For some geeks, this was going to be a bigger day than even the release of the iPhone 3G. It was going to be the day where we were going to be able to download Firefox 3.0, the latest incarnation of The Only Browser That Matters, and the major window through which we view the virtual world.
For someone like me, whose entire life was changed 15 years ago when I first saw the .9 beta version of Netscape, a major new Web browser is like manna. Especially one as good as Firefox. And I’m not alone. I’m really really not alone. In fact, I’m so not alone that I am unable to to reach the Mozilla site to actually upgrade.
What makes this funny, of course, is that the Mozilla people explicitly invited this kind of chaos by turning the release into a publicity stunt. They wanted to set a Guinness world record for downloads, a category which currently doesn’t even exist.
This seems silly: given the fact that Firefox is a combination of free and well-engineered — not to mention possessing a built-in audience — why invite this kind of trouble? By explicitly asking for the record, they’ve now set off a chain of events that might actually ensure that they don’t get the number of downloads they were originally shooting for.
Perhaps they can instead set the record for the most frustrated web users in a single day.
This is what happens when you try to get millions of anything all together in the same place at the same time. Duh.
Sigh, I can only imagine that whoever is in charge of their servers had a fracking heart attack when he or she found out about this. And right now, you’ve got the marketing people going “I need just a little more bandwidth, Scotty” and the IT people going “She’s givin’ it all she can, Captin, I dinna think I ca’ give ya any more!”
Apple and AT&T had better be taking notes, especially if its true that they are going to force purchasers of the iPhone 3G to activate their new phones right there in the store. Because this? Is nothing compared to the potential chaos of July 11.
When I bought my iPhone — I was on vacation the weekend it came out, and just happened to stop and have have lunch a block from the Apple Store in San Luis Obispo, CA — it was as simple as this: I walked in, said “I’ll take that one,” and walked out a few minutes later. Then they came running after me, and made me pay for it, but that’s a whole other story.
In any event, I activated it at my leisure, not in the store, and I really liked that process. Activation adds a whole new wrinkle to the process and I’m guessing that noone is prepared to deal with the extra time that activation is going to take — especially if there are server problems. I guess we’ll find out an a few weeks.
Meanwhile, as far as Firefox 3 goes, I’m thinking that I’ll wait until tomorrow.