So why has Metafilter been down all day? December 26, 2002 5:42 PM   Subscribe

So why has Metafilter been down all day?
posted by stevefromsparks to Bugs at 5:42 PM (55 comments total)

I've been offline since the night of the 23rd. The coldfusion service died at some point on the 23rd, and I got once chance to jump online over dialup to fix it. It looks like it died again on xmas morning and I didn't get home and back online until just now, so it's back up.

I don't think I have a single family member with broadband, so visiting relatives means being offline for days at a time.

I think people who use crappy dialup and AOL for years and years aren't aware that the internet becomes infinitely more useful and efficient on a DSL or cable connection. What's up with that?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:48 PM on December 26, 2002


sorry for that post. i was just so excited to see it back up; but saddened but it's emptiness...
posted by folktrash at 5:51 PM on December 26, 2002


i get around it by refusing to go anywhere that doesn't have a fast connection.
yes, i need to get a life, but i feel like i'm doing my little bit to help; even my 85 yo grandma has dsl now.
posted by dolface at 5:52 PM on December 26, 2002


yo grandma - hehehehee (i know it's years old, it just still reads funny)
posted by folktrash at 5:53 PM on December 26, 2002


Er, no AOL users here, but not everyone has access to broadband at home, living away from cities, as I do. I'm lucky to have a T-1 line at work! That being said, we missed you too, Matt. Happy Boxing Day!
posted by Lynsey at 5:54 PM on December 26, 2002


Well, I just thought Matt was taking a break and pulled the plug so the rest of us would be forced to spend time with relatives or something.
posted by konolia at 5:57 PM on December 26, 2002


Heh heh ... for the holiday season I got several family members to install WiFi as part of other system upgrades. Oh sure, you should get a line sharing router. But let me tell you about this really cute one that has these funny ears sticking up. And it only costs about fifty bucks more.
posted by chipr at 6:00 PM on December 26, 2002


My policy is, since I'm the family tech, if they want me to fix their computers, they have to get broadband. I won't fix them otherwise. There's nothing worse than needing a driver or update and having to wait through "you've got mail" for it. So, Grandpa's got a cable modem and router. He loves it.
posted by condour75 at 6:59 PM on December 26, 2002


if they want me to fix their computers, they have to get broadband

Ah, I did remember that an uncle got a DSL line a couple years back (I didn't have time to stop by his house, sadly). I think he realized the full worth of the line when he called me with a problem, and I walked him through downloading and installing VNC, then fixed I his computer remotely, while we stayed on the phone and I told him what I was doing. When he saw his mouse move by me, he was sold.

I need to institute this policy to other family members. If they'd upgrade, I'd be happy to terminal into their box and fix whatever was wrong with it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:10 PM on December 26, 2002


Matt, you can terminal into my box and fix anything you'd like anytime.
posted by ColdChef at 7:22 PM on December 26, 2002


hee hee - that sounds more than slightly sexual.
posted by rhapsodie at 7:53 PM on December 26, 2002


I was crushed to wake up Christmas morning and find no Metafilter waiting for me in my stocking. Let this dark time be known forever as Black Christmas.
posted by webmutant at 8:39 PM on December 26, 2002


Matt,

As a comp tech who has a dialup only, give some of us a rest on the "crappy dialup" stuff. While the broadband world has now pretty much reached the majority of people, there has been a number of years where the major telcos pissed on people like me because we didn't live in their marketable areas.

Oh and yeah, I only live 1.75 miles from Union Square, Manhattan, NYC (as the crow flies). Really I do. Still, Verizon, Earthlink have stymied my efforts to get BB. And Metricom simply shut down. Some of us have not been given a choice. Give us a break. Also, just asking an honest question as to what happened about the site when it was down is not that big a deal.

I appreciate what you do here at this site. In fact, I value it on a daily basis. You and this site are the type of hard-core that I love. However, please realize that dialup is either all some of us can get for now or some of us want. One of the things that brings me back each day is the dialup-friendly page. BB snobbery will certainly push me away.
posted by lampshade at 8:52 PM on December 26, 2002


I think Matt was pretty clearly kidding. And as a comp tech, I bet you'd agree that maintaining a server that thousands of people access daily is not a task that can be done effectively over dialup, right?

