Does BlackBerry Outage Point Towards its Impending Demise!

BlackBerry_logo_DownLet me first start with a disclaimer, I am not suggesting RIM’s BlackBerry business is about to be destroyed. I just looked up information about all the major service outages by companies in the last 15 years, and found there seems a relation between a company’s fall from grace and outages to its services. All services have their outages, but some major ones can really cause inconveniences.

I wanted to point out three brands that never recovered after a major outage; which might give us an idea where BlackBerry is heading.

AOL’s Outage problems

AOL_Logo_smallBack in the mid 1990s, AOL was like Google and Facebook rolled into one for many internet users in the US. It was not into search but it was providing internet access along with email accounts. It was also a major player in the online instant messaging.

It was so iconic, that even Hollywood epitomised AOL’s new email alert in the movie ‘You’ve Got Mail”.

Then started the outages. The first one was in 1996, then another in 1998 and later in 1999. Users started moving to other email providers like Yahoo and Hotmail and today we see AOL as pretty much a media company, more than an internet services company.

MSN Messenger

MSN_Messenger_logo_smallMSN Messenger along with Yahoo Instant Messenger were the big boys of instant messaging after AOL saw downward growth. Hotmail was part of Microsoft and it obviously meant millions of email users could not chat on MSN Messenger.

In July 2001, MSN Messenger had an outage which almost lasted for a week. It was also saw an outage in 2003 and 2005.

MSN Messenger was never the force it was once before, and that is quite obvious that Microsoft chose to buy Skype for billions instead of ramping up Live Messenger.

Yahoo Mail Downtime

Yahoo_Mail_logo_smallYahoo has often been on a downward spiral for years. It did have an outage in April, 2011. This outage actually was not very crippling but it did impact over a million accounts. Today there are rumours the Yahoo is up for sale. Also it is pretty clear the Yahoo is not going to be a major internet company in the future.

Future of BlackBerry

This proves there is a link between service outage and success of a company. Most services have minor outages like, which could last a few minutes to a few hours. But when outages go on for days it shows that there is something drastically wrong with the company.

But all is not lost for RIM, as there are other services like Skype which had a major outage last year but still managed to keep most of its customers despite an outage that lasted several hours and days in some cases. Another case was when Gmail had an outage and even deleted some data of users but it manages to still remain competitive.

RIM is doing the right thing by offering some premium apps free, but it will need to improve not only its service but also roll out awesome handsets which are not getting overshadowed by iPhone and the Android based smartphones.

Google Outage: When God of the Internet Took a Break!

“Google is God” is a quote I come across often since I became a blogger. If you are online, there is very little chance you do not know about Google or have not used the search engine. Managing several million search queries every hour effortlessly, we often take Google search engine for granted.

Today it seems the internet God, took a break giving 502 error for many users across the world. The outage has now been resolved and the search service is up and running.

Google_502_Error

A colleague (@r_thakker) pinged the site and it also confirmed the 502 error.

Google_ping_502

Recent History of Internet Outages

Outages do probably disrupt people’s work and life, but it seems we have to learn to live with some outages. Skype was down for many users for over a day in Dec 2010. While the popular blogger service Blogger.com, faced downtime in May 2011 for a few hours.

More recently, we have seen BlackBerry services being down for almost 3 days.

I read some tweets suggesting that even Gmail users had faced a small downtime last night, but I could not confirm it with Google Apps returning no disruption of service at all (see image below).

App_Status_Google

When Google returned the 502 error for a while today, it might not have had a big impact but outages that last for hours or days could really hurt both customers and the company that provides the service.

Do drop in your comments.

Important – Major Changes to rtBlogs Network

Hi All,

You might have noticed a major downtime today for Devils Workshop as well as other blogs in rtBlogs network.

We were pushing a major update where we merged all blogs in rtBlogs WordPress multisite inside rtCamp’s WordPress multisite. The goal was to centralize our user’s login info so that they can easily contribute to our blog network, as well as use support forums at rtCamp’s product portals easily.

In the long run, you will be using a single account to:

Important Notes:

Our current move many have some side-effects. So please check few things:

  • If you are using our Google AdSense Revenue Sharing program, please check your posts to see if they are displaying your ads.
  • Also check if your posts are attributed to you only
  • If you are not able to log in, try resetting your password with email-address you used at the time of registration.
  • If you see your user-name changes, please do not panic. We are expecting few usernames to be changed as we merged two user-bases.
We have triple-checked many things, but still in a big community like this, things may go wrong. Whatever issue you may encounter, do NOT panic!
You can use comment form below or our contact-form to reach us. Please give as many details as possible while contacting for technical support (related to above issues).

While today’s changes will most likely go unnoticed for a while, we hope to surprise you with our next round of changes. The good thing about next round is, there will be no downtime! ;-)

Google’s Blogger Faces Downtime: Trouble in the Cloud!

Google has often talked a lot about the cloud. Store everything you want online and access it anywhere. This all sounds fantastic most times until the moment something goes wrong. The popular blogging platform Blogger.com is down.

Blogger_down

This service has been down for a few hours and this probably shakes confidence of people in Cloud services. It seems they are removing posts temporarily, which were created after  7.37 AM PDT, 11th May 2011.

