Tweeters Crash Olympic Cycling Coverage

Tweeters Crash Olympic Cycling Coverage

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The BBC's Olympics commentary went awry when social media spiked its GPS service.

If you've been following the Olympics obsessively you may have noticed some confusion during the Men and Women's cycling competitions. The television commentators didn't seem to know what to do with themselves, when a GPS failure kept them from reporting live on the race. The International Olympic Committee has since identified the culprit as Twitter, and asks users to please only send urgent Tweets while the competition is on.

According to the Committee it was a sudden spike in Twitter use that overloaded the system and caused the communication breakdown, which prevented GPS data from reaching the commentators. What made it doubly unfortunate was that, as the problems began to interfere with coverage, angry viewers started Tweeting about the lack of coverage and that further added load to an already overworked system. Fortunately this did not affect race timing, as the cyclists' GPS signals were collected by separate fixed timing units at the start, finish and midway points of the race.

"Of course," a Committee spokesman said, "if you want to send something, we are not going to say 'Don't, you can't do it', and we would certainly never prevent people ... It's just - if it's not an urgent, urgent one, please kind of take it easy." The IOC spokesman said one oversubscribed network in particular was to blame, and that the problem was being worked on.

In preparation for the Games BT, the official Olympic telecom provider, has laid enough extra cable to stretch a line between London and New York. This still isn't enough to protect the network against sudden spikes in demand. Incidentally, for those who wish to follow the IOC or the BBC you may do so via Twitter.

Source: Guardian

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Wait ... GPS & Twitter go along how?

Sis:
Wait ... GPS & Twitter go along how?

I'd assume the commentators were being fed the GPS data over the internet. Mind you, I would love to know just how many tweets it takes to cause that kind of service interruption. It sounds completely ridiculous when you think about it for more than a few seconds.

I didn't know Blizzard ran Twitter.

Wait, there are URGENT tweets?!

Must've been a hell of a lot of tweets.

Are those guys serious? It's not rocket surgery to set up simple traffic shaping so that random users' traffic absolutely *can't* overflow available bandwidth, and to prioritize important traffic, such as their precious GPS data. I learned that when I was still in high school. I guess their network "professionals" are about as good as their security hiring staff.
And I won't even go into the fact that it is universally bad practice to put important network traffic and "garbage" traffic on one physical link. Not if the important traffic really is important.

mruuh:
Are those guys serious? It's not rocket surgery to set up simple traffic shaping so that random users' traffic absolutely *can't* overflow available bandwidth, and to prioritize important traffic, such as their precious GPS data. I learned that when I was still in high school. I guess their network "professionals" are about as good as their security hiring staff.
And I won't even go into the fact that it is universally bad practice to put important network traffic and "garbage" traffic on one physical link. Not if the important traffic really is important.

Once again, you expect people who have never been tech savvy to be great at doing this in the first olympics where everyone and their dog has a twitter account.

I also find it amusing that they say you should refrain unless you have an urgent tweet. What the fuck is an urgent tweet?

How could they not expect this to happen?
People have twitter all over the world and there are more countries in this Olympics than the UN! Having your GPS on the same server is a little daft.

FoolKiller:
Once again, you expect people who have never been tech savvy to be great at doing this in the first olympics where everyone and their dog has a twitter account.

No, but given the funding a high-prestige event such as Olympic Games must have gotten, I would expect them to hire someone who is.

FoolKiller:
I also find it amusing that they say you should refrain unless you have an urgent tweet. What the fuck is an urgent tweet?

"I'm off 2 bathroom. Want me 2 grab beer on my way?" - Anything regarding bathroom and/or beer is urgent. :)

Here's an idea. Instead of just asking people to not tweet (which by the way is probably the worst idea they could've come up with), how about you maybe... NOT have your GPS and Twitter account related to each other... like at all.

Karloff:
...Incidentally, for those who wish to follow the IOC or the BBC you may do so via Twitter.

Heh heh, fave part of the article :D

Must have been a fuck-load of tweets

oh now you tell us that we are allowed to say what we want. i always thought we were only allowed to say how great the ioc, the games and all the corporate sponsors are.

Blunderboy:
Wait, there are URGENT tweets?!

For when you need to tweet an ambulance or the police?

ah the bandwidth crunch is starting to hit. it will be a year or two more and this will be common place

shinsei-J:

Blunderboy:
Wait, there are URGENT tweets?!

For when you need to tweet an ambulance or the police?

Don't be daft, that's what facebook is for.

Sounds like the first excuse within arms reach.

DVS BSTrD:
I didn't know Blizzard ran Twitter.

Well done, I laughed so hard Coke came out my nose.

Seriously though? It seems like it would be obvious to have separate systems for the GPS and Twitter. Although I would love to see some statistics how many it took to mess with the system.

exactly how does this work? was twitter using up their bandwidth or something? and since when does sending tweet eat up bandwidth? o.O'

Blunderboy:

shinsei-J:

Blunderboy:
Wait, there are URGENT tweets?!

For when you need to tweet an ambulance or the police?

Don't be daft, that's what facebook is for.

While the police keep a close eye on FB I believe ambulances prefer twitter.

 

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