Yes, there are areas where broadband is not available for a reasonable price. I don't think Matt was maligning your chioce of geographic locations. Are you arguing that dialup isn't relatively crappy?
posted by anildash at 9:15 PM on December 26, 2002


Jeez, lampshade, you'd think I just referred to NY as one of the flyover states or something. Everything I've said was tongue firmly in cheek, I wasn't serious about turning my nose up at blood kin measuring their access in baud.

I was kidding about the broadband, but the reality is that my parents and wife's parents all have horrible dialup services that are spotty at best and everyone seems to have only one phone line, so requesting the use of it to access the internet is akin to asking if you can have one of their kidneys (being the holidays and all, incoming and outgoing phone calls to and from family is common).

They all live in pretty urbanized areas that offer both DSL and cable modems (from multiple companies in most cases), and yet, they languish on 28.8 lines by choice. Most of them are retired and like the internet, so I don't see why they just don't bite the bullet and pay the extra $15-20 a month for service that would be many, many times better.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:54 PM on December 26, 2002


Yeah, imagine being in a flyover state! Heaven forfend!

Now I'm offended! Thank goodness I can spout off about it on St. Louis's brand new cow-powered broadband service!
posted by tss at 10:27 PM on December 26, 2002


Matt Lott.
posted by Opus Dark at 11:25 PM on December 26, 2002


Are you arguing that dialup isn't relatively crappy?

Yes, it is. But lampshade is right that one of MeFi's great strengths is that it's built to accommodate a maximum number of users. Posters here often think of dial-up members - even apologize when a link is clearly broadbanddy. This is a very good thing. I'll never forget the posts I made where dial-up members praised their dial-up friendliness.

A few great posters, like multi-link y2karl, are on dial-up and his posts demonstrate that it really shouldn't matter. Dial-up is like the typewriter of the Internet. And, like the typewriter, more masterpieces have been written on it than on any fancy word processor.

Still, get broadband if you can. After a month or two, it'll be just as frustrating as dial-up was. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:05 AM on December 27, 2002


1.75 miles from Union Square and without the possibility of broadband? I live 7 miles from Union Square and broadband has been here for a while. Most of the major phone companies offer services, and I'm pretty positive that the entire island of Manhattan is covered by Road Runner.
posted by tomorama at 12:20 AM on December 27, 2002


Lampshade, you just aren't trying hard enough.

Either find wireless internet in your area (there's gotta be at least 4 or 5 providers in NYC) or get satellite internet (I know of a great company that will give you 8 Gigs for $55 a month -- NO strings at all).

Life is a lot different as a computer tech when you have high speed 'net. I get far fewer nuisance calls, because I never let a machine leave my place without updating it totally. That used to take hours -- now it takes minutes. I couldn't imagine updating anti-virus software without broadband... I'd be tying things up for DAYS...

If you have a phone line, there is no excuse, apart form not wanting high speed, or not having the cash, to do without. (I suppose if you're living in an apartment without a south-east facing window, you can excuse yourself from that comment).

(it ain't snobbery when there's really no excuse at all to be without it -- at least not if you're in the USA -- even burger flippers can afford those prices).
posted by shepd at 12:37 AM on December 27, 2002


You philistines. Dialup is fine. The only thing you can't do well on 56k is play stuff like Counterstrike. For anything else, it's fine (unless you like to frequent content-less sites with gigabytes of shitty Flash) :-)

After god-knows-how-many-years of dialup, I'm used to it :-) (but broadband would be nice when it gets here in 2005)
posted by wackybrit at 2:19 AM on December 27, 2002


I second that emotion, wackybrit. We've suddenly found who all of the local EverQuest players are. Nerds.
posted by ttrendel at 2:42 AM on December 27, 2002


The only thing you can't do well on 56k is play stuff like Counterstrike.

Online gaming isn't a problem on 56k (tho if you're playing CS you might have...other...problems :p), but downloading anything is what gets to me. However I'm in an even worse state at the moment, as AOL decided 14k would be a more fun connection speed. When you have to keep a book on your desk to read while a page loads, you've got problems...
posted by Orange Goblin at 4:12 AM on December 27, 2002


Between work and my friend's computer (both on broadband) and my own dial-up connection, I know that all load MeFi at pretty much the same rate. I am more likely to experience lag on the broadband connections than over my own (and that is through MSN at that!).

