The 500 Mile Email Limit

If you're in our business for any length of time, you accumulate a number of amusing stories. Most of them are in-jokes that outsiders wouldn't get or find funny.

One of my favorite such stories concerns a problem with email recounted by Trey Harris. At the time Harris was working as a system administrator at MIT (I think) and the Chairman of the Statistics Department called saying they had a problem with email. When Harris queried him on what the problem was, he was told that they couldn't send any emails further than slightly more than 500 miles. Harris' reaction was pretty much what yours or mine would be: he didn't believe it. That is, until he ran his own tests and discovered it was really happening.

Before you follow the link and read what was going on, try to imagine what the problem was. I must admit, I sure didn't know when I first read the story. It's one of those things that seems impossible until you read the explanation.

I'm glad someone posted the story again. I haven't seen it in years and it definitely deserves to be read and enjoyed by geeks everywhere.

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