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Is it really better to know?

To know what? About your site going down. Or, in this case, ours. Sort of.

Site uptime graph
Bad day at the server farm.

My wife and I had plans for today that definitely did not include my sitting in front of a computer. On the other hand, I’d recently received some good advice about the Scarecrow website’s design, and had made several changes, so I wanted to kinda check on things in my office.

Big mistake.

It turned out that the machine hosting this blog had been down for hours. Scarecrow had been trying to let me know, but I just hadn’t been listening. In addition to the blog, the affected machine had some of Scarecrow’s “agents” running, and also hosted, which only exists to allow potential new users of the Scarecrow software to see what the application looks like once they sign up. (If you haven’t tried it yet, you can click “View Demo” at Checking out the Demo will log you out, though, if you have an account and are currently logged in.)

Temporarily losing the “agents” was no big deal either. They’re back-end processes that do the grunt work behind the Scarecrow website. There are enough running in other places that I doubt any users even noticed. Scarecrow kept running just fine.

So, what was the big hit? Well, to my day with my wife. We had fun, and I definitely enjoyed hanging out with our daughter, but I kept checking my email. Once in a while I’d actually log in to a server with the terminal emulation app I have on my iPhone. Yes, that’s pretty geeky.

I mean, I couldn’t make the broken machine work. I’m in awe of the fact that it was down for a total of over 9 hours, but what could I do about it? Nothing.

Yes, I’ll be moving the blog to a more…uh…stable environment. But I really like the company that was behind this mishap. I’ve never considered their service to be especially reliable, but on the other hand it’s cheap. And I get a kick out of their monthly newsletters. In spite of this incident, I’m going to continue doing business with them. They’re a great place to run stuff customers don’t see. Stuff that doesn’t have to be actually running all the time.

So I’ll be moving the blog in the next week or so. But guess what? I already knew I should do that.

I guess a kick in the pants can be helpful. It’s definitely encouraging me to take action. Great. And all.

But c’mon. Today wasn’t the day to be thinking about it. And if it hadn’t been for Scarecrow, I wouldn’t have noticed a thing. Is that good, or bad? I guess it depends on how you look at it. Next time this sort of thing happens? I’m going to turn my phone off.

Still. It’s hard to solve a problem you don’t know you have.

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One Comment

  1. […] Is it really better to know?  Yes. I get it. It’s better to have the data, than not. Now that I know my website has been unavailable to potential customers, what will I do about it? Turn off all notifications and bury my head in the sand? That doesn’t really work for anyone…not even ostriches.   Leave a comment […]

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