Monthly Archives: October 2014

Early Instagram

Medium: “9am: Kevin and I panic as our tiny server crumbles under the weight of our first-day traffic.”

In this day of large scale systems it’s hard to believe Instagram launched with a single server, which promptly melted down under the strain.

On Wednesday, October 6, 2010, Instagram launched its mobile photo sharing service for iPhone. In six hours, the back-end operation, which was running off a single machine in Los Angeles, was completely overwhelmed.

That’s from a 2011 Mashable article. I’d love to know how many boxes Instagram runs off of today. This stuff fascinates me.

@BestBuy and @Verizon, a match made in Hell

You can’t make this crap up.

I have to be away from home tonight, it happens. I charged my Verizon JetPack and stuffed it into my bag, along with my Mac and all the charging cables I’d need (it’s amazing how many), and headed out.

Before leaving town I stopped by Best Buy because they have good deals on prepaid data cards, my JetPack is pay as you go. This was mistake number one. I asked the lady behind the counter if the card I picked up would work with a Verizon MiFi (JetPack), she replied “Yes” so I purchased the card and got on the road.

After settling in for the night I grabbed the JetPack and fired it up. This is a real hold your breath moment with this device. I’ve used it about a dozen times and something always goes sideways. Tonight was no exception. After the browser pops up and does its connecting thing I get a message that says it can’t update my account and I should dial an 800 number. Fine. I call the number and figure I need to give them the numbers off the prepaid card to get things going. The machine on the other end of the phone gives me the option so I type in the numbers on the back of the card, get confirmation it worked, and hang up.

It still doesn’t work. I dial the 800 number back and wait for 30-minutes before a tech support representative answers the line. I tell him what’s going on and he informs me that the card I purchased won’t work with my JetPack, it’s only for phones. Mental note, Best Buy employees are full of baloney. Great. I thought I got a great deal on 3GB of data, turns out my money can be applied to the JetPack, but it only buys me 128MB of data. Good grief.

The technician says he can apply my purchase to my account and get me going. After the shock of learning how little data my $20 will buy me I ask him to apply it to my account.

The tech says something like “Oh, um, it’s not going to let me do it. Our system won’t let me do it and I don’t want to mess up your account any further.” What the heck does that mean? How can you mess up my account? And further, what’s this further stuff? Is it already messed up?

So mistake number one: trusting Best Buy. Mistake number two: buying a Verizon JetPack. Maybe that was mistake number one and trusting Best Buy was mistake number two? Either way, here I sit, no data connection and plenty of work that needs doing (no, I don’t have tethering on my phone account.)

Maybe tomorrow morning I can get a connection down at the coffee shop.

Close to Home

NY Times: “PORTERVILLE, Calif. — After a nine-hour day working at a citrus packing plant, her body covered in a sheen of fruit wax and dust, there is nothing Angelica Gallegos wants more than a hot shower, with steam to help clear her throat and lungs.”

Porterville is not far from us. I’ve heard estimates of 60-days of water for Visalia residents.

It’s been a serious situation for a long time. It’s now escalated to dangerous.