Sunday, August 8th, 2004

I went to my brother’s favorite aggregated site this morning–Metafilter–and lo and behold:


…it wasn’t having a good Sunday morning. And I may be imagining it, but a lot more of the heavily-hit sites, from Slashdot to Google, have been having their no funcionar kind of moments lately.

And when they don’t show up, I ask myself “Okay, denial of service attack? Someone forgot to close a bracket? Power hit? Act of terror?”

It’s generally hard to tell. And generally, there isn’t an available explanation after they return to service.

And inasmuch as broadband internet is a utility in our house just like water and gas, it’s kind of like the ceiling fan switch in the living room doesn’t work for a moment, and then later, it does. Ghosts? Gremlins? Funny how we think about reliability and “always-on”-ness.

A few weeks ago, a powerful thunderstorm with lightning scored a direct hit on the uplink facilities for CNN and other Turner networks (2.8 miles due west of our house, by the way) and CNN’s audio feed to the satellite(s) was out for, I forget, 15 minutes or so. Amazingly, their ratings numbers held up–even beating MSNBC at that particular moment.

That interruption was big news, though, and reporters demanded a statement from CNN’s spokespeople. Hey, something blew. Happens all the time…or it used to, in the land of television. Now, with their multiply-redundant systems, it’s rare that the big networks just aren’t there…if something does fail, more often than not we suspect (and blame) the local cable companies, who do nothing to earn our trust by hiding behind voicemail trees and customer service people far removed from the folks who actually go out and reset the breakers and fire up the crashed servers.

We had a power hit at the house this morning, too…the kind of off, then on, then off, then on hit that really plays havoc with solid state equipment. Froze up my G5 solid and knocked Sammy’s machine off. Darn you, Georgia Power.