. .


The Long Arm of Legacy Systems

March 18, 2011 8:48:23.295

Sometimes, a seemingly inocuous decision has long shadows. Consider the rolling blackouts in Japan - which are exacerbated by choices made well over a century ago:

The AEG equipment produced electricity at Europe's 50Hz (hertz, or cycles per second) standard while the General Electric gear matched the U.S. 60Hz standard. That probably didn't seem important at the time -- after all, light bulbs are happy on either frequency -- but the impact of those decisions is being seen today. All of eastern Japan, including Tokyo and the disaster-struck region to the north, is standardized on 50Hz supply while the rest of the country uses 60Hz.

Without enough changing stations (they only have enough to handle 1 GW), they can't share power across that divide. Makes you wonder how many "we really ought to update this" meetings took place over the last century that ended with "nah, we have other priorities right now". Now relate that sort of thing to wherever you work and the legacy systems you have lying around. Less critical to be sure, but still....

Technorati Tags: , ,

posted by James Robertson

 Share Tweet This