I had an epiphany this morning at work as I waited and waited for a simple query to return some intelligible answer from the server: what if network priority was dynamic, and could be set by a hardware device on each computer. And what if that device was a crank handle that generated electricity as you turned it?
Not to power the computer, though, but rather to express a very simple emotion: urgency.
As you turn the crank a simple current is generated and measured. The more current generated, the higher your priority on the network. If you don’t turn it at all you could be stuck sitting for minutes waiting for your query to return from the server. If you turn it quickly, your priority gets higher and you get your answers more quickly.
I can see benefits and detriments to this idea.
First, the benefits:
1) You get some physical exercise at work. Heck, if you hook it up to a treadmill or bicycle pedals you could get a full workout.
2) You get to relieve some stress at work. Working out is the best way to relieve stress. Well, other than sex, but I think HR would be more comfortable with exercise.
3) You could communicate a sense of URGENCY to the system. If you needed something NOW you could physically push for the results to come faster. This would have the beneficial effect of both allowing you to vent your stressful moment productively at the same time as providing priority to those people who clearly need it the most.
Now, the downsides:
1) Work is already exhausting on bad days. Making you physically work for priority as well as having to politically jockey for it would just add to the exhaustion.
2) The smell. Gyms smell bad for a reason. Now add that gym smell into enclosed cubicles with half the people wearing polyester and not nearly enough deodorant.
3) The upper crust would starting assigning people “crank duty” to make sure their spreadsheets come out sooner than your TPS reports. It starts to evoke the image of Egyptian slaves.
But, still, if only there were some way to automate priority to those urgently need it.