For What Its Worth

My memory of Internet Gridlock

There was a day when the Internet died for about 9 hours. At this time corporations had just started to take advantage of the Internet.  The term Disc Farm had not been coined and faster than 10 mb internet access was almost unattainable at home, except for the lucky few.  This death wasn't from a worm with a code error sending emails every few milliseconds instead of hours.  It had come close, but what caused doomsday on the Internet was a new release of DOOM.  

A thriving game company had decided to do a network release.  Gamers were frothing at the mouth.  The plan was a large number of servers around the world would get the download, then the smaller support servers would get it and then everyone could down load it.  The problem was almost every gamer in the world wanted to be the first to download the game.   One server admin went to login at the appointed time, but could not get on.  The user limit had been reached.   5000 users had been waiting for over an hour.  What to do?  He called the tech and had him bump up the limit to 6000 and he logged in as fast as he could.  He was #5884 logged in.  He started the down load and after that it was like the internet had died.    Those of us that had a little more patience went for a long lunch. 

Could anyone have imagined such a thing?  Only in Science fiction.  I read a Sci-Fi story about a minor panic that made everyone in the world try to access their bank account electronically at the same time.  Minor delays happened, people got scared and then panic, gridlock etc.   I thought it was weird when I read it as a kid.  The funny thing is the story had been written in the 1950s.  Well got to run, time to do my online bill-pay.........

Happy Computing, VHubbard.  Transcribe June 2009

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