Holy cow, I wrote a book!
Today I'm going to tell a story from 1996.
Why? Because I can.
One of the tests performed by
Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL)
was the NCT packet stress test
which had the nickname "Hell".
The purpose of the test was to flood a network card
with an insane number of packets, in order to see how it
handled extreme conditions.
It uncovered packet-dropping bugs, timing problems, all sorts
of great stuff.
Network card vendors used it to determine what size internal
hardware buffers should be in order to cover "all reasonable
network traffic scenarios".
It so happened that at the time this test had currency (1996 era),
the traffic on the Microsoft corporate network was approximately
1.7 times worse than the NCT packet stress test.
A card could pass the Hell test with flying colors,
yet drop 90% of its packets when installed on a computer
at Microsoft because the card simply couldn't keep up
with the traffic.
The open secret among network card vendors was,
"If you want your card to work with Windows, submit one card
to WHQL and send another to a developer on the
(This rule applied to hardware other than network cards.
I was "gifted" a sound card from a major manufacturer
and installed it on my main machine.
It wasn't long before I found and fixed a
crashing bug in their driver.)
[Raymond is currently on vacation; this message was pre-recorded.]