Netflix Outage

Netflix was offline for nearly 24 hours — almost weeks in Internet time for a business whose entire existence is online. It was astonishing, at least to me, that a major Internet service could be disrupted for so long.

According to my people on the ground in San Francisco, a transformer explosion was the cause.

It’s a good reminder that the Net is more fragile than we might think.

UPDATE: the original source in California recants. The Netflix outage remains a mystery. Explanations are welcome.

Currently in the iRiver (7/2007)

Occasionally, I update my sidebar to reflect the current contents of my iRiver. Most people read this blog through the RSS feed, however, and never see the sidebar. So I thought I’d provide occasional snapshots here. Lately:

  • Fred Frith: Cheap at Half the Price and Rivers and Tides { Working With Time
    Two very different genre-evading albums (file under — alternative?). Rivers and Tides (the film) left an indelible mark on me, but the soundtrack stands alone. Cheap at the Half the Price is a good example of why we can probably get by for another few centuries just on music that’s already been made.
  • Petra Haden: The Who Sell Out
    Occasionally too cute, but mostly brilliant one-woman-voice-only remake of The Who album. This one also gets its own Wikipedia article. I’m also a big fan of her album with Bill Frisell. (File under — jazz?)
  • G. Love: Lemonade
    Who would have guessed the G. stands for “Good”? I recently went back and listened G. Love and Special Sauce. This one is much better. I’ll post two short clips when I have a minute.
  • Paul McCartney: McCartney and Memory Almost Full
    McCartney has been a solo artist for longer than I’ve been around. His first album includes at least two tracks that rival anything from the Beatles (one of which even has its own Wikipedia entry). His newest album is not quite as good, but really, it’s hard for McCartney to really go wrong. (Typically engrossing New Yorker profile.)
  • The White Stripes: Get Behind Me Satan
    Thanks to Steve for reminding me what a great song My Doorbell is.


My nomination for the best use of the phrase “a retarded ponens/tollens showdown”:

Here is what you do not do. You do not start with a mystifying conditional like “If the universe is only physical (or whatever), then there is no free will,” because how do you know that? You don’t. But you may think you do and so you get caught in a retarded ponens/tollens showdown: the universe is physical, ergo no free will, or… free will, so the universe is not physical. But, again, through what method of divination do we validate this conditional? None. Because we already know it is false.

JP Lantern Festival

From tonight’s Lantern Festival in Forest Hills Cemetery:

Lantern Festival

[Tags]Boston, Jamaica Plain, Lantern Festival[/Tags]

Best Simple Local Screenscraping Service Ever

As I sit here waiting for my 8:23am train, which actually will never come, I just discovered (“Where’s The T,” if you need it spelled out). This third-party site serves a no-frills, no tables, no graphics, no flash, sensibly organized list of MBTA interruptions. This is one of the best implementations I’ve seen of this sort of thing — absolute simplicity. I immediately added it to my cell phone bookmarks and Google Reader subscriptions.

More information from the creator.

Google Search Shortcuts

A very nice addition/complement to the search keys extension, google search with keyboard shortcuts. Just add &esrch=BetaShortcuts to your query string, e.g.. You can make it permanent from the Firefox search bar by editing google.xml to add:

<Param name=”esrch” value=”BetaShortcuts”/>

Google Search Shortcuts

Earlier: search keys extension for patent search.