back to article It was all Yellow: Mass email about a Coldplay CD breaks the internet

Monday mornings are your time to grimace with other Reg readers over their technical mishaps in our weekly column – Who, Me? This week, we hear from “John”, who was working for one of the biggest retailers in the UK back in the days when the spectre of the EU's GeDPR hadn’t scared companies into data protection compliance, and …

  1. Maelstorm
    Coat

    This reminds me of the time...

    This reminds me of the time where someone did something to an email server that causes a 19 hour outage over at America Online in the late 1990s. But in this case, can the retailer be blamed for instigating a DDoS attack on the payment gateway?

    Now I'm going to grab my jacket and exit stage left.

  2. My-Handle

    The magic phrase...

    "Can I have that in writing, please?"

    Preferably with some kind of rider acknowledging that they had been warned. In cases like this, the first instinct for anyone in John's place should be to cover their ass.

    Edit: All posts on April Fool's day come with a "posted by a forum troll" icon? Really, El Reg?

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: The magic phrase...

      Nope. All comments, even old ones, come with that...

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: The magic phrase...

      Oh, is that what it is?

      I'd just assumed El Reg's servers were a bit broken. Modern web software being so ridiculously unreliable, it seemed far more likely than a deliberate act.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: The magic phrase...

        Maybe they've just decided to cut out the icon selection process and give us all the icon we deserve?

        1. Nick Kew
          Thumb Up

          Re: The magic phrase...

          Speak for yourself!

          Oh, right, you did.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The magic phrase...

        "Modern web software being so ridiculously unreliable"

        Thank God for that, I have a job in IT for LIFE!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The magic phrase...

          The job of 'poke at it a bit and then say "sorry, looks like the problem's on their end, nothing we can do" and call it a day'?

    3. Nick Kew
      Pint

      Re: The magic phrase...

      It's a repeat of an old joke. First time round I loved it for its wider effect, and described it as audacious and imaginative.

      ... But the ingenious thing is that this applies not just to the feeble joke article, but every article, through the history of El Reg. Suddenly the Reg every day is April 1st tradition really comes into its own, as tall stories like yesterday’s one about World Backup Day display all grinning trolls.

      And suddenly the seeds of doubt are sown over all the serious stories. This is surreal, and turns it into a brilliant new twist on an old tradition!

      Icon in waiting for when we revert.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The magic phrase...

        Even better if it was a gif and on some random time would wink at you. Just to mess with people.

      2. Nattrash Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: The magic phrase...

        Don't know about the rerun here, but the people at stackexchange/ askubuntu are also having a (April fools) day which makes old farts feel more at home...

        MARQUEE!

        BLINK!

        GUESTBOOK!

        Proudly built in Notepad. Best viewed in Netscape

        ...and you just have to love the cursor trail... Oh, is that just me..?

        1. lesession

          Re: The magic phrase...

          The best thing about that for me on SO was the earnest discussions about 'Whether this design ties in with our policy of being welcoming to newcomers' ...

      3. Nattrash Silver badge
        1. TimMaher Bronze badge
          Trollface

          Re: The magic phrase...

          I’ve just had a look at that ApplePie.

          Really yummy and I shall get one when we leave.

          Up vote for the link.

          I’d get my coat but someone has replaced it with a troll mask.

        2. Johndoe888

          Re: The magic phrase...

          Dave at EEVblog has been etching pcp's with water https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGL8X8FS4eQ

      4. Nick Kew
        Holmes

        Re: The magic phrase...

        Seems it's on calendar date 1/4, the full 24 hours, and timezone GMT.

        It's just gone midnight GMT and our regular icons are back. In the hour between UK midnight and GMT midnight, we still had the trolls.

  3. Captain Hogwash

    Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

    A better description I once heard is corporate music for bed-wetters.

    1. Olivier2553 Silver badge

      Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

      music-for-people-who-don't-like-music is a weird concept: I don't like music, so I don't listen music and I don't need some music specifically to be created for me as I won't listen to it anyway.

    2. Gomez Adams

      Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

      Never understood the Coldplay hate. There music is much of a muchness with that of their contemporaries.

      1. Nick Kew
        Megaphone

        Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

        I couldn't even tell you if an annoying noise happened to be that particular perpetrator. Speaking as someone who does love music, I avoid pop in general: I concluded at age about 13 or so[1] I'd heard it (the generic pop formula) enough for one lifetime. Pop is for people who don't like music, because if you try to listen to it as music the total inanity will soon drive you up the wall.

        Damn, where's the Reg icon for soapbox?

        [1] About a year, give or take, after my mother acquired a radio and started playing Radio 2 - the BBC's monument to mindlessness. To her credit, she too later got fed up with it, and moved to real music.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

          "I concluded at age about 13 or so I'd heard it (the generic pop formula) enough for one lifetime."

