Symbolic Forest

A homage to loading screens.



In which Exchange causes problems

Microsoft, everyone’s favourite evil behemoth, have been getting as much press as they can in the past few days to push their new operating system. At the same time, though, their software has been making my life a drag. And there’s nothing at all I can do about it.

The problem is their email server “messaging solution”, the horrible and nightmarish Microsoft Exchange. I know it’s a horrid system to babysit, but fortunately I don’t have to do any of that. Worse, though, it can make life bad for people like me who shouldn’t have to have anything to do with it.

Like most things Microsoft produces, it has a showstopper of a bug. It’s triggered by an innocent salesman* who decides to send an email to a long, long list of people at once. His (or her) own system has nothing to do with this; the problem is when one of the people in the recipient list uses a buggy Exchange. Their server will read the email, and send it out again. To all of the recipients. Thousands and thousands and thousands of times. Each copy looking like it’s coming from the original sender.

Moreover, some of those people will then reply, saying things like “why are you sending me thousands of emails, you fuckwit?” They don’t really help, though, because inevitably they push the “reply to all” button. Meaning they then generate a second email which triggers the same bug, so that email, too, gets duplicated thousands and thousands and thousands of times, until the administrator of the buggy server wakes up and takes their server offline to recover for a while.

Bugs in software are unavoidable. Most of them, though, don’t cause problems for more than one person at once. Bugs like that, though, that can block up internet connections and mail servers for hours at a time, should never have been released. Releasing software that disrupts the rest of the world, in that way, is verging on unforgivable.

* Well, it’s not salesman-specific. But for some reason, it seems to be salesmen that set it off most of the time