Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Skype servers went down today

Fortunately it did not take long and
Skype Heartbeat provided us with up to date information.
Many funny ideas about how it could happen, in the multi chats: “Someone fell over a cable, eh?”, “Or spilled some water over a keyboard...”and “Wlan router went down

The cable reminded me of my time with Massey Ferguson Holland, somewhere in the 70’s. Long time ago.
We worked with a switchboard with 20 outgoing and incoming lines and did 1000 telephone calls per day.
The company was then situated on the Industrial Park of Zutphen – Gelderland – Holland.
It was a rather old park and at the time it got renovated to be ready for the new part.

It was on a warm summer’s day. The reception area was inside the big Tractor exhibition hall.
And apart from welcome visitors, there was a big, lazy, noisy fly. Though not that lazy that you could easily catch or kill it.
It was that sort of fly that preferred to sit on or between your fingers. Quite irritating when managing the switchboard.
When it finally sat down on one of the buttons of the board, I carefully raised my agenda and hit the fly successfully. Not that I like killing flies, but this one was wasn’t loved.

I cleaned the button, all looked well. Until…. people started to run around, angry at us because we forwarded calls to the wrong departments and people.
I didn’t understand, one mistake ok, but we were definitely not sending all calls to the wrong people!! And I definitely didn’t forward any calls it all over the past 5 minutes!!

Then I realized I might have “killed” the switchboard as well.
Indeed, forwarding was one big mess. With 350 people working there and all departments widely spread over the whole area, Massey Ferguson became to look like an Ant-hill. You saw them rushing from one office to another, to the workshops, up the stairs, down the stairs with notes, glaring at me if I could better hide. If it wasn’t so humorous, I think I would have done so.

Telephones with only internal lines, all of a sudden received external calls. And vice versa.
And the switchboard? Well, it received an occasional call by coincidence. Leaving us with enough time on our hands to watch the MF Ant-hill in action….

A few weeks later, without any warning and any flies, the whole telephone system went down.
We found out that a bulldozer cut the main cable in half somewhere close to our building.
But guess what happened before we found out…..
Indeed, people queued up in front of the reception desk: “Gosh Ike, would you please be so kind not to make killing flies your habit????”

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