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PalmTalk down today?

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From around 11.30am (GMT+1) this morning until 9.30pm I was unable to connect to the forum. I cleared my cache, re-booted but still no luck. So I checked the status of www.palmtalk.org with a couple of websites:

Down For Everyone Or Just Me? and CheckSite.us - Site Check

Sure enough, both failed to connect.

post-1155-075669700 1294432638_thumb.png post-1155-033660500 1294432433_thumb.png

Can anyone confirm that the server has been going off-line?

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yep.

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When it came back up, there was a huge gap in the times between recent posts, like about 12 hours. But maybe everyone was busy doing something more productive for all those hours? Hmmm... :hmm: No, not this group! :rolleyes:

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yep.

Thanks, Paul. I personally would like to know when scheduled maintenance is being, you know.. scheduled!

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The server was down. I think Facebook attacked it.

When Dean wakes up, he can slap me around for that comment.

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When it came back up, there was a huge gap in the times between recent posts, like about 12 hours. But maybe everyone was busy doing something more productive for all those hours? Hmmm... :hmm: No, not this group! :rolleyes:

Good point, Kim. I have trouble anyway, figuring out what time it is in forum-land. biggrin.gif

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The server was down. I think Facebook attacked it.

When Dean wakes up, he can slap me around for that comment.

If it wasn't Facebook then it was probably Vanilla Ice. MattyB's fault in that case!

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The server was down. I think Facebook attacked it.

When Dean wakes up, he can slap me around for that comment.

Ha

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this is the funniest thread ever! :rolleyes:

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If it wasn't Facebook then it was probably Vanilla Ice. MattyB's fault in that case!

thwatchdrama8jm.gif

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I had to do, you know, "work" today!?!?!? Very disappointing :angry:

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yep.

Thanks, Paul. I personally would like to know when scheduled maintenance is being, you know.. scheduled!

There was no maintenance - scheduled or otherwise.

And you guys have to accept the fact that no site on the internet has functioned 24/7/365 without some type of connectivity issue - whether that is the server itself, the software, the webhost, your ISP, or anything in between, which is only several dozen routing "jumps." And it's a fact that your webmaster doesn't operate 24/7 either. You may take it all for granted, but I don't. I'm amazed it all works as dependably as it does. Even the "big boys" get knocked offline from time to time. Facebook goes offline for second day in a row

If you find that you are getting irritable and suffering withdrawals when you can't get your PalmTalk fix, I would suggest joining some kind of support group. And not one that is online. :)

.

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Naaah, just a Swine Flu

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Actually, I never got around to going on Palmtalk last night... So I just assumed it shut down without me bothering to be here..

Hi YO!.....

:D

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yep.

Thanks, Paul. I personally would like to know when scheduled maintenance is being, you know.. scheduled!

There was no maintenance - scheduled or otherwise.

And you guys have to accept the fact that no site on the internet has functioned 24/7/365 without some type of connectivity issue - whether that is the server itself, the software, the webhost, your ISP, or anything in between, which is only several dozen routing "jumps." And it's a fact that your webmaster doesn't operate 24/7 either. You may take it all for granted, but I don't. I'm amazed it all works as dependably as it does. Even the "big boys" get knocked offline from time to time. Facebook goes offline for second day in a row

If you find that you are getting irritable and suffering withdrawals when you can't get your PalmTalk fix, I would suggest joining some kind of support group. And not one that is online. :)

.

Dean, is PalmTalk configured correctly to display server error codes? I think it's a valid issue, because as you point out, the problem could be at either end. The difference being, that if it's a host problem then the public can easily be made aware. To me that's simple web etiquette. You know, if you ring someone's doorbell when you expect them to be in, it's only human nature to feel concerned. That's what server error information is for. It says, "Gone fishing - back in a while." Without actually knowing the cause though, it just creates unnecessary dialogue. smilie.gif

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Actually, I never got around to going on Palmtalk last night... So I just assumed it shut down without me bothering to be here..

Hi YO!.....