          I usually come to that conclusion somewhere about the middle of the second bar of the intro or even earlier.

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

          because if you try to listen to it as music the total inanity will soon drive you up the wall

          Speaking as a confirmed Priog-head (from a *very* early age - my parents thought that pretty any much music made after 1890 was an abomination so I was entirely free to discover my own music) I don't object to Pop - it fills a niche for people who want simple repetitive music to dance to or seduce people to.

          It doesn't have any longer-lasting appeal and isn't designed to - it's designed to be throwaway music, made for people who don't appreciate the complexity of real[1] music. And that's fine - it's what they want, mostly because that's all they have ever known.

          It's a bit like the difference between a burger from a well-known franchise outlet - it seems tasty for a little while but then you realise that it's left a horrible taste in your mouth and you are about to die from clogged arteries - and a proper 3-4 course meal at a good restaurant. One gives you depth and complexity, the other gives you a bloated sugar/fat rush.

          [1] The only form of music that I *really* can't stand is opera[2] - lots of screeching and warbling destroying the hard work of the orchestra. So, while most of my collection is Prog of one sort or another, I also have folk, jazz (modern, big band and trad), classical. rock and even one or two rap/pop tracks.

          [2] There are a couple I like. But not Wagner - that needs to be consigned to the lowest circle of hell to torment the damned.

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

        "Never understood the Coldplay hate."

        Simple, they got popular. People hate bands that get popular (partly I think because shitty radio stations constantly play the same two songs until everyone is fed up), mainly because it's cool to hate the mainstream.

        Any of their contemporaries would have had the same reception if they'd not mostly slipped into blameless obscurity.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

          It's nothing to do with being popular, although the ubiquity of Chris Martin's whiny tones didn't do anything to lessen the level of aggravation caused by hearing them.

          My personal dislike for them stems from the combination of their bland monotony, and the fact that their front-man is an unbearably smug git with a Jesus complex.

          1. Korev Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

            Can U2 think of another frontman like that?

            1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

              Some geezer named after a dog biscuit wasn't it?

              1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

                Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

                Nah, you're thinking of "Bonio's on Fire" by another Irish band, The Stunning.

            2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

              Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

              Thing is U2 is much more of a rock band, rather than a pop band. Not all of their stuff, but a lot of the older catalog is proper dance around the room music*.

              The biggest issue (IMHO) with U2 is that some prat is singing over an otherwise perfectly good song. Not that Bono should STFU all the timea, he should just stick with ballads, and STFU on the rocking tracks :)

              Used to play U2 tunes (without vocals) and they are proper tasty. AC/DC are fun too, but they essentially only do three songs :D

              * my four year old refers to rock as "guitar music" when he wants us to dance to it

          2. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

            "It's nothing to do with being popular"

            Sure it is, you wouldn't even know his name if they weren't popular enough to be famous.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

        "There music is much of a muchness with that of their contemporaries."

        That's pretty much it. They're a bland, safe mainstream take on that sort of music.

        I remember when Coldplay hit it big and were being hyped up by the alleged critics. First time I heard "Yellow", I was like "This is what all the fuss is about?!"

        This- along with the hype for Damien Rice's bathetic "Cannonball"- was what finally stopped me caring about what the mainstream media deemed The Next Big Thing.

        Someone put their finger on Coldplay- at least in their early days- when they described them as an A&R man's version of Radiohead using "High and Dry" (#) as the basis for their career. (And- one assumes- not going on to record "difficult" albums like Kid A instead).

        Of course, they've moved on with musical trends since then, jumping on with a conservative take on what will keep them popular (e.g. increased number of collaboration/featuring tracks in recents years as has become common in chart music).

        A safe, commercially-friendly take on musical trends. The "Next" of rock bands.

        (#) One of the most commercial, but also weakest songs from "The Bends"- even they don't like it, apparently.

      4. Kiwi Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

        Never understood the Coldplay hate.

        Same. They did a couple of enjoyable tracks, and some not-too-bad stuff, and a pile of utter shite - but much the same as many other bands out there, and probably better than the average craptrack played ad-infinitum on the radio.

        Even my favourite bands are at least 25% stuff I only hear because they needed a certain amount of tracks on the album, and one or two good songs per album (Except for Rez's XX - but that was a concert album after 20 years of hard work, when they'd really improved their game. Then again, several of their other albums have at least 3 or 4 really good songs on them)

      5. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

        Never understood the Coldplay hate.

        It's similar to Phil Collins hate - successfuly musicians, made lots of dosh without being lary or in-your-face.

        I'm no fan of Coldplay but even I'd admit they work hard - even if Chris Martins' voice makes me want to stab needles in my eardrums..

        PC is a whole other woven container of piscines - he was an incredible drummer, great singer and (especially with Genesis) a great songwriter. Sure, he's had more wives than I've had hot meals but he's hardly unique in that - compare and contrast with the animated mummy known as Mick Jagger.

