Rude Awakening
How It Looked to the Man Who Does the Work
Published: 1996-09-01

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(David Thomas is co-Webmaster of CODOHWeb, a businessman, golfer and raconteur.)

At just about the stroke of midnight, July 3/4, woke up in front of the computer screen where I’d been dozing for an hour or so, working on uploading new files to the CODOH World Wide Web site. It’s a common occurrence— both uploading and falling asleep doing it. After the initial thrill of publishing something for the entire world to read, the exercise reduces to what it is—repetitious and boring.

Flexed a little to remove the ache between the shoulder blades, which professional keyboard sleepers develop by unconsciously tightening the muscles there so the head stays upright and you don’t snap your neck when you doze off. Hazards and tricks of the trade.

Blearily tried to make contact with the server, formerly Valleynet and now in the process of changing over to ProtoSource Network, which created for us the great annoyance of changing our online address. To my surprise, contact could not be made. This is common when lines are busy, but it seldom happens late at night. Oh well, temporary problem, take care of it in the morning—though July 4th would probably be a busy and noisy day online.

Next morning, same thing—no access. Odd, but not panic time yet. As the day wore on, however, it became obvious something out of the ordinary had happened. Phone calls to Bradley resulted in his reaching a manager at the server. Rick Horowitz, who cryptically informed him that his account had been terminated without notice and that they didn’t have to give a reason!

These nice folks pulled their underhanded (and probably actionable) trick at the beginning of a long holiday weekend, leaving us with literally nowhere to go. We were, however, able to find one local service office open, and began setting up a new account. (ProtoSource not only terminated service, they also refused to grant the courtesy of letting us buy a one-month notice to guide readers to our new address when they dialed up the old. That’s as nasty as you can get in this business.)

This time we decided to buy a domain name, which means that the site address will not change again regardless of what server is used. The old address was http://www.valleynet.com/~brsmith, with ValleyNet being the name of the server. The new address is http://www.codoh.com—both simpler and server-independent.

To do this requires registering with InterNIC, which establishes and catalogs domain addresses. Our new server said this would take 4 days, which stretched into 7 days. Working days, that is.

Fortunately, we always keep a full backup of all the files. A lot of them had to be modified to change address references from old to new, tedious but straightforward.

An unexpected problem came up at the new server. Their entire staff is Asian, and English appears to be a second language for all. In many Oriental cultures, an outsider has to learn that expressions of assent—nods of the head or the word “yes”—have a slightly different meaning than with native English speakers. Occidentals take this to mean “I understand,” but the Oriental import is simply, “I am politely acknowledging that you have spoken” (and may not have a clue as to what you said). Even with an awareness of this, I was bit several times by it in the process of learning the new ropes with the new servers, requiring doing things three or four times over, due to multicultural misunderstandings as if we were ships passing in the night.

But the new guys were very competent and helpful, so we got through it all. Another barrier was hit on Friday night of the weekend following the cutoff, when all was supposed to be ready to go. Started the lengthy task of uploading over 10 megabytes of data files through the phone lines, and hit a stop at 2.5 megabytes. We had contracted for 25 megabytes and a phone call at 9:00PM Friday fortunately found Mickey, the main tech, working late. A decimal point had been missed. Got that fixed, but stumbled again on Saturday. Access problems. Another call during normal non-working hours got through to the electronics equivalent of a maintenance man. He saw that an access code needed to be turned on, but didn’t know how to do it, so the rest of that weekend was a vacation.

Come Monday, July 14, access was authorized, files were uploaded, and CODOH arose from the digital ashes to once again bring an important message to the world.

Visitor counters showed that our readers had indeed been cast adrift, but word of mouth, assistance from other revisionist sites, and a gradual updating of big directory pages on the Web (something like phone books for the Internet) began to bring reader volume up again. We still have a way to go. but will get there and continue to expand our reader base by continuing to provide the latest in news and information on revisionism. And with the lessons learned, this will not happen again. Forewarned is forearmed, and all that. (If you really had four arms, would uploading be fast enough so you wouldn’t go to sleep at the computer? Nah. Probably just go to sleep faster, too.)


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Author(s): David Thomas
Title: Rude Awakening, How It Looked to the Man Who Does the Work
Sources: Smith's Report, no. 35, September 1996, pp. 4f.
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Published: 1996-09-01
First posted on CODOH: Sept. 26, 2015, 7:21 a.m.
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