Thu Aug 31 11:12:12 PDT 2000 — (Updated) BroadLink Communications will be doing radio work and upgrades that will affect customer links this evening (Thursday). Between 9:30pm and 11:30pm, amplifier upgrades will be performed on the tower site in South-East Santa Rosa. Customers may experience a very brief interruption of service while the equipment serving their sector is changed. Last night BroadLink replaced the microwave link between Sonic.net and the tower sites with a new 100Mbps optical link. -Dane and BroadLink
Wed Aug 30 17:38:59 PDT 2000 — BroadLink Communications will be doing radio work and upgrades that will affect customer links this evening. Between 6pm and 9pm, amplifier upgrades will be performed on the tower site in South-East Santa Rosa. Customers may experience a very brief interruption of service while the equipment serving their sector is changed. Later, at midnight, BroadLink will be replacing the current microwave link between Sonic.net and the tower sites with a new 100Mbps optical link. Downtime is expected to be about fifteen minutes while this change is made. -Dane and BroadLink
Mon Aug 28 20:47:06 PDT 2000 — Earlier tomorrow (Tuesday) morning, at 2am, we will be shutting down the Cable & Wireless T3 while we swap some interface cards on our core router. This may cause intermittent loss of connectivity to the Internet for a minute or so while the routes converge on our UUNet circuit. -Scott
Mon Aug 28 19:14:06 PDT 2000 — We’re working on a few bugs in twig, our new web based email, newsreading and productivity package. Some users have reported twig has moved their email from the inbox into a mailbox ‘mbox’, and then they can’t retrieve the same email with POP. We haven’t been able to duplicate this trouble internally yet, but we’re looking at it! -Dane and Scott
Mon Aug 28 18:54:45 PDT 2000 — We will be upgrading interfaces in the core router tonight around 1am. This should not result in any interruption of services, as all the interfaces are hot swap. We will be taking the Cable & Wireless T3 offline for a little while during this upgrade, but we will leave the UUNet T3 online, so this should not affect customer Internet access. The upgrade includes testing of a new UUNet T3, plus the installation of a new channelized T3 card for serving customer T1 circuits.
As a side note, our new T1 service offering will allow us to provision true point to point full T1 circuits to customers in and near Santa Rosa for a total delivered cost of $999/mo. Get them while they’re hot – the channelized T3 interface will house 28 customer T1 circuits, so if you want one, order early. If you’re interested in ordering, email email@example.com and let us know. -Dane and Scott
Sun Aug 27 21:16:46 PDT 2000 — Problems with Guerneville and Occidental -9811 numbers. We’ve had a few lines in West Sonoma County come up with a recording ‘the service isn’t available on this line’ instead of carrier. We suspect a call routing problem to our Focal PRI’s here in Santa Rosa — either that, or the calls aren’t rolling from the -9811 numbers onto our two new Focal PRI’s.
In any event, the problem has cleared now, and we have submitted a request for ‘reason for failure’ from Focal. We’ll also be double-checking that all our Focal PRI’s are available to service -9811 calls. Finally, please note that this did not effect any number that _doesn’t_ end with -9811. -Scott
Sat Aug 26 23:06:59 PDT 2000 — Internal testing of our new web based email and application service is complete. Using ‘Twig’, you can send and receive email and manage email in folders in your home directory in a way that is compatible with other shell based email packages. It’s even got an email spell checker.
Twig also includes contact management, a to-do list, a note-pad, Usenet newsreading (read Sonic.net discussion groups from elsewhere on the net) and a calendar and appointment manager. While the tools are not as responsive as similar desktop applications like Outlook, the universal availability works great for people who use Sonic.net from many different PCs and locations.
This is our first deployment of what the industry is calling ‘application services’, so I suppose we’re now an ASP as well as an ISP. I would maintain that email, news, web hosting and the other things that we’ve been doing for years are all applications, and only those short sighted industry pundits who were recently un-shackled from their desk-tops and unleashed upon the Internet would believe that somehow deployment of a tool that’s similar to one found on the desktop moves you beyond being a simple ‘ISP’. Go figure.
Give it a try at the following URL. Let us know by posting to the sonic.help newsgroup if you find any bugs. You can find this group in the ‘News’ section within Twig. -Dane and Nathan
Thu Aug 24 16:50:35 PDT 2000 — We have deployed a new Cidera (formerly Skycache) service adaptor here for satellite reception of Usenet news. The new unit should resolve some stability problems we’ve had with the old one, and in addition, it has a third Ethernet port which is dedicated to feeding pre-loaded content for Akamai’s caches which are hosted here.
The Akamai servers locally host content here at Sonic.net for major online properties including Yahoo, CNN, Apple and many others, and having that content pre-loaded via satellite is an additional performance win. See www.sonic.net/expansion/akamai/ for details on Sonic.net’s Akamai powered partnership.
Akamai’s colocated servers serve heavy content including images and animations directly to Sonic.net customers. This means that the HTML code portion of the web page comes directly from the website you’re visiting, but special addresses in the HTML cause the images to be served locally here at Sonic.net. The images and other heavy content on the website will often be more than 80% of the total overhead, so serving this content locally is a big win.
The five Akamai machines split the workload of caching and serving up these files. Each system is built out with a full gigabyte of RAM for top performance, and caches all requests to save bandwidth and further reduce the time required to serve the page. This results not only in peak performance, but also in bandwidth savings on our upstream connections. -Dane and Kelsey
Thu Aug 24 16:46:49 PDT 2000 — Above.net has suffered cuts of multiple cross country fiber circuits in Widner, Georgia. As Above.net is the hosting location for many websites, you may notice some impact for these West coast based online properties. Supernews is hosted at Above.net, and we noticed some impact to the performance of our backup news services from them. Above.net reports now that all three circuits have been restored, and performance is returning to normal. -Dane
Thu Aug 24 14:01:45 PDT 2000 — Update: we are wrapping up the log analysis, and will send out a full list of lost emails to affected customers shortly. Meanwhile, for customers who are more technical, here’s details on the error that caused this.
We have a global procmailrc which controls delivery of email into customer mailboxes. This RC is identical across all servers, but had the ‘HOST’ tag set. We propagated a procmailrc file which contained the hostname for prop.sonic.net over to sub, ultra and buzz, and they began dropping email. This is documented in the procmailrc man page:
NAME procmailrc – procmail rcfile
HOST If this is not the hostname of the machine, processing of the current rcfile will immedi- ately cease. If other rcfiles were specified on the command line, processing will continue with the next one. If all rcfiles are exhausted, the program will terminate, but will not generate an error (i.e. to the mailer it will seem that the mail has been deliv- ered).
The host tag is used if multiple machines receive a message, which might be forwarded for example during another procmail delivery, but which some machines are intended to ignore. We have no use for the host tag, and it’s been removed from our configurations. -Dane and Kelsey