As hundreds of thousands of households worldwide tapped into Netflix’s Squid Game last month, viewers may have taken something fairly extraordinary for granted. Netflix didn’t buckle under the unprecedented demand for the dystopian drama that would become its most successful title to date — even as other services have struggled to keep their products sturdy under less demanding circumstances.
When many of us fire up our favorite streaming services, we often bump into various fury-making problems: stuff freezes, controls don’t work, or the service crashes entirely. None of these are ideal, but all seem to have become a widely understood cost of cord-cutting. For example, Disney Plus crashed its very first day because its software couldn’t handle the demand (and then it buckled again under demand for WandaVision). HBO Max is so fundamentally broken that its own leadership has admitted that the app is a mess. Even Instagram, whose Stories feature makes it a kind of streaming service in its own right, crashes so frequently it’s started alerting its users when it’s borked. Streaming can be maddening!
“All parts should go together without forcing. You must remember that the parts you are reassembling were disassembled by you. Therefore, if you can’t get them together again, there must be a reason. By all means, do not use a hammer.” —IBM Manual, 1925