Wednesday, December 31, 2003

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Being Andrew Sullivan on New Year's Eve

Morning: The Blogger follies continue. I can't access Blogger's main page at home. I go to the office, and try again -- but nothing happens. I try accessing Oxblog and I get the classic "page cannot be displayed" link. Same with every other blogspot page.

Shrugging my shoulders, I knock on Jacob Levy's office and give him the Blogger lament. He tries to log on and succeeds without a hitch.

I eye him and his computer coldly. No one else is in today. Who would really miss Jacob? True, his office is not as messy as the story he linked to. It's not among the six messiest offices in the University of Chicago. But it's messy enough for him to be "lost."

I snap back to reality and try the machines in the student computer cluster. Sure enough, I'm able to log on without a hitch. I quickly cut and paste my two posts for the day.

Afternoon: After a few days of being Andrew Sullivan, I intuitively sense he'd drink a fair amount on New Year's Eve. I go purchase alcohol.

I have a strong hunch that Andrew Sullivan will have a late morning tomorrow as well.

posted by Dan on 12.31.03 at 09:18 PM


You're being too hard on yourself.

I know how the Internet works, and it took me an hour to wonder why one machine in my home could access the site a few days ago, but another could not. Answer: the machines used different name servers to resolve, which sounds like what happened when you wandered into your friend's office.

If you still want to chat about how screwed up this is, we can arrange an IM session for rapid fact exchange. --- Mark

posted by: Mark Petrovic on 12.31.03 at 09:18 PM [permalink]

Let me explain this DNS/nameserver issue a bit.

Web sites are specified by host names. Host names are resolved into IP addresse by name servers (DNS servers). A host name has one or two "authoritative nameservers" that provide the IP address for their concerned hostnames to other nameservers that ask for the address resolution.

Once a nameserver that is not authoritative for a hostname gets an IP address, it can hold onto (cache) the response for a length of time specified by the TTL (time to live). So if you ask this nameserver for the IP address for a host for which it has a cached answer, it gives you the answer out of its cache, and it will continue to give this answer out of its cache for a length of time equal to the TTL. When the TTL expires, that nameserver will return, when asked by your browser, essentially, to the authoritative nameserver again to get the IP address of the host in question.

Your machine appears to have been handed back a cached address during your 'frustrated' period, while your friend's nameserver did not have a cached address - so his nameserver went to the authorititave server to get the address --- which was apparently the address blogger was then using.

Addresses appear to be changing at -- that's my diagnosis. After a length of time TTL, all nameservers on the Internet will then be handing out the same address for the given hostname - a few other things being equal, which I won't go into.

Are you saying that more than just's address has changed in the last 24 hours or so??

posted by: Mark Petrovic on 12.31.03 at 09:18 PM [permalink]

I'll drink to that!

posted by: Sissy Willis on 12.31.03 at 09:18 PM [permalink]

Andrew Sullivan took almost forever to connect today.
But about that story Jacob was linked to :
When I was in Brazil, not as a tourist but to live with my Brazilian wife, I not only had to have my fingerprints taken for the Federal Police but had to have another set taken for the local civil police.
As for human rights...well

posted by: Barry on 12.31.03 at 09:18 PM [permalink]

I don't know if this is relevant, or if it is explained in one of the comments - because they are written in a language with which I am unfamiliar - but, for a couple of days now, attempts to reach are met with the following statement: is updating. Please check back in five minutes.

posted by: mike davidson on 12.31.03 at 09:18 PM [permalink]

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