For those of us who primarily use heavily text-based sites, the difference is negligible.
posted by mischief at 6:14 AM on December 27, 2002


imho the best bit of a cable modem is that it makes access simpler - it's always there (no need to wait for dialups), the connection is (in my experience) more reliable, it's flat rate (i know it's silly, but even though dial-up was cheaper, i would always worry more about the cost while i was online), and you can talk on the phone at the same time.

looks like i may be adding a wireless thingummy soon, too, so anyway else near abadia and paul harris is welcome to join the fun...
posted by andrew cooke at 6:25 AM on December 27, 2002


Well, I have dialup-and a second phone line. As for downloads, they are just a convenient time to fold laundry or do other mundane boring tasks. But we are starting to investigate whether broadband would actually be cheaper (or at least the same costwise) than our present setup.
posted by konolia at 7:14 AM on December 27, 2002


And, like the typewriter, more masterpieces have been written on it than on any fancy word processor.

OH, PLEASE. Now who is being elitist?

All I know is that if you've been tainted by broadband, either at work or at home, dial-up is completely intolerable. It's not a matter of being a bandwidth snob. It's a matter of patience, or lack thereof. When you're used to driving on the highway, being forced to take a dirt road detour is impossible.

Have any of you ever been to a hotel or a friend's house who has great water pressure in the shower? And then you go home to your dribbling spigot, and you realize what you're missing out on. It's like that.

On the other hand, I can't understand why anyone would need a broadband connection to run a telnet session to kickstart a web server process. Seems like even a 300 baud modem could do the trick.
posted by crunchland at 8:00 AM on December 27, 2002


On the other hand, I can't understand why anyone would need a broadband connection to run a telnet session to kickstart a web server process. Seems like even a 300 baud modem could do the trick.

Dude. Two words: Microsoft Products.

Telnet doesn't cut it for Mr. Gates' shitty stuff.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:36 AM on December 27, 2002


probably more trouble than its worth, but have you considered installing something like back orifice? while famous for being a hacker tool, it is intended to let you remotely control a machine (you can set a password - you'd have to ask around to find out whether it is considered a security risk when password protected). the clients are pretty minimal and it doesn't need much bandwidth.
posted by andrew cooke at 9:42 AM on December 27, 2002


dial-up IS shit. anyone who says otherwise is just wrong. and anyone who take its shittiness as some sort of personal assault has emotional issues that need ironing out.
posted by donkeyschlong at 9:59 AM on December 27, 2002


dial-up IS shit. anyone who says otherwise is just wrong. and anyone who take its shittiness as some sort of personal assault has emotional issues that need ironing out.

Absolutely. It's the difference between using the phone and mailing a letter to send a message. I feel for those for whom it is not yet available, but trying to justify it as "good enough" is hilarious rationalization. My time is my most valuable resource--nothing else even comes close--and broadband saves me many hours per week.
posted by rushmc at 10:26 AM on December 27, 2002


I have dialup at home to intentionally limit my ability to play online games and download pr0n. It's broadband or the marriage -- them's the options.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 10:34 AM on December 27, 2002


Hmm, isn't that like saying it's better to stick to the local roads than the interstate highways because it will take you to more worldly evil places? Eventually you'll drive by all those places, the disciple required has nothing to do with the speed at which you're travelling.
posted by yonderboy at 10:52 AM on December 27, 2002


there's really no excuse at all to be without it -- at least not if you're in the USA

have you been to rural America? we just got call waiting at my telco in Vermont a few years back and were happy to get it. dialup is at 44 k and we have a wireless network in the house so my boyfriend and I can share it. Every now and again we take a 45 minute drive to my friend's house who has cable modem and get upgrades for our stuff. it's fine. I am seventeen miles from my telco central office. The only thing that concerns me about broadband snobbery is that people basically get crotchety at people who have dialup as if they're just doing it just to be obtuse. Then they refuse to design for them or take them into account when they force upgrades on you or whatever. I don't expect the web to be attractive at 44k, I'd just like to be able to use it. My dad lives in rural MA and has Starband. His Internet doesn't work in the rain.

