Much Ado About...


Maybe it is just the summer-time lull, but I have not been terribly motivated to write anything lately. Alas, the IIS newsgroup has not been spawning anything interesting nor new in terms of issues either, and my private blog comments are starting to degenerate into "can you help me figure out how application X works with IIS and how to fix it".

You know, it is really hard for me to get excited about those type of questions because I am NOT in product support, nor do I have any idea how application X works through a cursory description of it. Sorry, I do not know how every application works...

Sigh. What I want to do is explain how IIS works and interacts so that you can help yourself figure out what is going on, but clearly many people do not want to learn and just want to use my time to get some answers. Grr...

For example, one very apologetic guy tells me that he followed my blog entry to allow EXEs to be downloadable on IIS6, but other file extensions like .CC2, .VDX, etc were still getting denied by 404s on IIS6. Umm... hello?!? There is a blog entry dedicated to troubleshooting IIS6 linked right off my blog entry, which should have led one to look in the IIS log file for more clues. One should then notice the 404.3 for the request, and a quick search on the Internet or even my blog should locate the solution.

Hmm... maybe it is because I am so close to the issue that I find the steps intuitively obvious, but I suspect otherwise. I think it is just basic common sense and troubleshooting skills one needs to have to survive in a digital world, but I think that progress has made computing so comparatively "easy" that not everyone using a computer or running a server has the proper skills to survive. And, I am not certain that is a good thing to encourage...

I mean, it is like how in the US, people treat driving as a "right" and not a "privilege" and let all sorts of miscreants onto the road with minimal training and supervision. And then we wonder about the insurance and accident rates. Put that in contrast with Germany, where driving is more of a "privilege" than a "right", and we get comparatively better drivers, faster speeds, and less accidents. Ok, the occassional Ghost Drivers, but generally better.

For example, you also see this with Virtual PC/Server users. People ask about how to install Windows 3.1, DOS, or Windows NT4 on Virtual PC when the answers have already been said a decade ago - just need to search for it - and then they get annoyed that Microsoft did not put it on a silver platter for them.

Umm... hello?!? Virtual PC/Server is all about providing a Virtual Machine so that you can install/run whatever software you want. You are still ultimately responsible for figuring out how to do what you want to do.

Anyhow, it is always amusing to see the same user later balk at having to install OS by booting from a floppy. It appears that they s/he never lived through the "earlier" days of PC computing, before there were bootable CDs. It is at this point that one should marvel at the progress in computing and how much more coddled we all are nowadays.

Booting from a CD or USB key? Outrageous! Having drivers automatically detected and installed instead of going into Control Panel? Amazing! We take so much for granted, especially without knowing the basics... and that concerns me.

In my view, one should always start from the basics and build up knowledge from there. Otherwise, one lacks the building blocks to do critical thinking, which condemns one to mindless pattern matching and not mindful problem solving. And we all want problem solvers, right? :-)

Anyways... I think a little elitist is ok; as with everything, just don't go overboard with it.