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Connected devices could have their own connected channels . Dedicated channels could also serve as a backbone for devices to communicate in case of emergencies . That way, one network can still stay up if the other one becomes overloaded, so that millions of people streaming a popular video won’t get in the way of a tsunami alert or a 911 call .


The first web server on the World Wide Web was a NeXT workstation (a NeXTcube) used by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN. The document resting on the keyboard is a copy of Information Management: A Proposal, which was Berners-Lee’s original proposal for the World Wide Web.J


If we're going to be building truly resilient technology, we need to borrow a page from the past—where technologies were made with very low failure rates, or had enough edge cases accounted for in the design Edge cases are unpredictable problems that arise at extremes For instance, a running shoe might work well on typical pavement, but melt on track material on very hot summer days Oftentimes edge cases are discovered after products are launched In the worst circumstances, they may cause recalls . In June 2006, a Dell laptop burst into

$ Photo by Coolcaesar ( (GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3 .0 (http://creativecommons . org/licenses/by-sa/3.i)), via Wikimedia Commons .

CALM TECHNOLOGY flames* during a technical conference in Japan . The issue was a defective battery prone to overheating . This prompted a worldwide recall oflaptops that contained the battery, but not before six other people reported flaming machines . Edge cases are a fact of life for all products . They might be difficult to predict, but there are some ways to lessen the blow. If possible, involve industry veterans in your project and have them help think through various edge cases and ways that the software or hardware could go wrong . Chances are, they’ve seen it all before . With their help, a crisis or uncomfortable situation could be prevented


The partially peeled off label on the NeXTcube reads: “This machine is a server. DO NOT POWER IT DOWN!!” If this computer was turned off during the early days (when this was the lone web server), it would take down everything available on the Web.1

If we’re making devices that absolutely need to work, then we can’t use the same development methods we’ve become accustomed to today. We need to go back to older, more reliable methods of building systems that do not fail

COBOL was the first widely used high-level programming language for business applications . Although many people consider the language to be old news today, it is worth noting that:

§ “Dell Laptop Explodes in Flames,” 2006. ( explodes-in-flame:)

^ Credit: Ibid .

  • 70-75% of the business and transaction systems around the world run on COBOL. This includes credit card systems, ATMs, ticket purchasing, retail/POS systems, banking, payroll systems, telephone/cell calls, grocery stores, hospital systems, government systems, airline systems, insurance systems, automotive systems, and traffic signal systems.
  • 90% of global financial transactions are processed in COBOL.

COBOL may be complex to write, but the systems that use it run most of the time .

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