Between 8:20 a.m. and 9 a.m., Twitter completely crashed, leaving many users devastated and distraught. We desperately cast about for answers in the bittersweet shelter of other social networks, begging our Facebook friends and our Tumblr followers for an answer to the long-lasting outage. An error page brought no relief: “Whole server runtime (in this case Ruby engine) is down and web server send raw code to client browsers,” a helpful commenter attempted to clarify, but we still had no idea what % = reason actually meant. It was a rough 40 minutes.
The service came back up a few hours ago, but Twitter hadn’t explained itself until now. So what happened? Was it a hacker attack? Olympic overload?
Twitter’s big Thursday afternoon crash (ongoing for us as of 1:20 p.m. EDT) produced a weird landing page that sent Tumblr users into a screencapping frenzy, in part because unless you’ve programmed in or studied Ruby on Rails, the programming language upon which Twitter was originally built, you probably won’t recognize blank Ruby variables like “<%= reason %>” or “<%= deadline %>.”
Reactions ranged from Debby in Germany, who took the opportunity to abuse Twitter with profanity:
It appears that the Internet is greatly enjoying fucking with us today. Earlier this morning, Gchat experienced an outage, and as of 20 minutes ago, Twitter went dead. Strangely, obsessively refreshing does not fix the problem, and yields only a sad “This webpage is not available” message from our browser of choice (Chrome, duh).
The Twitter Status blog updated 19 minutes ago with the following message:
Users may be experiencing issues accessing Twitter. Our engineers are currently working to resolve the issue.
Seven users have somehow managed to tweet this message, through a method we can only describe as black magic.
A considerable amount of sweat, time, and pain goes into training for the New York City marathon. Or so we hear from the safety of our couch. Roughly 140,000 people applied for 50,000 spots for this year’s event. The odds of getting to compete are particularly harrowing for local runners as the marathon has turned into a global “Olympic-style” weekend.
Thus probably the most crucial time to have your website up-and-running was during the lunchtime drawing of lottery winners this past Wednesday. Unfortunately, the New York Road Runners site was down until about 6pm that evening, leaving the nonprofit’s 65,000 members searching for a list of accepted applicants in excruciating suspense. Hopefuls had to check their bank accounts to see if they’d been charged the entry fee in order to find out. NYRR wasn’t entirely unprepared, however. Crain’s reports that site began selling hats and t-shirts with the words “You’re In,” that morning.