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You know that whole thing about switching the site over this AM and the fragility of meatbots? Funny story… — Gareth

Hello everyone,

I’ve been dragged out from beneath my desk to write this letter to you all, and then, I will crawl back there and not come out until I see my shadow, or don’t see my shadow, whichever comes last.

In my mind, I had imagined clouds — specifically, an AWS cloud whose virtual instances scaled easily and quickly under any traffic surges that came through from you, dear readers. I imagined myself a hero amongst you, lifted on a golden palanquin, paraded around the office. I’d never have to worry about the stability of our blogs again, and I’d be awash in good cheer and huzzahs from every corner.

Instead, my dreams, and the servers, were crushed under the relatively feather-weight traffic of our user base at 12am-3a; they spewed rude errors at me, and repeatedly died. I wish I had a video camera for these moments — the log files reflected in my eyes, wide with horror, witnessing the servers gasp their last and fall silent. I felt like I was watching Rome burn.

So, we have rolled the changes back — you might have noticed some interruption in service for an hour or two. And as tempted as I was to flee the country for some sun-filled paradise, I instead took a deep breath, sharpened my proverbial pencil, and have skulked back to the drawing board.

If you wish to offer me a kind word (unlikely) or stick pins (more likely), you can, as always, reach me at [email protected] We’ll try this exercise again real soon, hopefully with happier results.

Best,

Stefan Antonowicz

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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