Packet Gnomes

The other morning I got the following question from a reader:

     I have created a client-server application in C# using asynchronous socket methods [… blah blah blah, a long description of a scenario in which the socket misses packets under certain conditions]

My reply was that I believe networks are run by tiny “packet gnomes” who move the packets around on your behalf. Wireless networks are run by “packet fairies”, who can fly. When I have to debug a network problem usually I either leave cookies out for the gnomes, or I call in a friend who has less magical/more scientific beliefs about networks.

Readers: if you have a question about something I actually know about — design and implementation of programming language tools, the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien, sailing small craft, piano repair, and so on — I’m happy to consider it. But there is really very little point asking me about anything else, since odds are good that I am far less clueful on the subject than you already are.

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