Sunday, August 24, 2014

Charter's Internet Outage, Speculation, and "The Simpsons"

(From DownDetector, via Network World; used w/o permission.)

Our household's Internet connection fizzled, few minutes after 4:00 yesterday afternoon. My son reconnected us a few times, something to do with DNS, I understand.

Each time, the new connection stopped rather promptly. Finally, around 10:00, he reached a working landline connection to Charter — and heard a recording that said, basically, 'we know there's a problem, we're trying to fix it, really.'

This morning, service was back: and I was only about six hour behind on work that depends partly on what's online.

Looks like we had company:
"...Charter Communications, the 4th largest cable operator in the US, suffered major internet outages that some news outlets reported to be nationwide. Charter offers Internet to 'more than 27.6 million customers in 29 states.' If you zoom out on the map, then you see why it appears to be a nationwide outage.

"Many customers took to DownDetector, which peaked at 7,982 reports of being down within the last 24 hours and over 8,000 on August 23. For today, August 24, the outage heat map shows reports of Charter still being down in 'Homewood, St. Louis, Madison, Asheville, Plant City, Greenville, Ballwin, Athens, Chicago, and Birmingham.' On Saturday, Charter was reportedly also down in Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta...."
(Ms. Smith, Privacy and Security Fanatic, Opinion, Network World)
I don't know whether the two maps in Ms. Smith's op-ed were from different times during the outage, represent different degrees of 'outage,' or — something else.

(From DownDetector, via Network World; used w/o permission.)

When I checked the news this afternoon, Charter apparently still hasn't announced what caused this outage. It may, as Ms. Smith implies, be because the company's brass hats are embarrassed about being hacked.

On the other hand, I think it's possible that Charter's upper-level management may not know what happened, themselves. Whatever went wrong, it affected a complex network that's roughly 3,000 miles across.

The technicians who fixed the problem may not know what went wrong — and won't, until they have a chance to compare notes and discuss what they found.

It's possible, although I think unlikely, that this continent-spanning SNAFU happened because somebody tried playing PONG on Charter's network hardware.

Frustrating as being cut off from the rest of the world, apart from pre-Information-Age tech, was: the incident had a funny side.

The St. Cloud Times reported that "...the last tweet on Charter's Twitter page was a retweet from Entertainment Weekly regarding the FXX mega marathon of 'The Simpsons.'..."

News and views:
Oddly enough, being offline for well over 12 hours didn't produce appreciation for a low-tech world.

I don't miss the 'good old days,' partly because I've got a pretty good memory —

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.