Mixmax’s launch in early 2015 was memorable for many reasons. For one, we had an inflatable llama. For another, we launched on ProductHunt to unprecedented demand. But perhaps a lesser known fact (not yet lost in the annals of Mixmax history) is that at our 2015 launch we also started an inside company joke that continues to this day. And it all began with the dreaded HTTP 503 error message.
The HTTP spec calls the 503 error “Service Unavailable,” although engineers might have a different, not-so-safe-for-work choice of words for it. But on Mixmax launch day in particular, HTTP 503 became a familiar sight to our customers as our servers struggled under the load of the new demand. We scrambled to put up a user-friendly error page, and as a result our designer chose the wording, “We’re experiencing heavy load”.
And maybe because humor is just the way we cope with stress, someone in the office was quick to joke, “Heavy load would make a great band name.”
In that moment, a tradition that’s lasted 6 years was born. Even today, when we hear a funny phrase—usually a technical one—we like to shout, “Add it to the list of band names!”. Here are highlights:
- Heavy Load. Our original HTTP 503 error page.
- Latent Godmode Cookie. An authentication cookie leftover from our early “sign in as user” internal administration tool.
- Fiber Zombies. An error message from node-fibers, a package we used prior to the introduction of async/await natively in Node.
- Dirty Yarn Lock File. Unsaved changes in a yarn.lock file.
- Harvested Iframes. Iframe execution is paused by the browser to preserve memory, sometimes causing bugs.
- The Daemon Divers. A team of Mixmax engineers investigating software daemons using up CPU resources.
- Turntable for Toddlers and Colorful Llamas. Phrases from a funny article about Mixmax.
- Deyarned Femurs. The process of moving @mixmaxhq/femur from Yarn to NPM.
- Parallelization Opportunities Hunters. A team of Mixmax Engineers optimized our codebase to run concurrently.
- Phantom Beast Bar. A bug in our Mixmax extension’s compose window bar (internally known as “the beast bar”).
- Elixir Bamboo Adapter. A reference to an email library named “bamboo” in the Elixir ecosystem.
- Postmortem on the Breach. A postmortem on a suspected (and later disproven) data breach.
- Existential Wranglers. A comment born from an engineering all hands meeting: “We are existentially wrangling with what a spec is.”
- Logan and the Dank Bugs. A weekly presentation hosted by our engineering manager Logan called “Bugs We Fixed This Week”
- Unparseable JSON Blobs. JSON structure with a syntax error.
Interested in joining a team with a fun culture and an endless supply of band names? Join us!