Gene and I are both active conversationalists, and we're also often struck by the same thing someone says. So, we often get into a situation where we both begin to talk at nearly the exact same time. Now, both of us try to react in as polite a manner as possible, but that doesn't exactly solve the problem. I will wait for him to talk, while he waits for me to talk, and then we'll both say, "Go ahead" at the same time, and then there's another pause, and it's just terrible.

So, Gene hit upon a solution to the problem. There is a protocol called CSMA/CD, which stands for Carrier Sense Multiple Access / Collision Detection. CSMA/CD comes into play when devices try to use the same data channel at the same time. When such a collision occurs, they choose a random interval to wait (which uses the Truncated Binary Exponential Backoff Algorithm, before trying to connect again. Gene saw an analogue to our own conversational collisions, and decided that CSMA/CD could be a solution to our problems.

Whenever we began talking a the same time, instead of apologizing to each other for interrupting, we would simply say, "CSMA/CD", and each of us would then wait a few seconds to begin speaking again. If we re-interrupted each other, it was "CSMA/CD" again, and a longer wait. With CSMA/CD on our side, awkward conversational moments would be a thing of the past, and smooth conversational data transfer would be the order of the day. That is, until we first tried it.

Gene and I were both at a party. Probably Gene was probably explaining something, and I was telling a story about a precocious child with a speech impediment. Nurse V said something, and Gene and I both replied at the same time.

"You know..." said Gene.

"That reminds me of..." I said.

We paused, pointed at one another, and said, "CSMA/CD!" But before we could wait the designated random interval, another guest wondered what the hell we were doing. We answered simultaneously.

"Do you know how a computer network...>" began Gene.

"Well, CSMA/CD is an acronym for..." I started.

We paused.

"Go ahead," we both said. We paused again. "CSMA..." we began, and then faltered. Gene and I looked at one another, then turned and walked out of the room in opposite directions.

"Those guys are nerds", thought everybody.


you guys are SUCH nerds - but that's why we love you.


I don't know why Gene likes CSMA/CD so much. As a protocol it pretty much sucks, which is why people have to spend shitloads of money on switches.

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