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What Caused Bluehost’s MASSIVE FAIL

Click '+' for an email from Bluehost's CEO on Friday, April 18. Too bad he couldn't be bothered to say anything earlier.
bluehost-ceo
Click '+' for an update from Bluehost Support which, ironically, arrived 24 hours after yesterday's 1pm outage.
I would like to offer my sincerest apologizes for this lack of communication and to provide you with some details as to what happened. We experienced a degradation of network service in one of our data centers due to a firmware bug in one of our vendor’s hardware solutions. This was an undocumented bug and we worked with our partner to diagnose the issue and deployed a firmware update to the systems to remediate the problem. Only websites that were being served by this hardware were affected. This is unrelated to any previous outages and we have reviewed our entire network to make sure this problem will not occur elsewhere. Please let us know if there is anything else we can provide; whether information and other, but I would like ensure you I personally understand your frustrations and can appreciate your stance on the situation. Best regards – Ryan, Supervisor, BlueHost.com

An unknown number of Bluehost servers went down yesterday, April 16th, at 1pm central time. This may have been limited to their Dedicated (which I own) and virtual private servers (VPS) but that’s unknown too. It’s also unknown what caused it, even approximately when it will be fixed, or other pretty basic items a paying customer wants to know when a service is failing.

In this post I will tell you about two fails Bluehost made: them communicating to customers about the outage and what caused the outage in the first place.

BLUEHOST COMMUNICATION FAIL

Outages do occur at webhosts…they just do. But why so many unknowns and a clear reluctance to be transparent? Because Bluehost has failed dramatically at THE MOST BASIC customer relations item: communicating with customers about why something isn’t working as promised. Rather than have a status page at Bluehost.com that either has status updates on it or embeds their Twitter and Facebook feeds, they ask people to follow them “and check our Twitter feed and Facebook page for updates.” How incredibly bush-league.

A few cut-n-paste tweets from Bluehost Support

For hours and hours and hours they have been telling people essentially, “I dunno” which is unacceptable. Not only is this impacting an untold number of people (the tweets are numerous) this is a PR disaster and customers will undoubtedly flee. Especially those who have clients on Bluehost due to their recommendation, one that now makes those recommenders look like a bunch of clueless imbeciles.

I’ve also been evangelizing Bluehost’s new Dedicated server offering since it has been very fast and their Level III tech support access the best I’ve ever had with any host I’ve ever used. Several of my clients have purchased Dedicated servers (and yes, ALL of them pinged me about where they should go next because they are absolutely getting off Bluehost!).

From 1pm Wednesday April 16th through today, Bluehost Support can only tell customers “I dunno”

From 1pm Wednesday April 16th through today, Bluehost Support can only tell customers “I dunno”

Will I continue to evangelize? Nope. I might have cut Bluehost some slack IF they had been communicative. I may continue to evangelize IF Bluehost provides recompense for my server downtime and IF they provide a plan on how NOT to repeat a fiasco like this in the future. If they say or do nothing I’ll take my business and that of my clients elsewhere.

But here is what caused the outage.

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Global Conflict Declining

conflict

Since the late Middle Ages, on average a shrinking proportion of the world population has died in conflict each year. Westphalian war has become less prevalent since the mid 20th Century, with not a single Great Power war since 1953. Size of bubble shows percentage of world population killed. CLICK GRAPH FOR LARGER VIEW

bill-gates

Bill Gates shared this on his Facebook page and said about it, “It may be hard to believe, but conflict is actually on the decline. These 6 infographics explain: http://b-gat.es/1kM2omV

You can view the post at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies here or download the report PDF.

via Daren Klum

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Understand What ‘Resolution’ Means

As an amateur photographer, I often try to explain to people why my small Nikon D5000‘s 12.3 million pixels produces a better photo than their smartphone camera or even what could be produced by this new Lumia 930 with its 20 megapixel camera.

Besides the obvious: the lens is bigger, it is that and the sensor in the camera that determines the resolution of the image. I know figuring out resolution, and why it matters, is a challenge so I encourage you to watch this very well presented short video that explains it better than anything I’ve seen yet:

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Web’s Inventor Calls for Net Neutrality

The NeXT computer on which Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote the World Wide Web

The NeXT computer on which
Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote the World Wide Web

This year the World Wide Web turns 25 years old. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the Web, is imploring the world to keep the Web free, open, neutral and robust.

There is no question that Berners-Lee has deep and profound concerns about the direction the Web has taken. From global mass surveillance to net neutrality, he clearly sees his baby, the World Wide Web, as one of the most powerful inventions in human history but one in jeopardy of being subsumed by governments, corporations, or others in power positions. 

He’s created a website, Webat25.org, highlighting what he discusses in this video below and it is one you should visit.

