What started as a joke for a 24-year-old computer engineer is now a legitimate website to track down broken ice cream machines at McDonald’s outlets across the United States. Rashiq Zahid, a reverse engineer, visited McDonald’s in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district one day in hopes of getting ice cream. When he tried to order ice cream from the touchscreen kiosk, it showed that no ice cream was available. He tried to do this from the McDonald’s app but was still out of luck.
“I love browsing through different apps and just looking at the security features and internal APIs,” Zahid told The Verge. “I know quite well how to reverse engineer apps.” Zahid created a bot and created an API that attempted to add a McSundae from each McDonald’s location to his cart once per minute. Shortly after, he was blocked by the app which recognized that it was the work of a bot.
Zahid then changed the time frame and set it to add a sundae from each McDonald’s outlet every 30 minutes. If the bot successfully adds the item, it lets McBroken know that the location machine is working. If not, the location gets a red dot, according to sources who have confirmed the method’s authenticity to The Verge.
So now, when users visit mcbroken.com, they see a map of each McDonald’s location in the US, indicated by groups of dots. Places with a working ice cream machine get a green dot and those without one get a red dot. The columns on the right side show the statistics of the broken ice cream machines in the United States.
Zahid first tested the bot in Germany by cycling through 1500 locations where McDonald’s placed orders manually. When he saw positive results he thought about expanding the site to the States.
Zahid told the publication that he was running McBroken on a server that cost him $ 5 a month. He started McBroken just for fun, but within 20 minutes of its launch, the website crashed because it had 10,000 visitors. However, after downloading some traffic, Zahid noticed that the site is now working perfectly.
A 24-year-old computer engineer launched a website, McBroken, which helps users track down broken McDonald’s ice cream machines in the United States.
- Rashiq Zahid created a website to track broken ice cream machines in McDonalds in the United States.
- Zahid first tested the bot in Germany by cycling through 1500 locations where McDonald’s placed orders manually.
- The green dots on mcbroken.com represent McDonald’s with working ice cream machines.