      6. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

        My local has various piss take items on their menu. They do a decent English and Irish breakfast.

        So the breakfast menu also has the Canadian breakfast: a pat on the back, two paracetamol and a pint of tap water

        They have a cocktail called "Coldplay's greatest hits".

        It's a pint of tap water.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

      Music for people who have a high boredom threshold.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

      Can we please stop calling it music? It's the whiny sound a 14 year old boy makes after their first break up accompanied with the sound of someone stepping on a cat passed through a filter to make it sound even more miserable if that's even possible.

      1. Patched Out

        Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

        Not to mention that all dynamics that might make it mildly interesting are squeezed out of it, because, you know, loud songs are better.

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: music-for-people-who-don't-like-music

          Not to mention that all dynamics that might make it mildly interesting are squeezed out of it, because, you know, loud songs are better.

          "Loud songs are better" is not the reason. In general audio tracks are compressed for two reasons:

          • To allow them to be played one after the other without the player having to adjust the volume level between tracks. This particularly affects compilations and any music sequence that is not a single album played in sequence, for example: a radio station, iTunes or any other music player "shuffle", spotify and so on...
          • To reduce periods of relative silence on the radio; "classical" radio stations are particularly vulnerable to this.

  4. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Ok, Twist my arm in 2004

    No, I don't think it's smart at this time... ok, I'll reboot Exchange 2003 in a clustered environment... cluster being the operative word!

  5. Steve Kerr

    The days of telex

    One company I was for (in my first job) at the end of the 80's had a lot of stuff connected up their Vax that handled the local applications + email.

    Said company had Vax wired up to the x29 network as it was (the joys of accessing yellow pages over x29, was amazing)

    Also, to the point, the Vax was also connected to the Telex network, so by generating an email with a certain address, you could send and receive telexes

    Telex terminals prohibited the use of certain character strings which were just not possible to type, not so the case of the text of an email sent out.

    So it came to pass that someone (manager) sending a telex via email on a Vax for some reason used a certain set of characters (unbeknown to anyone internally), that initiated a shutdown of the telex network in the south of England.

    BT tracked it back to us and were rather angry, we were also given a list of things that under no circumstances must be typed and sent via this method.

    Fun days!

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: The days of telex

      Like ~ Bye?

    2. Daedalus Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: The days of telex

      There was a time at the start of the 80's when telex (along with all other telecommunications) was still firmly under the thumb of those sensitive, versatile people at no-longer-GPO-but-still-bloody-useless-BT. Some bright spark in the USA invented a thing that might have been called "mail-drop" where you could modem into some central service location, identify your clatter box to the system and get all your messages printed expeditiously right in front of you. According to the article that described this, the hapless engineer charged with getting it to operate in the UK came up against all the usual jobsworths, chinless wonders, nitwits and ignoramuses. Apparently they didn't understand the "bodes".

      The punchline was that the US people had to figure out how to make it work over telex.

  6. Hopalong

    And todays date is......

    Title says it all......

    1. Captain Hogwash

      Re: And todays date is......

      I guess that's why all posts have the troll icon.

  7. Peter2 Silver badge

    The real question is, how well would modern systems deal with ~10 million concurrent visitors?

    Our company setup is not doing web trading beyond handing out quotes and is just hosted with 1&1, but I suspect that it wouldn't deal with more than a few thousand concurrent users before dying very horribly. Do we have any admins here for really large scale systems? And if so, how much load can you take on your systems?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      My back end can take a massive load.

      1. EVP Bronze badge

        How many concurrent users, approximately? Just asking.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          That's a very good question, and really it depends on how wide the pipe is.

    2. Daedalus Silver badge

      "The real question is, how well would modern systems deal with ~10 million concurrent visitors?"

      Based on the NHS fiasco, not well.

  8. red floyd

    Sounds almost like a Slashdotting to me

    n/t

  9. red floyd

    At least it wasn't Nickelback...

    If you play a Nickelback album backwards, you hear a message from Satan.

    If you play it forwards, it's even worse... you hear Nickelback.

    1. EVP Bronze badge

      Re: At least it wasn't Nickelback...

      Yeah, and the message when you play it backwards wobbles like this: ”Hi kids, it’s Satan here. Please don’t play this record forwards. It’ll harm you and, um, your closest ones. Thanks. Catch you later!”

  10. Mark 85 Silver badge

    That headline....

    The "breaks the internet" part.. arrrrgggggghhhhhh. Seems every yellow sheet news org uses it for whatever these days a clickbait. Then again, considering the timeframe... maybe it actually did.

  11. Andy Taylor

    But everything sounds like Coldplay now.. (well in 2005!)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtfNI6P7zDo

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "panic-bought the album"

    You'd think Coldplay fans would know better.

    The first track on their first album is Don't Panic.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020