David Shepherd: News Blog

Journalist's Notebook

Facebook Management Apologizes to Users for Massive Outage

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Friday, September 24, 2010

Facebook issued an apology Friday for an error that left millions of users without service this week.

In a blog post, Facebook’s Robert Johnson said, “This is the worst outage we’ve had in our four years, and we wanted to first of all apologize for it.”

The outage lasted for close to 3 hours, starting about 2:30 p.m. ET Thursday.  It is unrelated to an outage Wednesday, when  a third-party network provider shut the site down.  Users reported slow service or no service at all for several hours.

“We had entered a feedback loop that didn’t allow the databases to recover,” Johnson wrote. “The way to stop the feedback cycle was quite painful — we had to stop all traffic to this database cluster, which meant turning off the site.

“Once the databases had recovered and the root cause had been fixed, we slowly allowed more people back onto the site.”

The outage is being described as larger than the massive outage that hit the site nearly 5 years ago.  When that happened, the site had about 1.4 percent of the users it has now.

“We want you to know that we take the performance and reliability of Facebook very seriously,” Johnson wrote Thursday.

Facebook’s outage sent many users to Twitter who “tweeted” about the outage; many outraged over the service being down.

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September 24, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events, Polls | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BREAKING NEWS: Judge Orders Air Force to Reinstate Discharged Lesbian

A U.S. District Judge entered a ruling Friday ordering the Air Force to reinstate former Maj. Margaret Witt, who was discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that bars gays from serving openly in the military.

 Witt filed a lawsuit to get her job back. 

NBC News is reporting, in 2008, a federal appeals court panel ruled in her case that the military can’t discharge people for being gay unless it proves their firing furthered military goals.

After a six-day trial, the judge said testimony proved Witt was an outstanding nurse and her reinstatement would do nothing to hurt unit morale.

September 24, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

State of Emergency! Floods Submerge Midwest Towns

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Friday, September 24, 2010

Photo from CNN.COM

Severe flooding is gripping parts of the Midwest as torrential rains force rivers to overflow, submerging entire towns.

The worst of the weather stretches from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa, where flood warnings continue to be in effect.  Evacuations are still going on in several towns as forecasters predict flooding could be a problem through the weekend.  Water from swollen rivers and streams will continue to push southward, pushing rivers over their banks.

Governors in Minnesota and Wisconsin have declared a state of emergency for areas affected by the flooding.

Schools remained closed in many flooded-out towns in the Midwest Today.

In Black River Falls, Wisconsin, a Red Cross shelter has been set up at a local church to house the evacuees.  KARE-TV reports 11 inches of rain fell there as 18 counties in Minnesota continue under the flood warnings.

September 24, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WALK OUT! Ahmadinejad’s U.N. Speech

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Friday, September 24, 2010

Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, addressed the United Nations Thursday. His remarks prompted a walkout.

United States diplomats walked out of the United Nations Thursday as Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke to the General Assembly. 

Sources tell NBC News Ahmadinejad’s remarks, in which he said most people in the world believe the United States was behind the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, prompted the walkout.

27 European Union delegations followed along with diplomats from Canada, Costa Rica, New Zealand and Australia.

Friday, Ahmadinejad held a press conference to defend his remarks.  During that conference in New York, the Iranian President asked the U.N. to set up a commission to investigate the 9/11 attacks.

“I did not pass judgment, but don’t you feel that the time has come to have a fact finding committee,” Ahmadinejad told reporters earlier today.

NBC News reports he also lashed out at the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as an overreaction to the attacks. The Americans should “not occupy the entire Middle East…bomb wedding parties…annihilate an entire village just because one terrorist is hiding there.”

President Barack Obama responded to Ahmadinejad in a BBC Persian service interview Friday saying: “Well, it was offensive. It was hateful.”

September 24, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment