• Subject: Re: What About Price vs. Performance?
  • From: "Leif Svalgaard" <leif@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2001 11:55:12 -0500

From: James W. Kilgore <eMail@James-W-Kilgore.com>
> We have a simple technique.  You take a video camera, a tripod and a
> stop watch.

> That is the only time that matters.  User response time.

Users are funny though. I remember when we implemented 
the New York Telephone Directory Assistance System
back in 1980. 33 field offices were connected to the (two)
central computer sites. The request would be entered at
the field office, transmitted to a central site, the reply
(a list of phone number listings that met the search
criteria) would be sent back. Transmission times back 
then were slow (9.6 Kb). When we wrote the software
in the terminal (had to fit in 4K), we had the choice of
showing the data as in was coming in, painting the screen
as soon as we had *some* data. We thought that the
users would be happy to get at least some of their
data as soon as possible. Also our contract with the
phone company specified that response time be measured
from last keystroke in to first character being shown on
the screen.
Just for fun, one day I changed the program in some of the
terminals to buffer up the screen and only show the data
when all had been received. Guess what? the users
asked me what I have done to "speed" up the system
and demanded that I did that to all the terminals.
In his words: "before, the lines were kind dribbling down
the screen, now they 'snap' on immediately".
So although he actually saw most of the data later,
he was convinced the system had become significantly faster.
We were, of course, happy to oblige him for an added bonus!

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