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3 Sep 2018 : Yet More Proof that the Human Race is Screwed #

I don’t usually get angry, but something about this really hustles my hircus. I just clicked through an advertarticle on the Register about “Serverless Computing London”, a conference that claims to help developers “decide on the best path to a more efficient, scalable and secure computing future.”.

The speaker roster looked interesting, because I’d never heard of any of them (that’s just me; I’m not following Serverless trends closely), so I clicked through to find out about the headline keynote, Chad Arimura, from Oracle. Chad’s image seemed to load slower than the rest of the page, which made me suspicious. So I loaded up the image separately and this is what I found.
 

This image is too large

Chad’s mugshot is being downloaded as a behemoth 2756 x 2756 pixel image and then scaled down on my screen to a 114 x 114 pixel image client-side. Check out those timing bars. It’s taking 1.5 seconds to download the bastard. Because it’s nearly 1 meg of data.

I did some scientific testing, and established that if the image had been scaled down at the site, it could have been served to me as 3.9kB of data. That’s 0.004 of the bandwidth. Huge swaths of time, resources and human ingenuity have gone in to developing efficient image compression algorithms so that we can enjoy a rich multimedia Web, minimising the energy required while we fret about global warming due to our historical excesses. A visually-identical 114x114 pixel BMP image (circa 1995) would have taken 52kB of bandwidth.

This all wouldn’t be so bad if maybe Chad didn’t look quite so smug*, and if we couldn’t discern from the title of the image that someone went to the trouble of cropping it. Why didn’t they just scale it down at the same time?

But the saddest part, of course, is that this is to advertise a conference about Serverless Computing. What’s the point of Serverless Computing? To allow better allocation of resources so that server time is spent serving content, rather than waiting for requests.

I totally appreciate the irony of me spending an hour posting an image-heavy blog post about how a conference on a perfectly valid technical subject is wasting bandwidth. But I would simply say that this only strengthens my argument: I'm human too. We're all screwed.

* To be fair to Chad, it’s almost certainly not his fault (other speakers get the same treatment), and the admirable minimalism of his personal website suggests he’s actually totally bought in to the idea of efficient web design.
 

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