:D

Don't lie Bill, we know you now need therapy because you could not log on .... :floor:

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Dean, is PalmTalk configured correctly to display server error codes? I think it's a valid issue, because as you point out, the problem could be at either end. The difference being, that if it's a host problem then the public can easily be made aware. To me that's simple web etiquette. You know, if you ring someone's doorbell when you expect them to be in, it's only human nature to feel concerned. That's what server error information is for. It says, "Gone fishing - back in a while." Without actually knowing the cause though, it just creates unnecessary dialogue. smilie.gif

John,

We are on a dedicated server. Therefore if Apache has crashed, it is unable to display anything. Two of the last crashes were apparently due to exceeding the traffic limitations that are set in Apache. We do not know the cause of the one yesterday. There have been a rash of hackers trying to register for PalmTalk lately - more than 75 succeeded on Wednesday alone. And many more probably using resources while trying to do so. We are attempting to rectify the problem with some hardware upgrades, Apache settings, and some software tweaks to the Forum software to make registration more difficult to script.

In addition, PalmTalk itself is running with more than 100 guests and members on line much of the time - as opposed to 30-40 max about a year ago. And because many of those posting pics refuse to use the thumbnails, I believe this is also placing a larger drain on bandwidth.

In addition, during the very few times the webhost itself has suffered from downtime due to Denial of Service attacks or storm related emergencies, an error code would not have been available then either. If the phone line is "cut," don't expect to hear an explanation.

Remember, this is a free service offered by the IPS for your enjoyment at their expense, and with donated time and resources from others. So, for the handful of times a year that service may be interrupted, just relax and try back later. If you care to, drop me an email that I should receive on my iPhone if I am away from the computer. That way I may be aware of a problem sooner than I would otherwise. Be assured that we want PalmTalk running at all times as well, and are doing our best with the conditions and resources we have at our disposal.

FYI - at sometime in the next few days PalmTalk will be down for a max of about 15 mins for the installation of an additional Gig of RAM for the server. We will not be configuring and displaying an error message for that brief time.

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Part of the issue with the PT server is that it is a few years old and was built to handle about 100% growth. I doubt anyone expected the growth we have had since 3/2008 when PT went live on this server. Like Dean states, it went from 30 just last year. I am pretty sure it was around 20 - 25 when we started. With the more modern forum software Dean loaded and manages, spidering of the forum went nuts. The links on Google exploded and now almost anytime you type a palm name in Google, you get PalmTalk on page 1 to page 3. Hence the reason the "Guest" numbers are so high. Lots of lurkers. This coupled with the fact the forum now host the images itself and no longer forces you to use third party image dumps, it adds to the load. Then throw on top the fact the server is being bombarded with exploit attempts and abusive signup attempts, it can lead to what we have now.

John, this server is monitored 24/7 and anytime Ping or Apache goes down, someone is notified and Apache or the server itself is rebooted. The problem with DOS attacks is they can overload some Apache settings - like connection limits. When this happens, Apache does not report down, it is just basically 'frozen". So request to Apache show it is up with monitoring software.

The IPS is adding RAM to this server which should help. However the load might just be too much for the CPU and then from there a switch would need to be made. The good thing is Dean has kept the software up-to-date so a simple pulling of the hard drives and putting them into another more powerful server is all that needs to be done. So downtime is limited for those of you that can't sleep when Palmtalk is down.

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Or I could make it a point to at least visit palmtalk twice a day and therefore visit the server so it won't shut down when it misses me...

:blink:

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Len and Dean,

No need for explanations, or to defend the stats of Palmtalk, at least on my end. The uptime on this board is really pretty good, especially considering its nature. It's not like we are running a 9-1-1 system here. Keep up the good work.

Keith

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As this is my topic, I should like to point out that it is in no way about "poor service" or "value for money". I herald your work Dean, and Len, thank you for your brilliant input. As Dean and a few others are aware, I am also a web-master so I take an interest in these issues. I also hope that by mentioning as such, it might prove to be constructive in some way. I appreciate that it was less of a "big deal" for many of you in the US who were sleeping, and even for the Ozzies they probably just threw in the towel for the evening. For me, it was an all-day event. As a top-end (#28) contributor to PalmTalk, based in Europe, with an interest in the Web, it is always going to be me who questions these events first, but that's not to say I am unhappy. Anyone who knows me knows I like to help. I don't know enough about server-side issues so I won't comment, but it seems odd that bandwidth excess should occur in what is the wee-small hours of the morning for the US - or perhaps not?

Dean, if it is malicious, and if I can be of assistance in notifying you as soon as these events occur, them I'm more than happy to.

