Page 1 of 2 Outage

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 4:44 am
by Frank Sanns
Many of you probably saw that was down for nearly a day on the 27th. It was due to the upgrading of software by the hosting company. To complicate matters, I was on the road and did not have a secure connection to get into the database easily. When I did, it was futile. Paul finally got some action by the host company and we are now all patched up but not totally fixed up.

I hate software updates especially unannounced and required ones. The timing seems never to be good and the bugs that can occur can be devastating as in our case. We did not lose the database but we did have tens of thousands of failed connections from all of the users.

Some of you have heard my rant on technology and here goes again. We are not always better off with technology. There are apps for everything these days. More places for bugs, security vulnerabilities, more menu systems to learn and on and on. Hell even my new smart TV takes 15 seconds to boot and even crashes on more occasions than I find acceptable. We have regressed back to a time where productivity is worse than it was before smart phones and computers. We wait for the machines and are slaves to the machines. We waste our time doing updates and learning the new idiosyncrasies of software after software.

Computers are tools to make our lives better and simpler. Somewhere, we lost our way. I would take a 2nd generation smartphone and and a moderately old OS any day over this frequent update, constantly changing that seems to occur daily. I have no time for the chase. We have work to do. End of rant.

Re: Outage

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 5:53 am
by Bob Reite
Ah! I'll bet it was because you got upgraded to PHP 7.0. I run a phpBB forum and had to upgrade to the latest to make it play nicely with the latest version of php. There are security reasons for the update.

Re: Outage

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:48 am
by Richard Hull
I have five computers in the house and all but one have never and will never see the internet. The one connected to the internet is still using XP and doing just fine. When they stopped upgrading it, it is stable for all time now. No bugs, no upgrades and on line. The other 4 computers are windows 7 and isolated and proof against upgrades and hurtful internet intrusions.

Richard Hull

Re: Outage

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 2:33 pm
by Paul_Schatzkin
So, yeah...

As Frank explained above, Media Temple upgraded something on their servers. The upgrade included some factor that invalidated the passwords to access the database, and since those passwords were invalid, the database became inaccessible. Net effect, no for almost 24 hours.

When I spoke to Media Temple Friday evening - and expressed my displeasure at the manner of their implementation - I was informed that an advisory re: the update had been posted somewhere on their website. I guess the idea of sending out an email alert never occurred to them. Not that I would have seen it..

In any event after some.... ummm... verbal persuasion... the agent at Media Temple went in on my/our behalf and updated the passwords, which reactivated the database, and restored the site. Of course, "policy" prevented him from telling me just WHAT he had changed the passwords to, so we're still a bit screwed until I figure out how to get in there and find the passwords.

I rather agree with Frank that we are not necessarily better off with technology. The pace of acceleration is pretty much out of control, and I know first hand how exasperating it is for people to keep up because I started working at an Apple retail store this past summer (long story, read my recent posts at if you want to hear it...) and every day I deal with countless people who cannot access their accounts because they haven't got a handle on the countless passwords they have to remember.

The general populace that has become dependent on these gizmos just don't fully grasp what is required of them, and the technology companies are doing a horrid job of getting their users up to speed – despite what they say to the contrary. And I say this from the vantage point of working for Apple, which is supposed to be ahead of the pack in user-friendliness.

And this week I spent about two hours on the phone with a bank (Chase) just trying to figure out WTF was going on with the password to a credit card account... just so that I could see my statement and pay my bill! These banks are so concerned about "security" that they devise protocols that defy any measure of user friendliness. And then they make you talk to somebody in the fucking Philippines...

Computers. They are the boon and bane of our existence.

To retrieve password, enter password.

Such are the times we live in.


Re: Outage

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 3:54 pm
by David Kunkle
Frank Sanns wrote:. We have regressed back to a time where productivity is worse than it was before smart phones and computers. We wait for the machines and are slaves to the machines. We waste our time doing updates and learning the new idiosyncrasies of software after software.
I can think of no better response than to steal Richard's line: "Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long." - Yogi Berra

Re: Outage

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:17 am
by JoeBallantyne
So, do any of the Admins of this site have a full offline backup of the database/configuration/files/pictures, so that if the ISP hosting company completely loses their server and backups, we don't kiss all of the history goodbye?

Seems like it would be a prudent thing to do.

Especially since you can get 64GB on a ~$30 chip the size of your thumbnail these days.

I'd be surprised if the total size of all the posts amounted to 512MB, although the attachments and pictures are another matter. Although I would expect everything might well fit just fine on a 64GB USB flash drive.

Perhaps we can leverage this outage to get a current offline backup of everything. Then something good would come out of it.

Re: Outage

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:28 am
by Andrew Robinson
This has been discussed many times in the past including a live discussion at HEAS a few years ago. Steps are being taken to slowly improve the functionality, stability, and integrity of the site and its content. I will let Paul and Frank comment on where things stand currently.

Re: Outage

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 5:01 am
by Richard Hull
Paul did a fabulous job of porting over the Songs and Intranet fusor files to this site way back when (2002?). At least I think it was Paul...We had another guy then who was a member who really helped Paul out a lot, much like Frank does now. (Sorry, his name eludes me as do a lot of things now) I am sure a backup must exist somewhere in inter-space or on a thumb drive.

Richard Hull

Re: Outage

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 5:35 am
by Frank Sanns
I have a full online backup frequently and an offline one from around a year ago after the last changes to the site. It is time again and was on my list of things to do but alas, I no longer have a password for the full database back up. All I can do right now is the board itself. While this preserves all of the data, the structure would not be backed up. For that reason, it is important that we get my main password working again. Only Paul can do that since this site is hosted on his service.

Re: Outage

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:41 pm
by Paul_Schatzkin
Passwords. Right.

I will make it my mission to get on the horn with Media Temple today and get them to walk me through where those passwords are stashed, and then I'll share them with you.

A frequent offline back up.. yeah, good idea.