Archive for the ‘The Internet’ Category


Friday, June 6th, 2008

The network connection to the datacenter in Houston, TX, has been up most of the time.  It was quite slow yesterday morning but was back to normal speed by noon-time. 

There was another e-mail issue (resolvers stopped working), but I was able to work around that thanks to a support forum post by another customer with the same problem, who had compiled a list of which resolvers were working and which were not.  So, e-mail began flowing again and it’s still going this morning (good sign!).

About 7:00 AM the network in the datacenter went down again because of some problems with the generator that they have powering the datacenter right now.  They had that fixed within a couple hours, although about 1/3 of the servers are still down.  Our server, thankfully, is in the 2/3 that are up.

God is good, all the time.

E-mail working again

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Thanks to some geeks who did work finding out which resolvers were working and which were not, I was able to find ones that worked for the Baptist Ministries server, so e-mail is runn ing again.  Many of the ones that the host previously told us were working and available for our use simply were not working.  I’m assuming there are some firewall, overload, or network issues somewhere.  Anyway, I’m glad to have e-mail working again.

Data center explosion

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Hear a description of the explosion at the Houston, TX, data center in the words of the company’s CEO:

Explosion Audio (MP3)

What a weekend!

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

There was an explosion Saturday afternoon at a data center in Houston, TX.  Something in the power supply room went, taking three walls of the room with it.  In a split second, 9500 web servers shut down.

Many of the servers in this data center are used by web hosting companies, and can have 200, 300, 500, or more sites hosted on one computer.  Plus, one set of servers there controlled the DNS for 90,000 other web sites.   Nobody knows how many web sites went dark in that instant, but it could have been upward toward 1,000,000.

 The data center staff and independent contractors worked around the clock to restore service, gradually bringing one rack of servers after another online beginning early this morning.  DNS still looks like a mess.

We had one server down for the weekend because it was in the affected data center.  Our main server, however, was still on-line, although the DNS issues stopped e-mail from working.  I worked on the issues straight through (except for church Sunday and 90 minutes of sleep Monday morning) until I finally got e-mail working by Monday morning.  Then, I stayed up Monday to monitor the servers to make sure nothing else went wrong while the teams at the datacenter were were working to stabilize the situation.  Monday night couldn’t come soon enough.

It just so happened that yesterday (June 1) was the day that my family began the transition from supporting our ministry here in Maine and on the Internet via commercial web development work, to making it a faith-supported ministry.  And our missionary web site through which people could support our ministry was in the data center where the explosion occurred.

But, God new that this explosion would occur on the day He wanted us to begin our transition, so we’re not worried about it.

And, we had a great day at church yesterday.  I preached from Matthew 6 (”no man can serve two masters…”), relating it to Joshua (”As for me and my house …”) and Elijah (”Why halt ye between two opinions?  If the Lord be God, serve Him!”).

When Christians Spam

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

This has bugged me for a long time.

 I get about 600 spam messages per day to my various e-mail addresses.  Most of them get caught and eliminated by the junk mail filters in Thunderbird, but about 10% of them get through.  And, even though my e-mail client filters out the bulk of them, I still have to wait while they are all downloaded.

This is such a waste of time — and time is at a premium for me, as it probably is for you.  Between the web sites, the church, the ministry, personal study and prayer, and the family, there isn’t any “extra” time, so when something takes more time than it ought to, that time has to come from one of the these areas.

 Every time I get junk mail, the person who sent the junk mail has stolen time from my on-line ministry, the church, my off-line ministry, my personal prayer and study time, or my family.

But this isn’t just a rant against spammers.  I expect the world to behave that way.  I expect the world to try to steal my time and my money.  I expect the world to try to hinder my ministry and attack my family.

What I didn’t expect was for Christians to do it.  I don’t know why I didn’t expect it — Christians today have such a casual attitute morality, ethics, and character, that it is not at all uncommon to see Christians behaving, talking, singing, and looking just like the rest of the world.

 My bubble was burst about 18 months ago, when there was a sudden surge in spam … from Christians.  It wasn’t just the fact that it was from Christians, but that it was specifically from Baptists.  One in particular even had the gall to send me a “thank you” note for joining their e-mail list.

When one of these people send out a junk mailing, I get about ten or twelve copies of it because so many of my e-mail addresses are on junk mail lists.  The Christian spam comes mostly to support e-mail addresses that could only have been obtained by harvesting them from my web site (then sold to anyone with a nickel).

I can understand sending e-mail messages to people who have subscribed to your mailing list.  I can even understand sending periodic messages to people who have joined your web site or shopped at your store, as long as you give them a change to opt out with every e-mail.  In all of these cases, there is a pre-existing relationship between you and the person receiving the e-mail.  As long as that pre-existing relationship exists and you provide a way to opt-out with every mailing, I don’t see a problem with bulk mailings and am not personally offended at receiving them.

However, it’s an entirely different matter  when someone pruchases or rents a harvested list and blasts 10,000 or 100,000 e-mails out to people on the list.  Christians should know better — yet the junk mails keep on coming.  And my time keeps getting stolen.

 I’ll talk some more about this in a few days …