Img_3724_large

John Williams

I am a single-pixel spacer gif. @thudfactor

Just Like Starting Over

I was wading in the New River this weekend when I got an automated email message saying my web site was down. The New River is huge and ancient. It's the third oldest river in the world. And it's been in my metaphorical back yard for about eleven (non-continuous) years, but this weekend was the first time I had actually ever touched the water while it was still in the actual river.

Silvrback blog image
My son, standing in the New River where it passes through Radford, Virginia.

I checked the site and got an error message saying my database was down, so I figured what I needed to do was log in and restart the database. But I couldn't just then because I didn't have the tools, not that I really wanted to anyway. I was touching the New River for the first time.

Also I had just gotten word from the hospital that my blood tests said I was sick. Not "you have three months to live" sick, but the kind of sick that means I'll never be able to order in a restaurant again without second-guessing myself. I can only worry about so much at a time, so I queued the "website is down" worry for when I got home.

Nothing I did at home worked. I could not log into the server, I could not ping the server, I could not hard-reboot the server. That's when I discovered that I was not alone; this was a more general outage from my web host.

A few hours later, my web host delivered the bad news. My web site had passed on. They were unable to recover it. Of course, I could restore from a backup. In web development, failing to make backups is a mortal sin that places your site at risk of the True Death.

Oh Lord, I am a sinner.


Truth be told, I'm not entirely broken up about the loss. I have probably spent more time over the last two or three years tweaking the server, playing with performance settings, and monkeying with stylesheets than I actually have writing. And when faced with the prospect of rebuilding the server, recovering posts from old drafts and database dumps and email messages, I just … couldn't. I do that kind of stuff all day. I think I am over doing it as a hobby.

Admitting that probably means I won't get a job in San Francisco, but I'm not moving there anyway.

So here I am starting over on a hosted service. and this is the first post from someone who has been blogging for twelve years. I should probably make backups.