What exactly is IBM useful for these days?
Earlier this month, IBM's attempt to redesign its website broke links to product documentation – and all hell broke loose. On the IBM-MAIN mailing list, z/OS mainframe customers decried the changes as sabotage. People looking for IBM tools have been unable to find them. One aggrieved individual urged SHARE, an independent …
I truly fear the amount of human knowledge that now only exists on-line. And I can think of many, many resources that have already disappeared entirely due to mergers, bankruptcy, or general stupidity.
Already I find myself downloading or backing up things on-line just in case they suddenly disappear, or because I fear that some new and improved version will replace what I've come to rely on.
If information is important enough, you really should work from the assumption that it up to you to safeguard it rather than trusting unknown persons at IBM or Microsoft.
I feel the same way. I've always made it a point to scrape all the documentation bits from any site I found useful just in case it suddenly goes away. I'll WGET a copy of the server, Zip it together for ease of archiving to another drive, & then leave the WGET files in a subdirectory with an appropriate name. That way if the network ever fails, the site goes away, or anything else happens to said docs then at least *I* have a local copy upon which to fall.
This practice proved its worth when my employer had me writing up a web site that would allow our in the field techs to dial in, look up any of the 2TiB of docs we retained, download them, & have the specs at hand for repairing the device in front of them. Our document server went TITSUP & my boss had a cow thinking that the broken RAID cards that took it down also wiped the data. Right up until I handed him a portable 4TiB drive with a copy of said server's data on it. It was a damn good thing I'd done it too, the RAID card *had* rendered it all FUBAR & the admin in charge of doing the backups had screwed the pooch. My drive was used to restore all the server's doc files & I got a nice fat envelop in gratitude.
If I ever find the site which I archived is no longer available, I contact the site admin to ask if they need their data back. I explain what I've done & why, then make it available to them to restore from if they need/want to. I've lost track of the number of times I get a phone call from some panicked admin that wants to buy me a pint in gratitude. Some call me a pirate for scraping their site, right up until I make it clear I don't offer the data up to anyone *except* the site admin in case of emergency. I know there's the Internet Archive that does a better job, but I'm not the IA & never intend to be.
I'm just a private citizen whom learned the hard way at an early age to Always. Make. Backups. Of. Critical. Data.
I've worked for IBM so I can imagine the confusion with any change BUT wouldn't it have been logical to feed all the documents into the content management store for Watson and use it to provide a natural language portal to answer support questions as they arise?
...we are met face to face with the main issue of software development here in the USA. Companies are so keen to get their product out the door as quickly as possible, testing is either minimal or non-existent. This is why commercial software (even open source in many cases) here in the USA is always in Beta. We write the software. You buy it to have the privilege of testing it for us. If you find a problem, we'll fix it in the next version which you have to also buy.
And it's not just software...it's everything tech. Even websites, as this case has shown.
"... to trim outdated, unused and duplicate pages from the hundred millions URLs it manages and to generally make relevant documentation more easily discoverable."
I appreciate that IBM's goal is to remove documentation someone at IBM deems irrelevant. What may be determined by some schmuck at IBM could be a critical piece of information needed by an admin in the trenches trying to fix a problem. It reminds me of a wireless keyboard that didn't have a <ScrollLock> key, because some "engineer" at Logitech (I think was the brand of the keyboard) didn't think they needed to have such a key on their keyboard because "it wasn't used very often". Unfortunately, where I wanted to use it required a <ScrollLock> key to change computers on the KVM switch.
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