Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 3 seconds

Cecil's Cross Border Advice

Over the last few weeks I've been cruising the Southwest, and happy to be away from he cold and snow that attacked the Northwest. As you might expect, I've nearly burned out my mouth tasting a wide variety of peppers and pepper-prepared dishes that seem to show up at every turn in the road out here. I'm no longer sure where the border is between the US and Mexico, but I can tell you that I'm thankful there's no legislation on the transport of food culture across the border.

When it comes to cross-border transfer of EDI though, it's clear that there are issues bigger than chiles rellenos going on. I spoke with one EDI consultant who is on the lookout for security issues that seem to be a growing concern as more and more transactions pass across the Internet into and out of countries that may not have the same laws in place as those in the US. For my part, I wonder if that's a good or bad thing, given the number of security data leaks we've seen in just the last year.

On the lighter side, I was reading my email last week and saw a plea for help from a hapless consultant asking for advice from his peers on the EDI-L message board. This Yahoo! group serves its member/participants as a place to exchange ideas and the excruciating details of EDI transactions. Most of the time it's a very sober place filled with serious discussion about translations, data structure, and trading partners.

The requester, with a name that appeared to be from India asked an innocent enough, if not well thought out question that went something like,

"Could you please any one tell me what is EDI Parsing all about?"

Understand that EDI parsing is what these folks do for a living, and a question like this probably sounded like... well, truthfully I can't do any better than what the posters did. After a few impatient replies to this poor fellow, the discussion was quickly replaced by what follows. (I've abbreviated most of these postings and removed the names, but anyone wanting to read the full postings can visit the group at

Hi everyone, Can someone please explain the meaning of life? I googled it, but there wasn't enough information.

You forgot to close your tag below. It won't work in my browser. :)

One meaning of life...Fish for a man, you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you'll feed him for a lifetime.

Talk to a man about using his fishing rod to catch his fish for him; catch the fish and sell them to him; then bill him for your time, and you are a consultant.

With all the outsourcing, I think "fish for a man, you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll steal your monopoly on fisheries" is more appropriate.

And I thought it was "Fish for a man, you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll sit around in a boat getting drunk every weekend".

you forgot you should advise him exactly why his current fishing rod is really not optimal for his body of water and that he needs a newer, better, one, in fact, he really should move to another body of water altogether, and then you can advise him on packing, moving, unpacking, new office set up, new phones, carpet.......

Results 1 - 10 of about 1,520,000 for "meaning of life". (0.23 seconds)

I already know all the above stuff. It's the other stuff I don't know. Specifically.....

The meaning of life is easy: 42
Now the meaning behind the meaning of life is more complex. And.....after the building of that hyperspace bypass, we'll never know.

I thought it was 47, not 42? (although I did see that part late at night so I am not 100% sure)

Just to nit-pick ... I believe that 42 is not the meaning of life. It's the answer to the great question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, but answers and meanings aren't the same thing. Like so much in life, the interpretation is open to debate.

After all that, I decided I needed yet another chipotle tamale pie with green salsa before calling it quits for the night. It's nice to see that we're all working on the same problems, or at least that even when we face the same frustrations, we can occasionally drift off into a bit of slapstick to ease the tension.

I do hope that the original question was answered. If nothing else, I'm certain the answer could be found at Wikipedia, where I confirmed that "42" is indeed the answer.(ˍAnswerˍtoˍLife,ˍtheˍUniverse,ˍandˍEverything )

Have a great holiday, and be kind to each other!

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