Updated Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Packet

There's a month left before the wedding and we're scrambling to get everything up and running and ready.

Invitations have finally gone out and the RSVPs are trickling back.

I love the concept of technology making something tedious much easier for everyone involved - especially adding the ability to send out animated invitations. However, that said, I'm not really a fan of junk mail protocols right now.

Several times, while testing to make sure that our email would be received, I found that no matter what I tried, I had about a 30% 'Junk' failure rate. I'm not sure why this happened only that - for some reason or another - the exact same email would end up being shuffled off to Junk mail where it was perfectly fine the time before.

Now, I tried all sorts of investigations into this, I thought I was sending them too fast so I stopped and gave larger breaks in between sends, no dice. Didn't matter, whatever criteria it was using, it would randomly decide that 3 of every 10 emails would be junk mail.

As the night wore on, and our burning desire to get the invites out the door raged, we finally decided to say 'screw it' and send them anyway.

Which, of course, means that the very first person I ask about it says "What invite?".

Yes folks, not only did the invite not make it to their Inbox - it didn't make it to their junk box either.

You know, just to be funny.

I go over their email addy with them - yep, I spelled it right. They re-check their junk mail. Nope, nothing.

Hrmm... that's not good.

Of course now I find myself looking at the RSVP list and wondering 'who else didn't get theirs'?

I'm sure this is probably the same sort of feeling that one might get when a snail-mail invite goes awry. And maybe that's just how technology works that -- no matter how advanced we get-- we have to make allowances for the fact that there just might be some cracks in them there intertube thingies.

We have to accept that things happen.

And that, sometimes, that perky li'l Packet you just sent out -- satchel full of pies and school books and Grandma's kisses -- just takes that Left turn.

You know the one. The Creepy Left turn.

Sometimes it's jaunting away (as packets are wont to do) and it's humming the ghostly echo of a long-deleted MP3 when it trips over a the remnants of an ancient firewall; sent careening downward into the gaping maw of oblivion.

Maybe it reboots to find itself far from the streaming hum of the router's fiber-optic switcher.

Far from home, far from The Sender.

Maybe it sits there, sad, scared -- lost in the DarkNet below as veridian and crimson eyes twinkle just out of range. Maybe it shies away from the long slender talon that beckons, maybe it cringes, terrified of the the massive digital Wyrm that writhes upon itself in the blackness; The empty husks of battered code sloughing off and tinkling to the floor of its lair.

And maybe it is there, in that nothingness, that our young friend - our Packet - finds the strength to run from the powerful beast; Clutching pies and streaming data behind it, Packet surges forward into the binary erebus ahead, the creature's hungry roar echoing behind.

Steam (or Battle.net) billows from its tendril-like lungs, pushing its encrypted scales forward. Our hero leaps to the side as the behemoth snaps at its back - just missing the satchel, causing our little friend to cry out - panting now, tiring fast.

Off in the distance a flicker of hope for the breathless one: an errant Ping request -- a streak of light, trapped, bouncing along the darkened sky, searching for its escape.

The monstrosity's tail slams home, demolishing the crumbling towers of Web 1.0 and grazing the top of Packet's glowing 'head'. Yet it is undeterred -- and with hope lying only pixels away Packet digs deep, calling on subroutines it never knew it had, begging The Sender above for any help.

But it trips.

Skidding and sliding and flipping across the broken wasteland of Javascript and Perl and Python, our Packet lies, dazed. The Wyrm arches over its prone body, Torrents of hungry drool raining down, waiting, savouring the moment - the feast to come.

And yet a soft white glow blinks off to the side - tired, panting, it struggles to resolve the connection, threatening to time out.

The iridescent light flickers, fading - and as the massive dragon slams home the packet reaches out, grabbing hold of the simmering glow.

"01000011011011110110110101100101001000000110111101101110
0010000100100000010010010010000001101011011011100110111
10111011100100000011101000110100001100101001000000111011
1011000010111100100100001".
(Translate)

The ground below blisters by, dithering away as Ping gathers height and speed. Clutching tight to its streaking mane, Packet points the way back. Points the way home.

Screeching as flaming Bits streak past them, that familiar roar now tinged fury instead of hunger. Its massive wings flap as its undulating body soars behind, gaining fast. Ping quivers, flipping and barrel-rolling away from the assault.

The crevasse looms ahead, approaching fast -- the streaking blue light of the network above beckoning them onward.

Spiraling up, Packet ducks, clinging to Ping as they squeeze through the opening, bursting into the heavy traffic lane as the monster slams into the barrier - unable to penetrate its reinforced SSL shell.

Tearing off, away from the anguished crimson and veridian eyes, Ping deftly joins the stream as Packet whoops with triumph. Together they weave into the flow, gaining speed until streaks of cirulean blur and fade behind them.

Soon they come to a stop at a massive arch, Packet has made it. Landing at its base, Packet dismounts from Ping - clutching its satchel, peeking inside, afraid of what it will find.

Eye widening, incredulous, pies are produced and held aloft. Ping glimmers and takes to the sky, the rush and whir of traffic beckoning...

Waving as Ping soars ever higher, Packet smiles, turns and walks through the Archway.

And somewhere, in a place much larger than we can imagine, in a land of synapse and sinew - a message arrives.

Junk (1)

Cheers,
Brandon

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