Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hubble, Bubble, Toil & Trouble

With my apologies to the late great William Shakespeare, we have just come through a trying time. Those of you who have tried to visit our website and instead found error pages or error messages will have felt some of the frustration along with us.

It started with reports that some visitors from South Africa could not access our website. Try as we might, we could not find for certain where the problem was. It only affected some and not others but we knew there was a problem to sort out. Internet techs and computer geeks on both sides of the Atlantic tried to find the problem without success. My conclusion was that there was a breakdown in connection between a router in Northern Virginia and our ISP, not too far away.

For those who don't know these things (and probably also don't care), your computer talks to websites on the other side of the world with signals that travel at the speed of light and pass through up to 20 routers and the cables, microwaves etc that connect them. Each of those routers can be identified by IP address, owner, location etc so that we can find where a problem is, if we are lucky. So, I identified that my problem was probably with a particular router machine at a particular company in Andover, VA.

However, that bit of info did not solve the problem. Before I was able to arrange a fix, my website disappeared from the face of the earth, to be replaced by 404 Error Page messages where previously we had all those pretty pictures and lots of text to help you fall asleep. Its disappearance also sent 18-24 hours of emails flying off into cyberspace at a speed so fast that even the Hubble Telescope has no chance of spotting them, let alone ugly witches staring into a bubbling pot.

So, if you sent us any emails in the past day or two and have not had a response, please send them again. If you tried to visit us and have been concerned about the error pages, please visit again. We are still at the same address, although that address has magically moved from Virginia to Massachusetts, courtesy of the wonders of the web, some deft fingerwork on my keyboard and much head scratching to get it all to work properly. I have moved it to a company that is able to offer proper support when I need it.

If you see anything that is not working properly, I apologise. I cannot visit every page of my site to check that they are all working as intended but you guys will spot any problems. Please tell me if you see anything that I need to correct.

Thank you all, for staying loyal to us.