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Gadget Man – Why the World Needs InternetTV

gadget-manIn 2007 I became aware of a new show called The IT Crowd in the United Kingdom and a bunch of my geek buddies were highly recommending it. I found, ahem, alternative ways to obtain the show since it was not available in the United States at the time. My son and I started watching it and it became a much beloved show, and we had a really nice shared bonding experience over it (since he’s a geek too).  

Fortunately, today the show is available on Netflix in its entirety if you care to watch it. I wish Netflix streaming had been around then since I hated having to use those alternative ways to view the show back then but it was the only way to see it. 

We got quite a kick out of one of its main characters, Moss (played by Richard Ayoade). Looking for a video I’d mentioned to a client on YouTube, I stumbled across a show which I’d never seen before: Gadget Man, starring Ayoade. Turns out he’s just as funny and engaging as he was on The IT Crowd, and the British penchant for smart programming (vs. low-brow reality TV like so much of U.S. cable) makes this a very engaging show to view.  

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50 Years Ago Today: The Beatles on Ed Sullivan

I was a little kid when these guys were on the Ed Sullivan Show and have no recollection of this show. My parents watched Ed Sullivan but I’ll bet they never would have sat still to watch this segment, even if my older sister begged them (but she was young too).

Here is the video of the entire appearance:

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Are We Living in a Bizarro Universe?

Bizarro: art from the cover of Superman #202 (Dec. 1967). Art by Curt Swan & George Klein.

Superman’s alternate universe doppelganger ‘Bizarro’: art from the cover of Superman #202 (Dec. 1967). Art by Curt Swan & George Klein.

Unless my family and I are living in an alternate Bizarro universe, it’s pretty clear that we all will soon be paying a lot more for our internet broadband connections and our internet choices will be throttled.

I say that because of the net neutrality battle going on right now, one the internet service providers (ISPs), and especially the cable providers who also provide television, think this is one they cannot afford to lose.

None of the ISPs want Netflix, Apple’s AppleTV, Google’s $35 Chromecast, or a service like Aereo to either continue to succeed or be in a good or better position to do so.  Unless, of course, the ISPs are allowed to make the internet a toll road where only those who pay can get through or go fast.

If the cable companies and other ISPs “win” the net neutrality battle, our TV streaming options will collapse, we will all pay more for our internet connections, all while having to continue to pay “bundled” prices for cable TV channels we never watch.  [Read more...]

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A 1956 Kodak Camera Priced at $625?

My grandparents had this camera and there was a cheaper version of it at my Dad’s house when he passed away last year. I never paid much attention to it (thinking it was some cheap device) until I was poking around last night at the Internet Archive, going through old television commercials.

Then I watched this one from Kodak in 1956 showing that camera which only cost $74. That doesn’t sound like much, right? A simple purchasing power calculator shows that the relative value of that $74 in today’s dollars would equal $625.00! (This answer is obtained by multiplying $74 by the percentage increase in the consumer price index from 1956 to 2012).

Wow. So I guess paying $199 for a subsidized smartphone—with a built-in camera far superior than this one in it—doesn’t seem like much, heh?

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Happy Birthday Macintosh!

mac-30-yrs-old

Apple has a tribute to Macintosh on its website on its 30 year birthday

The Mac was introduced thirty years ago today on the Super Bowl with the now famous ad directed by Ridley Scott, and won numerous awards. Advertising Age called it the top ad from a pool of the 50 best commercials of all time

But I had a sneak-peek in November of 1983 when, while in Hawaii with all the other sales and marketing folks from around the world, Steve Jobs introduced the Macintosh to the company and showed us the commercial!

Though forced to use PCs at many of the companies I worked at over the years, I did so reluctantly while always owning my own machines…and those machines were almost always Macs (had to buy PCs only for our business accounting). If not for the Mac my wife’s business would never have started 28 years ago (one we now run together…you can read the story about its founding here) and all the creative stuff I’ve done over the years can be directly attributed to, what Steve Jobs describes in this short video snippet, is how Macintosh is like a “bicycle for our minds.” 

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Content Curation with Zeef

zeefNot long ago it was much easier to think about a problem and then go off and discover a solution. As information technology has grown more complex, it has also become harder to uncover solutions.

As a “connector of dots” it is important for me to stay on top of trends, technological developments, and early adoption. It is why I seek out thought leaders in various spaces in order to see what they think is important so I can investigate on my own and see if they’ve identified something I should watch.

Completely out of the blue today I stumbled across one of the world’s foremost content curators, Robin Good, who seems to constantly come across web applications and platforms I need to pay attention to and learn more about immediately.

So as I sought out the latest in marketing tools today, I came across a very interesting curated list of marketing tool links by Rick Boerebach the co-founder of a platform I’d not yet heard about: a Netherlands-based curation tool in beta called Zeef

What was so amusing was when I clicked the Zeef logo on Rick’s marketing tools page and went to the homepage to learn more about them. There were many “Popular Subjects” and one of them was Content Curation. Clicking on it brought me to, you guessed it, Robin Good’s page of Content Curation curated links!

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