Glitch in the matrix

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David Byron

David Byron is a software developer working for the military-industrial complex. At Popehat, he writes about art, language, theater (mostly magic), technology, lyrics, and aleatory ephemera. Serious or satirical poetry spontaneously overflows from him while he's recollecting in tranquility. @dcbyron

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24 Responses

  1. Paranoid Android says:

    Given the content of your post just prior to the servers going down, any bets it was an over-zealous DHS investigator that had your server pulled, all data copied, and a trace system installed? Or am I just being paranoid?

  2. ... says:

    Sounds like some high quality hosting!

  3. That Anonymous Coward says:

    Maybe they didn't want to admit that the source of the problem was Bob from accounting getting hammered at lunch, deciding to sleep it off in that warm room with the wires and he rolled over to fast.

  4. Panzersage says:

    Too late my short attention span has led me to greener pastures. I now get all my blog posts from Overlawyered.

    *Goes to overlawyered*

    Top post is a link back to Ken's article on the football game bullying.

    Well played internet.

  5. TJIC says:

    ( This koan is attributed to Tom Knight, one of the primary developers of the Lisp machine at MIT )

    A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on.

    Knight, seeing what the student was doing, spoke sternly: "You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong."

    Knight turned the machine off and on.

    The machine worked.

    I worked with Tom Knight once, but inexcusably I never asked him about this.

  6. Ghost says:

    I'm with paranoid android. I'm getting my tin foil hat out the closet…

  7. Dion starfire says:

    @PA Do you really think the feds would be dumb enough to go after the blog of a widely read lawyer with a penchant for exposing abuse of police authority and strong feelings about civil rights?

    *thoughtful pause*

    That's a good question, actually.

    (paraphrasing of actual quote from "Security Now" a weekly crypto computer security podcast)

  8. Hulinut says:

    Don't forget the metal coat hangers for hanging from the ceiling

  9. Eric Holder says:

    CWT: Cleared While Testing

  10. dfbaskwill says:

    My money is on the Trilateral Commission, rogue elements of the Federal Reserve, Plumbers or a bored 13 year-old Chinese hacker.

  11. Dan says:

    From my perspective as someone who works in IT, I would guess this means either (1) they cannot figure out what happened or (2) it was their fault and they don't want to admit it or (3) both.

  12. htom says:

    No one talks about the DHS Inquisition.

    TJIC — I had a boss who could do that trick. He claimed it was a consequence of inhaling too much Magic Blue Smoke. I think it was because he did understand the machine (and just wasn't telling us.)

  13. Trebuchet says:

    A minute ago Freethought Blogs was down so I came here and saw this thread. I was going to post about it being some sort of conspiracy, NSA having moved on from Popehat to FTB, but now FTB is back up. Clearly the NSA is monitoring what I do and trying to head me off at the pass when I'm going to expose them.

    Either that or the singularity has happened and the computers are messing with us.

  14. Trebuchet says:

    Well nuts. I tried to edit that previous one and the edit window timed out while I was typing. Oh well.

  15. Jack Leyhane says:

    @Panzersage — your comment was comedy gold.

  16. Bastardo Viejo says:

    " (a) they could not find a problem and didn't know what we were on about, and (b) they fixed it and were glad to help."

    Coining the texting acronym: FY!YW! (Fuck you! You're welcome!)

  17. norahc says:

    The feds probably pulled a Lavabit and installed a pen trap on the server…

  18. Tom says:

    You paranoids are funny. The ISP was too embarrassed to admit that one of their techs unplugged the wrong network cable. "Nope! Server's been up and running this whole time… probably your imagination."

  19. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    It's always useful to remember that the vast majority of people who work with computers (and I include myself) have very little idea of how they work. They know just about enough to do their jobs so long as nothing goes wrong, and most of what they do when things do go wrong amounts to efforts to placate the Spirits of the Magic Box.

    I believe that this is why so many government entities that are supposed to keep confidential information repeatedly spew it out to random locations on the internet; they simply don't know how NOT to.

    This is also one of the reasons that I don't take the threat of Facial Recognition Software more seriously. I find it hard to imagine that a computer program that complicated plus standard government employees does not equal A Ginormous Clusterf*ck.

    Indeed, as the Post Office relies more and more on computers, I am astonished that so much of my mail actually gets to where it is supposed to.

  20. Cliff says:

    If you think the law is complex and fiddly, just try understanding how complicated for me to be typing this message on a phone being transferred to your devices all round the world in fractions of a second is. It's a miracle. It's insanely complicated. What's happening inside a single chip in the chain is beyond what most people could understand, and when you're talking about electrons trapped in infinite potential wells you lose even more.

    Do you +need+ to know just how complicated it is? Actually it's probably beneficial to reflect on it for a moment. There are millions, billions of points of potential failure the whole way down the chain. Once in a while, entropy ensures that something misbehaves, and it might be that $30 router in the back of the chipboard that nobody touched for years because the lights were blinking and nobody knew what it was connected to. It might get hot, and shut down temporarily to avoid meltdown. Some traffic gets lost and re-sent (systems are resiliently designed, this is expected), but some automated routing table somewhere updates that this route is no longer preferred, and when the seemingly unrelated cupboard door is wedged open again the box returns to life and traffic can route.

    Things like that happen all the time. When my wireless broadband doesn't work, after elementary debugging to check the problem isn't me, I respect just how unlikely it was to ever work, and be impressed that it is up 99%+ of the time.

  21. Ehud says:

    David – while doing routine work near your server they accidentally partially pulled out the power cord. Nobody noticed because it didn't come all the way out.

    When you complained they eventually got to it, pushed it in, realized that it was their fault, reported no trouble found… and there you go.

  22. LordOChaos says:

    There have always been ghosts in the machine..

  23. norahc says:

    You paranoids are funny. The ISP was too embarrassed to admit that one of their techs unplugged the wrong network cable. "Nope! Server's been up and running this whole time… probably your imagination."

    I was being facetious.

  24. cbcalvin says:

    Years ago, whenever there was a network problem, we would call the phone company (there can be only one). The technician would take the ticket and after a while would call back. "We ran some tests, no trouble found". Mystically, the line would start working. I am thinking Heisenberg and cats found dead.