Lights out

Funny things happen when online services we all depend on go down, as much of Google did for a bit on Friday. We all scramble to get stories up, alerting everyone to the fact that this online service they depend on has gone down. You know, just in case they didn't notice. Our inbox floods with tips saying that this online service we all depend on has gone down. We rush over to the Google Apps Status Dashboard to see what's the matter, but it's usually not updated quickly enough for our liking, and even then with only minimal information.

Patience is hard, I know.

Ask anyone who makes their living online, and there's little worse than down time — especially if there's nothing you can do but stay out of the way. We poke fun at the failure in different ways (I do think the "Google+ went down and nobody noticed" jabs were easy and dumb), but, let's be honest here — that's just for attention-seeking on Twitter. "Look how clever we can be while everyone's talking about this thing!!!"

We're as guilty of it as anyone, of course. And it's not that outages aren't serious. They cost time, money and trust. But they will, from time to time, happen. On the micro level, I'm always amazed at the dedication and determination of our own Mobile Nations tech team when the lights go out. (I don't usually understand half of what they're saying, but it's fascinating to listen to.) That the failure technically only lasted 35 minutes (though the residual effect was felt throughout the day for many of us) but affected services worldwide is sobering. 

Google's explanation for what happened is worth reading. It takes a little time to identify, confirm and determine the best way to explain it to customers. Outages are frustrating. But my glass is very much half full these days, and I like to look at them as time to slow down. Take a break. And pray like hell that they don't happen too often.

A few other thoughts on the week that was:

  • I hated having to cancel Friday's podcast. But with Hangouts unreliable, I felt that was the better option. Also, it gave me a rare uninterrupted few hours for writing.
  • It's been interesting to see how our other Mobile Nations Android apps are doing. iMore leads Smartwatch Fans and CrackBerry in the number of active installations.
  • And for everyone asking, yes, we do plan to have some sort of combined app at some point. We only have so many developers, and so many hours in the day.
  • Still no ETA on the next update for the Android Central app, but work is underway. Be sure to join the beta group if that's your preferred track.
  • I've loved using the Moto X. But I'm starting to get an itch for whatever HTC has coming next. It's been a long time (closing in on a year) since I first saw the HTC One. In the smartphone world, that's an eternity. At least it feels like it.
  • And I still can't help but feel I don't use the Nexus 5 enough. But it's those little things — trusted Bluetooth devices, Active Display and Touchless Control — that make the difference for me.
  • I've been using a Nest for a couple weeks now. We're going to start paying more attention to the connected home — we've added a link to stories in our nav at the top of the site — since Google purchased Nest, and I'll have some more initial thoughts on the Thermostat this week.
  • We're a month away from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. I'm starting to have a feeling we're going to have to pay attention to Nokia.

That's it for now. Gonna hang out with the family today. Back to work Monday.