I was rushing to get out of the office on Monday evening. My final task before running out of the door was to send an email to someone saying something like:
Arrgghh! – today was a $%^%^& day and I'm way behind – I’ll spin that document first thing in the morning and get it to you ASAP.
As soon as I'd pressed the "Send" button I shut my computers down and headed for the hills. On Tuesday morning when I came into work, the UBM / EE Times servers based in the North East were not available. The power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy had taken everything down, so I had no email or instant messaging or VPN access into the main systems.
Not to be deterred, I carried on working using my backup systems and personal email address and so forth. As part of this, of course, I sent the promised document and promptly forgot all about it.
When I came into work today, I powered up all of the systems in the pleasure dome (my office) as usual. Hurray! The UBM / EE Times servers based in the North East were back online. My UBM email system leapt into action with messages flying back and forth.
So I was somewhat puzzled when I received a message from my friend saying "What are you talking about? You already sent me that document."
This resulted in a ping-pong of emails until we worked out what had happened – my original message from Monday evening hadn’t gotten through, so my friend had received my messages out of order. From his perspective, he'd first received the document in question, and then a day later he'd received a message saying I wouldn’t be able to send the document until the following day.
Fortunately, my delayed message was innocuous in nature, but I can imagine some that might not be. Consider, for example, what might have happened with a message like:
“…and if I don’t hear back from you by tomorrow morning, I plan to sell the damn thing for whatever I can get…”
“I will be at the end of the parking lot just under the ‘Hello Kitty’ sign wearing nothing but my red overcoat until 8:00pm…”
…or maybe even… but no, why should I do all of the work? How about you – can you share any messages – real or imaginary – whose delay might have unintended results?
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