Tag Archives: Ghosts in the Machine

Computers don’t like Mondays Either

Back from Holiday and I have two emails (amongst many, of course). The first, to my personal address, is from a colleague notifying me of an error she encountered accessing a company Website for which I am responsible (and that when she tried to send it to my work address, it was bounced by the mail server). The second, to my work address, is from my boss, forwarding the original message I’d already received but which also included the bounce message.

Interestingly, both of these errors (a database connection error for the first, a 554 Relay Denied for the second) appear to have been transient and occurred around the same time this morning. This makes me think of the notion of Ghosts in the Machine – the idea that as software systems become increasingly complex and/or have been installed for a long time, they develop unexpected (emergent) behaviours that makes them seem temperamental; that they develop their own personalities.

Of course, it’s just a textbook case of anthropomophisation and could almost certainly be explained by something as mundane as a temporary spike in traffic, but you know, there is something strangely comforting in the thought that Computers don’t like Mondays Either.