This past holiday season has not been especially merry for the UK electronics retailer Dixons. According this story in the Daily Mail, because of continuing problems with its new e-commerce system, "many customers were unable to place orders online on the Currys, PC World and Dixons [owned] websites between December 26 and 28."

Boxing Day - the 26th and a big UK "shopping holiday" - was when Dixons launched its huge after-Christmas sale.

As a result of the computer-related problems, the company announced yesterday that it had lost some £15 million in revenue that it had expected. In addition, Dixons said that the severe winter weather in the UK caused roughly a £20 million hit to revenues as well.

Interestingly, some analysts seemed to believe the e-commerce glitch for the revenue hit more than the bad weather. While winter weather hit a lot of UK retailers, it apparently affected Dixons more than others analysts thought.

However, traders didn't seem to care why revenue sank: shares in Dixons fell by 10 percent on the news.

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
An illustration of a series
Carl De Torres

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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