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but it seems odd that bandwidth excess should occur in what is the wee-small hours of the morning for the US - or perhaps not?

John,

Keep in mind that most, if not all, malicious and nefarious activity that I have been able to track down originates in Russia, and to a lesser extent from China, India, and parts of Africa. Unfortunately, as the world turns, this means the lion's share takes place long after those in the mainland USA are asleep, and after midnight for me as well in Hawaii. However, this also means that it is happening shortly before and during what I would assume to be your "prime time." Call it the luck of the draw. So in other words - during those times that any response time to this type of activity would probably be the slowest, but to you the most important.

FYI - The new series of "challenge questions" I have set up for the registration process seems to have helped the bogus registrations considerably. However, I would assume the bots will still be hitting the server attempting to gain access. And any spidering is taking place constantly.

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As this is my topic, I should like to point out that it is in no way about "poor service" or "value for money". I herald your work Dean, and Len, thank you for your brilliant input. As Dean and a few others are aware, I am also a web-master so I take an interest in these issues. I also hope that by mentioning as such, it might prove to be constructive in some way. I appreciate that it was less of a "big deal" for many of you in the US who were sleeping, and even for the Ozzies they probably just threw in the towel for the evening. For me, it was an all-day event. As a top-end (#28) contributor to PalmTalk, based in Europe, with an interest in the Web, it is always going to be me who questions these events first, but that's not to say I am unhappy. Anyone who knows me knows I like to help. I don't know enough about server-side issues so I won't comment, but it seems odd that bandwidth excess should occur in what is the wee-small hours of the morning for the US - or perhaps not?

Dean, if it is malicious, and if I can be of assistance in notifying you as soon as these events occur, them I'm more than happy to.

Yes. I too was in no way implying poor service. Just having a little fun. I have "glitches" on my computer at the office that make me want to pull my hair out sometimes. I can't even begin to immagine what it takes to run an entire network like you do. I think you do a stupendous job.

P.S.: I don't need therapy for my irratability, they have me on medication for that :mellow:

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As this is my topic, I should like to point out that it is in no way about "poor service" or "value for money". I herald your work Dean, and Len, thank you for your brilliant input. As Dean and a few others are aware, I am also a web-master so I take an interest in these issues. I also hope that by mentioning as such, it might prove to be constructive in some way. I appreciate that it was less of a "big deal" for many of you in the US who were sleeping, and even for the Ozzies they probably just threw in the towel for the evening. For me, it was an all-day event. As a top-end (#28) contributor to PalmTalk, based in Europe, with an interest in the Web, it is always going to be me who questions these events first, but that's not to say I am unhappy. Anyone who knows me knows I like to help. I don't know enough about server-side issues so I won't comment, but it seems odd that bandwidth excess should occur in what is the wee-small hours of the morning for the US - or perhaps not?

Dean, if it is malicious, and if I can be of assistance in notifying you as soon as these events occur, them I'm more than happy to.

Yes. I too was in no way implying poor service. Just having a little fun. I have "glitches" on my computer at the office that make me want to pull my hair out sometimes. I can't even begin to immagine what it takes to run an entire network like you do. I think you do a stupendous job.

P.S.: I don't need therapy for my irratability, they have me on medication for that :mellow:

Not sure how to take that, but I agree, Dean does a great job - and hope you get better soon! mrlooney.gif

It makes me wonder what motives exist in deliberately interrupting the service to a plant forum. Certainly no political motives I can think of. We are non-profit-making, and represent a cultured minority. What's to gain?

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I don't know enough about server-side issues so I won't comment, but it seems odd that bandwidth excess should occur in what is the wee-small hours of the morning for the US - or perhaps not?

This is part of the reason too many chefs in the kitchen is a bad thing. No one said the site was down due to bandwidth excess. Apache connection limits are not related.

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As this is my topic, I should like to point out that it is in no way about "poor service" or "value for money". I herald your work Dean, and Len, thank you for your brilliant input. As Dean and a few others are aware, I am also a web-master so I take an interest in these issues. I also hope that by mentioning as such, it might prove to be constructive in some way. I appreciate that it was less of a "big deal" for many of you in the US who were sleeping, and even for the Ozzies they probably just threw in the towel for the evening. For me, it was an all-day event. As a top-end (#28) contributor to PalmTalk, based in Europe, with an interest in the Web, it is always going to be me who questions these events first, but that's not to say I am unhappy. Anyone who knows me knows I like to help. I don't know enough about server-side issues so I won't comment, but it seems odd that bandwidth excess should occur in what is the wee-small hours of the morning for the US - or perhaps not?