I have broadband in Seattle. I get more exercise in Vermont; the two are not unrelated. The biggest thing I miss is streaming music and upgrading my browser without leaving the house. But then again, I am one of those dorks who still writes letters and drives on dirt roads when there is a perfectly serviceable highway. It takes all kinds.
posted by jessamyn at 10:57 AM on December 27, 2002


Here here, jessamyn.
posted by goneill at 11:30 AM on December 27, 2002


It's broadband or the marriage

Ouch.
posted by adampsyche at 11:38 AM on December 27, 2002


Dialup seems to work pretty well to fix anything you can SSH into.
posted by groundscape at 11:39 AM on December 27, 2002


>My dad lives in rural MA and has Starband. His Internet doesn't work in the rain.

Bummer. I was speaking from experience with other companies, such as (I'll mention it now) Nebulink. My grande C-Band BUD didn't fail me in the rain, but it did fail me when it went out of alignment. :-(

But with their service, you could always default to modem-only when the sat was out for a while...

[ Oh, and you think you have a it bad Mr. 44k smarty pants. :-) I have to force my modem down to 14.4k to get a connection that lasts more than 10 minutes. Try that for lousy lines! Best response from Bell yet: Sending a 64 year old guy out to check my lines by "listening" to them -- literally. ]

So there. I live in rural Canada. Paper covers rock. Rock breaks scissors. I win for shittiest connection on this continent. Yay me! (not).
posted by shepd at 11:42 AM on December 27, 2002


Just to reiterate: my only beef is with my relatives that find the web useful and have ample broadband available to them, but choose not to sign up for it. That's what I don't understand.

I didn't mean to disparage those stuck with dialup, and yes, metafilter is well optimized for low bandwidth connections because I had the forethought to enable access to all (which is why the front page can be read via RSS if you really want to save bandwidth).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:44 AM on December 27, 2002


So why has Metafilter been down all day?

Sometimes Christmas makes a lot of people down for the day. Maybe MetaFilter needs a date.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:45 AM on December 27, 2002


Online gaming isn't a problem on 56k

!? Of course it's not if you're on Yahoo Games playing Poker and Scrabble :-) But in the world of the FPS, 200ms+ pings are intolerable. That is, of course, a latency problem and not a bandwidth one, but with games with over 10 players you soon notice bandwidth entering the equation. It's just not workable, especially since 'anti cheat' systems came into play which slow things down even more.

Broadband is totally needed for games now.

And to all those who argue that broadband is oh, so better than dialup, sure, of course it is. But if you're so impatient that you think waiting 5 seconds for the front page of MetaFilter to load is 'oh so awful' then you have other issues. If a page loads within 15 seconds it's fine with me.

For Web use, I don't notice a substantial difference between the DSL I sometimes use, and the dialup at home. For downloading MP3s, yeah, it's much better.. but since the Web and e-mail make up 99% of my experience, I can bear it instead of paying $120 a month for ISDN or satellite broadband. :-)
posted by wackybrit at 11:48 AM on December 27, 2002


I think dial-up is fine if all you have is one PC on the net. However some like me have a home network of four of five computers on the net at the same time. Between general surfing, my VPN connection to work, and the kids and the games this would all make the dial-up connection cry. My DSL connection handles it just fine thank you.
posted by CJB at 12:16 PM on December 27, 2002


I'm quite happy on my piddling little 56k modem at home on my single phone line.. I use the internet to mainly get information and see sites such as this one and /. with maybe the odd comic like sluggy or penny-arcade. Oh and e-mail and instant messaging.

The only real reason I can see for upgrading to broadband is gaming/downloading media. I have enough games on my ps2/pc and I generally buy my own music/movies.. Mind you, the fact that I have a great big massive connection at Uni which averages 600-700kbytes/s at uni may have something to do with me not minding :) Do everything at uni and cut back on the cs/unreal tournament when at home (I'm sure those two are bad for your health, its the pallid complexion you get..)..
posted by Mossy at 12:24 PM on December 27, 2002


matt, we know that... you rock.

