryin’ out loud.

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How DSL Works

Mark Berry June 2, 2011

I’ve been working with my ISP and local telco trying to resolve DSL speed issues. In so doing, I’m researching terms like DSLAM, ATM, Redback, etc.  Best explanation so far:

The theory is simple. Acronyms flow down the phone line from the phone company toward your computah. Monthly contributions of currency flows in the other direction. When you fail to respond to the ISP’s request for money, the acronyms stop flowing. The more currency you upload, the faster the acronyms arrive.

Thanks go to Jeff Liebermann, who apparently posted this to the alt.internet.wireless newsgroup back in 2004. The thread is re-posted here and here.

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Network Cabling and the Not-So-Proverbial Rat’s Nest

Mark Berry May 16, 2011

I decided to upgrade the in-wall cables in my home office from Category 5 to Category 6. Not a big deal since the conduit is already there, right? Well I wasn’t counting on this.

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