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Eric: Twenty four hours without Livejournal

So, a catastrophic failure hit Livejournal yesterday -- a power loss at their entire center, including all UPS systems (systems that they describe as "insanely redundant power and UPS systems"), leading to a total collapse of the organic interwoven server cluster. In restoring it, they discovered many of the machines that they use as backups failed, that other machines reported operations that weren't actually happening. and that they're literally having to recreate the database transactions on some of the restored servers -- like they were trying to compress weeks of posting into hours, one action at a time.

It's also apparently the second time it happened. From that same document detailing their recovery efforts: "now that this has happened to us twice, we realize the first time wasn't a total freak coincidence. C'est la vie." Which blows my mind. Seriously. I think it's hysterical. Your entire company's business is based on this kind of thing, and you have a catastrophic failure, and decide afterward that hey -- it was probably a coincidence. It couldn't possibly happen again. In my Imperial Space stories (including Trigger Man for those of you following along at home), that's called invoking Murphy, and Murphy enjoys these situations way too much.

Setting aside the logistical nightmare the LJ team's piecing their way through (and everything the Six Apart people -- who just bought this company, remember -- have to be wondering about, right now), there's the question of the greater Livejournal community. Several million of them.

And they're going through withdrawal, right about now.

Seriously, thousands of these people stay connected to their online world wholly through Livejournal. Take LJ out of the mix, and suddenly the center of their universe is broken. Hell, I use LJ as my RSS reader -- so I'm not following any of the lists I read through RSS at all today. So, no Boing Boing, no Wil Wheaton, no Neil Gaiman, no RPG design lists. Not to mention not seeing what's happening in the lives of my friends, acquaintances, and the various people I voyeuristically stare at.

And Livejournal isn't that big a deal for me. I can't imagine what the people who base their lives around Livejournal are doing today.

Maybe in the end this is a good thing. A reminder of the fragility of digital communities. A reminder that there's also this outdoors thing. Maybe.

But maybe not. The thing about Livejournal is... it represents millions of people who decided to write for the world to see. That's powerful juju. These are folks who, whether vapid or profound, are expressing themselves with the written word. They're expressing their opinions. They're delinating their hopes and dreams. And yeah, some of them are easy to make fun of, but some aren't. And all of them are trying.

Being without that is shocking, for some people. Suddenly, their tongues have been silenced. Their support groups are gone. Their fanbases are empty. Suddenly, they're being plunged back into 1999, and they don't want to be back in 1999.

It's going to be very interesting to hear what they have to say, when LJ comes back online.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at January 15, 2005 7:12 PM

Comments

Comment from: Aeire posted at January 15, 2005 8:41 PM

I just really wanted to tell the world that my hair smells like coconut and I'm not terribly pleased about it. Unfortunately, I don't move the earth when I write. *g*

Comment from: Wednesday posted at January 15, 2005 8:51 PM

This is actually making me quite grateful for the Six Apart buyout -- I somehow trust them to make this not happen again. (I'm not aware of an equivalent Typepad failure.)

I was annoyed last night. I'm out drinking right now (well, look, the boys are playing cards, and I play no games). Tomorrow, I probably look into NetNewsWire Pro and start looking more seriously into getting the Mandyspace up and running, so that I can blog. At least in character. This not-writing stuff is OMGOMGWTFARGH.

Aeire -- Veganese and American Cream are better on curly hair than the whatchamacallit coconut conditioner, if I'm right in guessing you were Lushing out there.

Comment from: Aeire posted at January 15, 2005 8:54 PM

Nah, I was using this 'for brunettes only' stuff, 'cos I dyed my hair brown and I figured a change in shampoo wouldn't be too terrible. Usually I sniff the stuff before I buy it, but I was in a hurry. Oh well. It's really *nice*, though. And I shall look for the other stuff you mentioned, because now you've got me curious.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at January 15, 2005 9:20 PM

John Frieda? I didn't have too much luck with their styling range, which I think was coconuttish, but I never got round to trying the shampoo/conditioners.

Lush will try to sell a curly or dyed-hair type Coolaulin (that'd be the coconut I was forgetting) before Veganese (lemonish) or American Cream (vanilla), IME, and people with finer curly hair will apparently have better results from those. (I'm not sure why; my half-fine, half-absurdly-coarse hair doesn't cope with Coolaulin at all.) Their Seanik shampoo bar (crisp borderline-floral, borderline-citrus, very clean scent) is a good companion on dyed hair.

Comment from: AuricTech posted at January 15, 2005 10:05 PM

I see that today's Something Positive strip deals with the LJ outage.

