Tuesday, March 20, 2012

At least I didn't say we never got the request.

'Since when has latency been zero?'  
is not how you respond to 'Why isn't our feature on your list?'
and who said anything about fallacies?

Interestingly, if you just dump "latency and development" into Google, you're going to get back Freud's psychosexual development article over at Wikipedia.  You know, between the phallic and the genital stages, which might appropriately describe the humor level of many programmers.  What you don't get is the engineering context, "Latency is a measure of time delay experienced in a system, the precise definition of which depends on the system and the time being measured. Latencies may have different meaning in different contexts."  Which still isn't quite right in this case, because obviously we're talking about two different latencys. Latencies? Um, multiple definitions of latency...there we go.  That be good English.

If you're interested in some amusing, though dated, articles, I enjoyed Arnon Rotem-Gal-Oz's article explaining the fallacies, which quotes Ingo Rammer's (sorry, that's an amusing name right there, Ingo) 2005 post on latency versus bandwidth:
But I think that it’s really interesting to see that the end-to-end bandwidth increased by 1468 times within the last 11 years while the latency (the time a single ping takes) has only been improved tenfold. If this wouldn’t be enough, there is even a natural cap on latency. The minimum round-trip time between two points of this earth is determined by the maximum speed of information transmission: the speed of light. At roughly 300,000 kilometers per second (3.6 * 10E12 teraangstrom per fortnight), it will always take at least 30 milliseconds to send a ping from Europe to the US and back, even if the processing would be done in real time.
Although perhaps in 2005 he didn't account for services like Akami's that track city-by-city latency to the millisecond and move most of your data as close to the reader as possible.  And just in case you think latency isn't a fallacy (kudos to my comedic partner for tagging this comic "Fallacies, In the Office", I think that takes on a whole extra Shakespearean level), there are whole summits devoted to low latency.

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