Pie in the Skype

I use Skype to IM with certain people, so I was slightly annoyed last week when the application was unavailable, and moderately interested in the "why." Skype's originally an Estonian company, so I had fuzzy notions, informed by my ongoing reading of William Gibson's new novel, that somehow the Russians had taken it down. Anyhow, the truth's more prosaic, idiotic, and Redmondy:

On Thursday, 16th August 2007, the Skype peer-to-peer network became unstable and suffered a critical disruption. The disruption was triggered by a massive restart of our users’ computers across the globe within a very short timeframe as they re-booted after receiving a routine set of patches through Windows Update. The high number of restarts affected Skype’s network resources. This caused a flood of log-in requests, which, combined with the lack of peer-to-peer network resources, prompted a chain reaction that had a critical impact. Normally Skype’s peer-to-peer network has an inbuilt ability to self-heal, however, this event revealed a previously unseen software bug within the network resource allocation algorithm which prevented the self-healing function from working quickly. Regrettably, as a result of this disruption, Skype was unavailable to the majority of its users for approximately two days.

Between this event and the actual attack by Russia on Estonia's cyberinfrastructure earlier this year, one could sketch out a whole science-fiction novel.

Forecast: Significant blowing and drifting, with the possibility of heavy accumulation in rural areas.