The web has fundamentally changed since the days of HTML 4.01. The number of people with an internet connection has skyrocketed; recent estimates say that nearly 40% of the world’s population is now online. Bandwidth has also increased dramatically. Even cell phone connections are many times faster and more reliable than those original dial-up connections. Today, browsers are everywhere—phones, tablets, game consoles, televisions, watches, and soon, weird-looking glasses.
Deep in the middle of the night, illuminated by the glow of five screens full of graphs, data, code, and live video, I sat on edge, as I monitored a small army of servers. The O Music Awards, a 24-hour, live-streamed music and awards festival in New York City, was in full swing.
Sometime after 3am, I saw the first warning sign of a major issue—a slight uptick in an otherwise-flat graph. Over the next few seconds, it grew to a huge spike, and I alerted the team that we had a problem. Thanks to some well-configured caching, the homepage and live streams were unaffected, which meant a large majority of users didn’t even know we were having an issue. But, the failures were going to cause errors during voting, and a few other pages on the site were going to crash. The situation wasn’t great, but the mission-critical things were still working properly.
Devices come in all shapes and sizes—from iPhones, to the massive Galaxy Note, to the tall-but-skinny Nexus 7, to 10-inch iPads, and massive, 30-inch displays.
On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the Moon. A few hours later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the lunar surface—the first time humans set foot on another planetary body. The astronauts were explorers. Yet, if they did not share their experiences, their expedition would have provided no meaningful benefits to anyone but themselves. True exploration isn’t just going somewhere or doing something new; it is experiencing something new and communicating that back to those who care.