Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Great 2010 Email Showdown

The last couple of days at work managed to provide a little bit of unexpected entertainment.  It all started Thursday afternoon.  You see, my departments email inbox is set up with an auto reply - any email sent in will immediately get the standard 'thank you for your email, we'll take care of it sooner or later'.  That's not exactly what it says, but for the purposes of the story it's close enough.  Anyway, somehow we managed to receive an email from some other department inbox with their own auto reply.  This set off a chain reaction of auto replies going back and forth fast and furious.  By the time I went home Thursday night, we were up over 700 emails in our inbox. 

Friday morning I came in and expected to hear that it had been shut down, but for some reason nobody on either side could intervene and the emails continued to pile up.  Despite the IT ticket being escalated to critical, they seemed unconcerned about the issue.  It eventually took someone a few steps up the chain of command getting in touch with a senior VP of IT to shut down Operation:  Overflowing Inbox, and by that time just short of 23,000 emails had gone back and forth. 

If my memory of the plot of the Terminator serves correctly, this is exactly how Skynet became self aware.  Luckily this time we got everything shut down before computers took over and ultimately enslaved humanity.  I still think that sooner or later I'll have my part to play in the apocalypse.  Just not yet. 
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