Monday, November 19, 2007

Weakest links

TinyURL Outage Illustrates the Service's Risks: "The link shortening and redirection service TinyURL went down apparently for hours last night (it's still down, in fact), rendering countless links broken across the web. Complaints have been particularly loud on Twitter, where long links are automatically turned to TinyURLs and complaining is easy to do, but the service is widely used in emails and web pages as well. The site claims to service 1.6 billion hits each month."

Funnily enough, this is one of the things we tell students on T183 (Design and the Web) could be useful for them to shorten the URLs they use as part of referencing internet sources. And yet - it goes down and there is absolutely nothing the OU can do about it. It could be said to be an example of where a VLE might be better. Or is it just that because the VLE doesn't offer that service, we are left with no choice but to go to an external source? The article makes a critical point to conclude, "There ought not be one single point of failure that can so easily break such a big part of the web". True. There ought not to be. But how to build that in without taking away flexibility from those who want it? Control from those who need to implement it? Where does the middle ground lie?

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