Over the past 48 hours, two venerable British institutions have been hit by I.T. snarl-ups. Yesterday saw the London Stock Exchange suspend trading for a few hours due to connectivity issues, while this morning it was revealed that the BBC's news department had a complete nightmare on Wednesday, with one newsreader resorting to reading her script off her iPhone. Fans of Little Britain might recall just what happens when "Computer Says No."
The LSE's Chief Executive Xavier Rolet said that he regretted the inconvenience, but, "having resolved the immediate issue, we are working hard to ensure this doesn't happen again ahead of switching to Millennium IT's trading platform next year." Erk. (Does anyone else think that the name Millennium IT has unfortunate connontations, given the hysteria a decade ago over the Millennium Bug?)
Two days ago, Radio 3 newsreader Alison Rooper arrived at Broadcasting House in London to find an engineer waiting for her with the understatement — how British — of the century. "Everything had gone," she recalled him saying, "and Television Centre was in rather a state." With no phone lines and no internet connection, Rooper resorted to reading the script from her iPhone.
"The words were reasonably clear," she said today, "but I tried tipping the phone sideways so that the writing becomes bigger, and then I lost the whole sentence."