(it's just fun to commiserate with others who grew up in the sticks. what's this remote control program y'all are always talking about (ok, no one says y'all where i come from))
posted by goneill at 12:35 PM on December 27, 2002


I live so far out in the country there will never be cable or DSL or whatever. I keep a game of hearts open while I'm online so I have something to do while I'm waiting...who here has knowlege of good satellite service? I'm already paying for an extra phone line and the best I've ever had was 26.1 and it's boring. I'm willing to pay for satellite if it's really worth it.
posted by Mack Twain at 2:51 PM on December 27, 2002


they do say y'all where I come from...so a question for y'all: does anyone bundle dial-up with broadband? I want to get broadband but I'd like to have a way to get online when I'm on the road with my laptop. Any ideas?
posted by Vidiot at 6:44 PM on December 27, 2002


"I want to get broadband but I'd like to have a way to get online when I'm on the road with my laptop."

Well, I don't know about anyone else, but I use two separate providers. Number one because my company pays for my broadband, and number two because I've had the same Juno email account forever, and ten bucks a month for a dialup account when I need it is pretty reasonable.

So, to recap:

$39.95 a month for DSL (MSN, unfortunately, but it's all that's available in my neighborhood), plus $9.95 for the dialup with Juno.

Not too bad, IMHO.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:41 PM on December 27, 2002


I know at the very least Speakeasy.net and Pacbell.net both offer dialup numbers for up to a certain number of hours each month, if you are traveling (I think it's usually up to 5 hours free).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:26 PM on December 27, 2002


!? Of course it's not if you're on Yahoo Games playing Poker and Scrabble :-) But in the world of the FPS, 200ms+ pings are intolerable. That is, of course, a latency problem and not a bandwidth one, but with games with over 10 players you soon notice bandwidth entering the equation. It's just not workable, especially since 'anti cheat' systems came into play which slow things down even more.

Broadband is totally needed for games now.


Thats just not true :) Its all about learning to compensate. It takes time, but it is very possible to play games such as TFC and NS at ~250ms. You just suck for a while as you learn..
posted by Orange Goblin at 7:57 AM on December 28, 2002


For those of us who primarily use heavily text-based sites

Turn off pictures altogether. Right click on pics you want to see. Few ads, empty popups. Broadband speed awaits.
posted by flowerdale at 3:51 AM on December 30, 2002


Jumping in a little late here, but ISDN is also an option for those that live in the boonies.
posted by rotifer at 11:40 AM on December 31, 2002


Jeez, lampshade..........

Yeah, I hear ya Matt. I was in a little snit that that night. Sorry for the splooge.


Cheers Dude. Happy New Year. We all appreciate it!




Keep On Keeping On!
posted by lampshade at 6:36 AM on January 1, 2003



......"it" being the effort that you put into this site....and everything else that you do. It really is appreciated.


That's all.
posted by lampshade at 6:42 AM on January 1, 2003


tomorama,
BB has come to my nabe as of late. However, for many years, it was simply not available due to the Telcos deciding that it was not in their marketing plan. I tried to sign up a couple of times. I even was sent a DSL modem, which upon installation, was told that the service was not available.

My neighborhood was not deemed a marketable area and therefore not given the benefit of BB service. After Metricom shut down, I just bit the bullet and accepted dialup as the option for the time being. Now that BB is available in the area, I am going to reconsider.
posted by lampshade at 6:55 AM on January 1, 2003


Shepd,

Either find wireless internet in your area

The pisser is that it simply does not exist where I live. Sad but true. This is why I lamented the demise of Metricom. At least there was wireless ISDN at that time. Now, I am dependent on NYC Wireless if there is an available node near where I live.

Unfortunately, I truly have an apt in that exact spot which is "in the middle of everything and next to nothing". See the link to the map in the previous post. See the M1-2 just south of park....that is where I live and there ain't crap here. Hell, I cannot even get decent cell phone reception here!

Ahhhh, the dilemma. If it was not for one of those fabled cheaparoonie apartments, I would have moved long ago. Well I guess you get what you pay for.

I only pay 550/ month. Then again, my kitchen has a mysterious slant to it and the G Train runs underneath my bedroom. hmmmmm. Mom is not happy to say the least. And she does not give a crap about BB.
posted by lampshade at 7:41 AM on January 1, 2003


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