When I was in grade 5 we had this supply teacher one day. Our regular teacher was a strict bible-thumper beat you with a stick type, so we had high hopes for good hijinx. Somehow through that adolescent shared vision model, we all agreed to drop our pencils precisely at 10am, the idea being it would create a great sound on our portable classroom floor.
We expected a laugh. We instead go the privilege of writing out 5 dictionary pages at lunch hour.
AT&T is now facing the same sort of prank. There is a call to have everyone rev up their mobile data devices at noon on friday. Operation Chokehold is on @ noon pacific. A site called 'fake steve' is suggesting it.
What could the prank accomplish? Well, networks are highly oversubscribed. They are designed for the expected peak-normal traffic. My grade 5 classroom didn't fall to bits from pencils falling, and its unlikely AT&T will catch fire. But it could make things miserable for the people on the network for an hour or so. Its more like '@ 10 stab your neighbour with your pencil'.
One suggestion I theorised with a customer was, what if somewhat wrote a truly malicious application. It worked sort of like a seti@home where it ran in the background and it gave something of value to people when they saw their internet connection idle. Perhaps it would be a reward points system for who sent the most bandwidth, and the top 5 each month got a prize. This would cost the consumer nothing, the application provider nothing, and would wreck every residential ISP in the world. Whenever your machine went idle it would transmit and receive at full rate from others in the network.
The internet is a shared medium, and requires all parties to have a common interest in making it work. Providers, applications, consumers. When it was created, this shared interest was obvious, everyone knew everyone by name. Today, i have not introduced myself to most of my Internet neighbours. I'm sure they're nice.
So, eyes peeled for 12PST friday for AT&T pencil drop.