Wednesday, June 19, 2019

How reliable is shared web hosting?

On Monday, June 19, 2019, Bluehost, which hosts my four Wordpress blogs, started getting timeouts through Sitelock and soon I could not log on to the hosting account.  I called the tech support and they told me that 900 servers were down!

The outage lasted 11 hours and was noted on downdetector.  One other site, “isitidownnow” which does pings, noted non-responsiveness for about two hours before the pings would work.

The outage happened very shortly after controversial news on major media about US covert cyber war against Russia behind Trump’s back.  You can imagine the rumors.

This problem sounds more like a spanning tree topology problem, which had occurred at this company in December 2016. A misconfiguration can cause a network to start looping and stop responding. It reminds me of the dreaded java “thread death”.

If the server you are on had to be replaced by the host, you might have to wait a few hours for repropagation of your new IP address to work.

The company’s twitter support account is not monitored late at night.  I messaged them at the start of its early morning shift, and the person who answered at first seemed not to know about the large outage.

I found a couple of interesting articles on hosting companies.

Here is one on how shared hosting works, and with some advice on outages.
Generally, hosting companies don’t get involved in censorship except for specific AUP violations (which now includes violating FOSTA, as well as running illegal pharmacies and sometimes selling weapons).  But after Charlottesville, Godaddy and other hosts became sensitive to activist complaints about hosting white supremacist content, and this problem may well be spreading.
Here is one about Endurance, which owns many hosts silently.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Tim Pool warns job seekers: going "woke" on Twitter will keep you from having almost any decent job, and Twitter followers are not useful "dark money"

Tim Pool, in a video today talking about Think Progress, talked about Subverse’s hiring.

He gave a stern warning to applicants for anything in media to watch their social media, especially Twitter, at about 9:25.

He warns people about becoming “woke warriors” destroying their own personal credibility when they play the clickbait game with tweets (or Facebook posts) that they personally don’t even believe. 

Twitter followers won’t pay your rent, he says.

I’ve talked about online reputation and employment a lot on my blogs ever since I started them.  I made a very important post about the founding of “Reputation Defender” on Nov. 30, 2006 on my main blog. The idea of online reputation and its effect on the workplace started to develop around 2000, when a few employers started announcing “blogging policies”.  I wrote a controversial piece in March 2000 on my old hppub site that I recently republished here

Heather Armstrong founded her site “dooce” after she was fired in 2002 by a software developer for blogging about her own workplace.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

YouTube could limit monetized journalistic videos to "trusted providers" and set up a contractor interview process to "hire" them.

The suddenness (after several erratic moves in response to a “feud” between two personalities on YouTube”) of YouTube’s announcement of a new content policy, especially with respect to monetization this week (Wednesday, June 5) was shocking to the whole Vlogger community. There was even a news embargo until about 1 PM EDT, at which time numerous journalists and account holders were told that their accounts were demonetized and some specific videos taken down by email immediately.

YouTube, however, had in the past said that it expected in the future to have to restrict even the uploading of videos, in Europe and maybe everywhere, to “trusted providers” as a result of the EU’s “Article 17” (part of its Copyright Directive for the Digital Common Market) to “trusted provider” because it would be treated by EU law as a publisher, not as a utility platform with downstream liability protection.  Of course, it’s curation of content in the US raises questions as to whether it could eventually lose its Section 230 protections from downstream liability here.

It’s the “trusted provider” idea that I want to focus on.  It seems logical that YouTube could contemplate an interview process where someone applies to become a content provider.  The interview could be done by a committee of separate trusted third parties who are supposed to be ideologically neutral and international. 

Perhaps individual content providers would have to travel to a Google location (near Mountain View CA, or New York City, or Charlotte, or one of a number of other cities, similarly in Europe).  Providers could be given a written test to see if they understand the rules.  They could be deposed as to their intentions, particularly with journalistic filming of disturbing or possibly violent demonstrations in public spaces.

The system needs journalists who operate separately from corporate and union structures, as a check on larger companies to make sure they cover everything.  We saw what happened in January with the “Covington Kids”.

The end result, however, is that if you want to make a living as an independent journalist, you will need to “pay your dues” and show good faith somehow.  That might even extend eventually to offering content for free (essentially) as I do most of the time.   There would be more independent publishers than established companies (even in the EU, where copyright is so strict), maybe ten times as many; but still you would have to “prove yourself” to “get published” and show you could produce content that would attract decent analytics and that advertisers were reasonably comfortable with. This could also lead to revival of individual media perils insurance (as a requirement). 
So a journalist who makes a living this way would in a sense be a bit like a contractor in today’s employment world.  That might be resisted (look at the situation with Vox and its union) but in the long run it is a little bit like the world of IT professionals with W2 gigs that became common after 2001.
There would also be a possibility (however chilling this sounds) that the interview process could look at “social credit” in the sense of previous volunteer service or community engagement.  But this sounds a but like what China would do, and guess what, you don’t have objectivity when you have coerced activity first.  Or maybe you need some of this to know what shoes the people you report about and film really walk in.  Remember the idea of “no spectators”.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

John Stossel: women may be better off if paid family leave is not mandatory

John Stossel and Reason RV take on the arguments for mandatory paid family leave.  He calls it a "fairy tale", like Grimm's. 

Only the United States and New Guinea don’t mandate some form of paid family leave among larger employers.  But in Europe, where everyone does, women have a harder time getting hired to better paying jobs.  

Logically, it would seem that if paternity leave were mandatory, that would balance that problem.

Stossel also discusses Rubio's proposed "Cradle Act" which would allow workers to borrow compensation from future Social Security benefits. 
Trump at one time had supported only paid maternity leave.
Stossel covers how most major employers are voluntarily offering paid family leave to attract better employees. And what about the childless? 

Sunday, June 02, 2019

John Fish describes "10 Years of Code in 10 Minutes"

John Fish, who has finished his sophomore year at Harvard, offers us a summary of “learning to code”, “10 Years of Code in 10 Minutes”.

He started coding at age 10, in grade school in Waterloo, Ontario. All the coding projects were in scripting languages, which are very terse compared to older mainframe languages like COBOL and FORTRAN.  Many of the projects were game-like.  His first exercise was learning to code HTML

Toward the end, he gets a summer job at Shopify, for which I think he has another video.

The change in style of coding (particularly OOP) helps explain the difficulties older professionals may have in the changing job market, but is also helps explain the loss of the experience base in really big financial systems requiring mainframe, which severely affected the implementation of Obamacare.