Here is a quote from Blogger Status:

To get Blogger back to normal, all posts since 7:37am PDT on Weds, 5/11 have been temporarily removed. We expect everything to be back to normal soon. Sorry for the delay.

A few months ago, Gmail outage had also caused concern with Google users. Stay tuned to this post and I will update it when blogger is available again.

Facebook is Down!!

Well this is a quick post to inform all you guys that most popular social-networking website of the world, facebook.com is Down. The website was facing some technical difficulties like slow access and problem in loading content after which the whole website went down. We can also check thousands of tweets regarding the same.

The above test results by Down or Not clearly shows that the Facebook is down at 7:40 p.m GMT on 23rd of September. It feels like someone disturbed our normal routine life. ;)

Check this place for more updates regarding the same.

UPDATE 1:

Facebook is up but still facing major technical difficulties. [7:56 P.M 23rd Sept. GMT]

UPDATE 2:

Facebook is down again. [8:00 P.M 23rd Sept. GMT]


[Editorial] Scheduled Downtime for Maintenance

Hi All!

We will be upgrading our servers for things listed below tonight (after 1 hour).

We are expecting downtime from 30 minutes to 1 hour. As we have so many things to upgrade/improve, downtime is unavoidable. :-(

All guest bloggers requested to save their posts/work before 3AM if they are planning to write tonight.

Things we will be doing!

  • Upgrade Ubuntu 9 to Ubuntu 10 (LTS)
  • Upgrade WordPress MU 2.9.2 to WordPress 3.0
  • Turn on nginx fastcgi_cache
  • Migrate from php-fastcgi to php-fpm
  • Say bye-bye to Wp-Super-Cache and use w3TotalCache with nginx
  • Enable CDN on other blogs
  • Remove domain-mapping plugin (we don’t need it anymore for domain mapping to work, in our case at least! See this post)
  • Enable APC and memcache and configure w3Total Cache to use these high-performance extensions (will post about this later on wpveda)

Following blogs/sites will be affected…

Also if any other sites in our network or hosted/managed by rtCamp goes down please bear with us.

We will be coming back with faster server! Really… ;-)

Update: Maintenance is over with 20 minutes downtime total. Items striked out are skipped for various reasons.

(Image credit: chaufkipeut)

Get notifed by email if your website is down

If you own a website you might have shared you own issues with having your website down. For a blogger this can also mean precious loss of traffic and subsequently a loss of revenue. Wasitup.com is one such website that monitors your website and sends you an email if it goes down.

Was it up? Email Notification

Features

  • Wasitup.com conducts a HTTP HEAD request and checks if the statud code is 200 OK. This means it checks if the page you have submitted is up and running.
  • If you specify a text within the url, it checks if the text is present or not in the HTTP body.
  • Once your website is down you receive an email. Your website is checked every 5 minutes. :-)
  • You can monitor upto 10 websites per account.

I think this would be quite useful for someone who is working part time as a blogger or might be away on vacation for a few days. Obviously at such times a email notification of the downtime would be greatly beneficial.

Let me know what do you think about Wasitup.com through your comments. :-)

Yet again Gmail Users Face Downtime and Problems Accessing Contacts

Suddenly, a couple of minutes ago while having chat with one of my friend, Gmail started giving some errors and after refreshing the page for a few times I got a “Temporary Error (503)” message as seen on the screenshot below.

gmail error

After waiting for few minutes, when again I started refreshing the page, another strange error was witnessed reading “Gmail is temporarily unable to access your contacts. You may experience issues while this persists” with a “learn more” link directing to this page. And since then, each time I refresh the Gmail page, I get either 503 error page or errors reading – “unable to access contacts.

#gmail fail

As seen from the Twitter search results, Gmail users not only in some specific parts are facing such errors but people across the globe are panicking about the issue and discussing continuous Gmail downtime. For those who are unaware, Gmail went down for the second time this month. Earlier, Gmail was down on 1st September for about one hour and fifteen minutes.

[#Gfail] Gmail is not completely down! Google Apps version is UP

gmaillogo1.jpgFrom last few hours Gmail has been down here. First I thought, its unlucky me as coincidentally my internet connection is experiencing some problems since last night. But Twitter (and this) confirmed that I am not alone!

Still, as a (G)mail addict, I am waiting desperately for Gmail to come back, as I need to send some important mails.

Now coming back to Gmail.com, it is showing 502 Server Error. Optimistically, I checked m.gmail.com (Gmail’s mobile version) and also tried accessing Gmail.com via proxies. But no luck! :-(

Then I tried hitting mail.rtcamp.com (Gmail in Google Apps) and it worked like charm! So if you are Google Apps user accessing your domain’s mails from Gmail.com, please don’t wait it to come back. You can directly go to mail domain of your Google Apps package and enjoy the service from there! :-)

I haven’t checked Gmail’s status via POP and IMAP interface. Is there anyone who can comment on Gmail availability via POP and IMAP right now?

Update: Gmail.com is UP now (0445 PST, 1800 IST)

Related: Get free mail@yourdomain.com email addresses using Google Apps