Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gluttony, reloaded

On the plane to talk at the Minnesota Library Association conference, I dug into my paper copy of Information Today, and flipped to Steven Cohen's regular column, "Library Stuff Revisited."

Steven's topic this time was ReloadEvery, a Firefox plug-in that allows you to automatically reload a browser page at given intervals. He recounts how he uses ReloadEvery on different services, including keeping up multiple company press release pages all day, refreshing them automatically at fifteen-second intervals. Most remarkable was Steven's scheme to grab first-place reservation on Southwest:
"I could have set up the page to reload every second, but I was nervous and didn't want one tab to freeze on me. So I set up five tabs with the same page and had them each reload every four seconds at different intervals."
It's all very clever, but refreshing every second—who said that was okay? As a web developer of a site that gets hurt by more modest refreshaholics, I think Steven and the people who made ReloadEvery need to confront the "All You Can Eat Rule": Just because it says "All You Can Eat" doesn't mean you can shovel smoked salmon into your handbag for later, or lie on the drink counter with your mouth under the orange-juice spigot!

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Morphidae said...

Dude! You're in MN? We need to do lunch!

11/19/2008 8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pizza Hut supplies small plates at the buffet line to discourage gorging and reduce costs. What are the effects of this constant re-loading on your operation(I do know what happens behind the scenes)? Is there anything like the Pizza Hut small plate online to discourage such constant re-loading?

Bryan

11/19/2008 9:10 AM  
Blogger Steven said...

Hey Tim:

FYI, the URL for my blog is librarystuff.net, not .com.

Thanks for the plug for my column.

While it may be "wrong" to reload 5 Southwest page tabs every second, it's not illegal. So, I'll continue to do it if that means my family will be the first on the plane. Plus, I'm sure that the SW servers can handle it. There were so many people on our plane that said that they were manually refreshing to the page every second on multiple computers. I actually blame SW for their odd procedures.

Also, your site, IMO, doesn't have a need for me to autorefresh. It's not a time sensitive site, so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

11/19/2008 4:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Oh, sorry about the .net! I wrote the post on a plane—couldn't check it :)

Aw, don't take me too seriously. I'm glad your family got the first place.

The real target was the LT refresh-aholics. You know who you are!

11/19/2008 4:06 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Oh, sorry about the .net! I wrote the post on a plane—couldn't check it :)

Aw, don't take me too seriously. I'm glad your family got the first place.

The real target was the LT refresh-aholics. You know who you are!

11/19/2008 4:06 PM  
Anonymous John said...

Tim, did you just reload your own comment submittal? Damn you're a greedy motherfucker.

11/19/2008 4:13 PM  
Anonymous urania1 said...

I sometimes refresh a page. I didn't know I was causing harm. Sorry. What exactly happens when I refresh a page? How does this hurt LT? I promise I won't do it anymore.

11/20/2008 3:49 PM  
Blogger prosfilaes said...

urania1, it's not a problem to refresh a page when you need to. The issue is that it takes a certain amount of time to create a page, and some of them, especially on LibraryThing, aren't cheap. Reloading every so often by hand is fine by design, but when you sit there and reload every few seconds, either by hand or automatically, then it can put quite a load on the machine, especially as you're not using much if any of that information that's getting regenerated. There are various tricks to save some of the costs, but they're complex and problematic.

So, reloading when you need new information, fine. Sitting there hitting the reload button, or worse letting the computer hit the reload button, bad.

11/23/2008 10:40 PM  
Blogger SexPundit said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11/24/2008 11:26 AM  

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