Today, from about 2:10 to 3:10 MT (by my calculations) my bluehost.com and hostmonster.com hosted websites were down.
Twitter provided some clues as to a power outage, and I searched for Blue Host’s headquarters and found the Salt Lake Tribune’s article about Provo, Utah’s massive power outage.
Within 1 hour, the sites were all back up, but tweeps around the country were ready to stage protests and transfer hosts as a result.
I don’t know how old WordPress bloggers are, but I still remember the days when I had to put two 5.25 inch disks in my IBM XT computer to boot it up, which took several minutes. I had to swap out the data disk with the applications disk to save my work. The only way to communicate with someone rapidly was via FAX machine, which required typing a letter on a typewriter, printing it and then dialing a number. In other words, compared to the 21st century, it was like having to send all your communications via Morris code on a telegraph machine.
We have such HUGE expectations in our new computerized era of how things should work. Mostly, we want it fast, and we want it NOW! And if we don’t get it now, we feel tremendously frustrated and put out, even when we’re paying less than 1/3 the price for a shared hosting plan than we would have a decade ago.
I’m grateful for power outages. They remind me of the reality of this physical world unconnected by fiber optics and electrical grids. I spent three weeks in West Africa last year, where the Internet speed was 2 kbps. Twitter.com wouldn’t even load. I could tweet via my cell phone but could not access Twitter’s home page or any of its settings pages, making it impossible for West Africans to even set up a Twitter account.
The night I landed in Accra, Ghana, I was driven to my friend’s house, where the street and courtyard were in complete darkness. I was led to a room lit by a single candle and told, “It’s lights out.” “Lights out” was expected in Accra and there were no backup generators. The electricity just inexplicably goes out city wide a few times a month. People hang out and talk and dance a lot more than they do here, maybe because they aren’t always plugged in.
Today, via Twitter, I was able to ascertain within minutes what was happening with Blue Host, and by the time I got around to reaching my client’s whose sites are hosted on Blue Host via phone, the sites were back up.
Maybe we should use power outrages as an opportunity for real down time — get offline for a short while, take a walk, smell the spring blossoms, and just “be” for awhile. After all, we’ve got it pretty damn good compared to other countries and the days of the first PCs, and maybe we don’t need to have all our needs gratified instantaneously all day long.
In the past, we put up with all kinds of outages and breakages and shortages. It was something to be expected from life. Things don’t always work, and the power sometimes goes out. Time to chill.
Happy blogging! May the force be with you and your backup generators never fail.