re: Tell me about a time you messed up VIEW POST


I had just started as a Perl developer for Wolfram Research when Wolfram|Alpha (a sort of curated search engine) was launching. Because I had developed and automated their weather updates I was included in their launch team to be broadcast on twitch. However, once we were near ready to go to launch I discovered that none of the developers had wifi connectivity in the building we were launching from (it's a development launch and none of the developers could develop) -so I pressed the admin team to get the wifi working.

My insistence caught the notice of Stehpan Wolfram and the Director of Development. The Director, Peter O. asked me to oversee any and all potential hacks (DDos, etc.) that might be trying to interfere with our launch. I reluctantly took on the position for the launch (it was a 27 hour day in total).

Smack dab in the middle of the launch Stephan Wolfram is streaming our internet numbers network input when I realized that we were getting hit with an extreme number of search queries from a (seemingly) foreign range of IP addresses that would potentially start bringing down our in-house cluster. I hit the panic button and shut down all network traffic until I could block those IPs from our router.

As it turns out, the web group had been running tests from an outside cluster to drive up our numbers during the presentation. And no one had told me.... So, Stephen Wolfram is standing there, showing the numbers and there's a huge drop in traffic..... derp -that was me.

I turned everything back on in about 30 seconds but it didn't go unnoticed.


Stephan Wolfram video where the crash happens: the launch video is no longer available. The crash acknowledgement happens at 10:15


I think, at the time, 3 million people saw this happen.....


Beautiful. :D

In a former life when I was doing network administration for a university's school of business, I got a phone call from another network admin demanding that I give him the contact information connected to a specific IP address that was "attacking" their system. He figured that a university kid was trying to brute force a password to their FTP service.

Turns out that it was a company being hosted by our business incubator. The angry admin's company had hired them to redo their website, so they were trying to FTP into the web server. Only the password was wrong, and their stupid software kept trying to reconnect.

That guy threatened to sic his lawyers on me. I told my boss, and to his credit, he shrugged and said, "that's fine. Here's the contact info for our lawyers. You can tell him to give it to his lawyers."

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