Comment from: Aeire posted at January 15, 2005 10:10 PM

Wed - I usually use some sort of uber-conditioner or another because my hair gets so damned tangled if I don't. And frizzy. Ew. But I'll have to look into the vanilla stuff in particular. I like vanilla. Also, I think it's the Frieda stuff - the shampoo worked wonderfully, the conditioner was just fine even though I had to put some leave-in in afterwards to tame the frizzies.

Also, I love the fact that such an eloquent snark post so quickly devolved into commentary on hair-care products. *g*

Comment from: Wednesday posted at January 15, 2005 10:28 PM

Our superficiality is in the grand tradition of lj users. Next, the derailment of ... uh... pick something. I only just managed to log in. :)

Eric will never forgive us, but, then, we can always offer to style his hair. Or do fanart about it.

Born Brunette ring a bell? I should try their s/c next time the hair gets dyed with indigo.

American Cream smells fantastic, but (same tangle problem) IME Veganese is more effective for detanglage, 'cause seaweed is the bloody miracle worker. Only slightly, but, well, still. Also: Redken Glass, sweartogod. I can almost *swear off* leave-ins with that stuff.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at January 15, 2005 10:31 PM

Oh, goodness. Now I want to do a picture of Snarky with bulbous bouffant. But all the paper is in the next county over. Damn you, Max Powers.

(macaDEmia)

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at January 15, 2005 10:39 PM

I use a teatree based shampoo and conditioner, for men.

And I don't even know what that means. What the hell is Teatree? Tea doesn't grow on trees! Though tea plants can get like sixty feet high....

Comment from: Wednesday posted at January 15, 2005 10:46 PM

I have no idea. Maybe a superficial resemblance to real tea leaves?

Dividing products like shampoo by sex always ticks me off for some reason, unless there's a really good reason for it (I hate to bring up Lush again -- they should totally give me money -- but I only forgave them for pushing one of their shave lotions as being for guys when they pointed out it was meant to soften unusually resistant hair, which beard stubble frequently is compared to leg stubble. And even then... anyhow)..

Tea. Mmmmmmtea. Shou mei with dried strawberry and hibiscus. Right now.

Comment from: John Bankert posted at January 15, 2005 11:16 PM

Fascinating discussion on hair care. I personally use dial bar soap with aloe. Of course, my hair is usually anwhere from 0 to .25 inches long, so shampoo is wasted on me.

As a side note to clarify on the UPS failure, it seems that the LJ people trusted that their colo hosts UPS system would work, and it didn't twice. Whomever was posting the updates indicated that they'll be brining in their own rack mounted UPS equipment ASAP.

Comment from: Dorkboy posted at January 15, 2005 11:53 PM

"Tea tree oil is the essential oil steam distilled from the Australian plant Melaleuca alternifolia. This species is unique to Australia and native to Northern New South Wales. Tea tree oil contains over 100 components, mostly monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and their alcohols. Terpinen-4-ol is present at the highest levels (minimum 30%) and is responsible for most of the antimicrobial activity. Levels of 14 components are stipulated in the International Standard for Oil of Melaleuca, Terpinen-4-ol type (ISO 4730). "

Tea Tree Oil is used with other oils for massages as well sometimes. Apparently it's HELLA Strong though.

Oh, and while many others aren't back up yet, my LJ works fine now :)

\/\/

Comment from: Benjamin Kaplin posted at January 16, 2005 12:00 AM

Of course, for those of us iced in in Portland, it's much, much worse.

Comment from: Mike Escutia posted at January 16, 2005 1:13 AM

Eric, you may want to try Bloglines for RSS reading. It works pretty well for me.

Comment from: FlyingFish posted at January 16, 2005 1:26 AM

I'm on the Madcow server, which means I STILL don't have access. *grumble*

(And you can use LJ for RSS feeds? How would that work?)

Comment from: Shadowydreamer posted at January 16, 2005 3:49 AM

I didn't even notice LJ was down until one of my journal addicted friends mentioned it on the phone.. I guess I'm not geek enough ^_^

Personally, I swear by Dove's new shampoo and conditioner line.. It took stressed, fried hair and turned it into soft, lush, body filled luxury.

Comment from: Chris Anthony posted at January 16, 2005 10:36 AM

FlyingFish, check out http://www.livejournal.com/syn/ and http://www.livejournal.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqcat=syn, which should have all the information you need on LJ RSS trolling.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at January 16, 2005 3:43 PM

Dove's had that line out over here for some time. I liked it the first few rounds, but found it quickly fell into buildup and resistance lands. Which was a shame, cause, well, Dove smell.

Comment from: MasonK posted at January 17, 2005 2:52 AM

For the record? Head & Shoulders.

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