This is a public service announcement. If you, or anyone you know, emailed ACT or National last Friday, could you please resend the email? Seems they've gone astray. Lost. Dead. Deceased. Etc.
Yes that's right -- now that parliament has discovered email it's discovered they've gone missing. A catastrophic mail server failure resulted in bits all over the pavement. It's horrible.
To give Parliamentary Services its due, it was in the throes of upgrading the email service to a more robust (ie less flaky) platform.
But surely there should be more going on than just backups at the end of each day? What about a mirror? What about redundancy? What about a nice cuppa?
We shouldn't be too mean. Why it seems like only yesterday we were getting our requests for information rejected because they were emailed in rather than put "in writing". You know who you are.
One thing that does bother me about the whole thing, however, is how come nobody noticed? Surely if one of the big companies lost email connectivity for a couple of days and then lost a day's worth of message, there would be hell to pay? Perhaps parliamentarians still have a long way to go before email becomes an essential service. That might help explain the attitudes of some of the MPs I've met to anything technological.
If there's one thing you can say about reporting on the IT industry it's that not a day goes by where you don't discover an entire sub-section of the business that you never knew existed.
I give you bogons.
Not westie hoons with mullets, moustaches and motorbikes. I refer instead to IP addresses that have not yet been assigned.
Bogons, for those who have to know, comes from the term bogus -- as in "that's a bogus address" -- which was somehow mangled. Apparently. Feel free to correct me on that one.
Telecom has had to go to APNIC, the company that assigns new IP address blocks on behalf of IANA, the numbering authority that controls IP numbers, to ask for more. APNIC gave Telecom a block in the 222.x.x.x range and there the troubles began.
A number of servers around the world are still blocking the IP addresses Telecom was given because that's what you do with bogon addresses. They're not in use officially so you block them.
These servers run some of the world's most popular sites -- CNN, Google, Yahoo, Live Journal and so on. As of this morning CNN has finally realised that the address block is now assigned and is letting traffic through, but some of the others are still learning. Telecom is assigning the IP addresses to JetStream customers, so if you're like me on a fast connection you'll also not be able to see quite a large number of sites.
I'm not entirely sure how APNIC works; whether it has some kind of list of newly assigned IP addresses or whether it tells anyone about what's valid and what's a bogon or not. It seems to be a troubled organisation, to put it mildly. When I rang, the receptionist answered with "What?!" and things went downhill from there. The communications manager had resigned and won't be replaced. The only person who could answer my questions was ... the HR manager. No, really.
Needless to say, the HR manager was somewhat bemused when she finally rang me back. No, she couldn't explain the problem but she's sure find someone for me. I'm still waiting.
The problem isn't Telecom's per se. Sure, it affects Telecom customers and, as one wag suggested, the only way to avoid the problem is to avoid the 222.x.x.x block and the best way to do that is to downgrade your JetStream service to JetStream Starter and get your IP address from the ISP. The problem really lies with APNIC not telling the server owners that these addresses are live and legal.
Why do the servers block bogon IP addresses? It's our old friend the spammer again. Seriously, without them life would be much simpler, but then I'd have less to write about.
Meanwhile, Telecom tells me users are signing up for broadband services, mostly the new JetStream Surf 256 plans, at around 2000 per week. Will Telecom need to cheat at the end of the year and include the JetStream Starter users among broadband customers? We'll have to wait and see.
TVNZ's new look website may be live by now. Then again, it may not. It's just too close to call.
As you know, TVNZ decided to kill off its Nzoom website almost a year ago. It's taken some killing -- a stake through the heart and holy water it seems -- and has struggled on like a dinosaur that doesn't know it's dead for most of the year.
But finally, on Wednesday, TVNZ emerged from the creche and is up and toddling along.
Well it was until Thursday, when the whole thing came crashing down, bringing Nzoom with it.
It was there this morning. Go check it out.