Dean, if it is malicious, and if I can be of assistance in notifying you as soon as these events occur, them I'm more than happy to.

Yes. I too was in no way implying poor service. Just having a little fun. I have "glitches" on my computer at the office that make me want to pull my hair out sometimes. I can't even begin to immagine what it takes to run an entire network like you do. I think you do a stupendous job.

P.S.: I don't need therapy for my irratability, they have me on medication for that :mellow:

Not sure how to take that, but I agree, Dean does a great job - and hope you get better soon!

%7Boption%7Dhttp://www.palmtalk.org/forum/public/style_emoticons/default/mrlooney.gif[/

It makes me wonder what motives exist in deliberately interrupting the service to a plant forum. Certainly no political motives I can think of. We are non-profit-making, and represent a cultured minority. What's to gain?

John, we host over 30,000 websites. I can tell you politics has little to do with exploit attempts. It is about finding the usually easily exploitable software online and using simple scripts to break in. The issue is many free forum software are easily exploited so even script kiddies can attempt to exploit.

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I don't know enough about server-side issues so I won't comment, but it seems odd that bandwidth excess should occur in what is the wee-small hours of the morning for the US - or perhaps not?

This is part of the reason too many chefs in the kitchen is a bad thing. No one said the site was down due to bandwidth excess. Apache connection limits are not related.

Was I trying to pass advice or an opinion? I don't think I was. Whatever the limit breach, and thanks for clarifying that Len, the question was succinctly answered by Dean.

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As this is my topic, I should like to point out that it is in no way about "poor service" or "value for money". I herald your work Dean, and Len, thank you for your brilliant input. As Dean and a few others are aware, I am also a web-master so I take an interest in these issues. I also hope that by mentioning as such, it might prove to be constructive in some way. I appreciate that it was less of a "big deal" for many of you in the US who were sleeping, and even for the Ozzies they probably just threw in the towel for the evening. For me, it was an all-day event. As a top-end (#28) contributor to PalmTalk, based in Europe, with an interest in the Web, it is always going to be me who questions these events first, but that's not to say I am unhappy. Anyone who knows me knows I like to help. I don't know enough about server-side issues so I won't comment, but it seems odd that bandwidth excess should occur in what is the wee-small hours of the morning for the US - or perhaps not?

Dean, if it is malicious, and if I can be of assistance in notifying you as soon as these events occur, them I'm more than happy to.

Yes. I too was in no way implying poor service. Just having a little fun. I have "glitches" on my computer at the office that make me want to pull my hair out sometimes. I can't even begin to immagine what it takes to run an entire network like you do. I think you do a stupendous job.

P.S.: I don't need therapy for my irratability, they have me on medication for that :mellow:

Not sure how to take that, but I agree, Dean does a great job - and hope you get better soon!

%7Boption%7Dhttp://www.palmtalk....lt/mrlooney.gif[/

It makes me wonder what motives exist in deliberately interrupting the service to a plant forum. Certainly no political motives I can think of. We are non-profit-making, and represent a cultured minority. What's to gain?

John, we host over 30,000 websites. I can tell you politics has little to do with exploit attempts. It is about finding the usually easily exploitable software online and using simple scripts to break in. The issue is many free forum software are easily exploited so even script kiddies can attempt to exploit.

I agree it's a problem, and an interesting discussion! PalmTalk has come a long way and I hope the situation can be contained.

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It makes me wonder what motives exist in deliberately interrupting the service to a plant forum. Certainly no political motives I can think of. We are non-profit-making, and represent a cultured minority. What's to gain?

John,

The motive isn't to "deliberately interrupt service." The motive is to gain access and/or to register. After that is accomplished they can then start posting and PMimg everyone while trying to sell everything from from Viagra to Porn. Some just find the ways to crack in and then sell the methods to other advertisers/hackers who then spam anyone and everyone.

Some forums have holes that would allow a hacker access to email addresses. Or they try and hack the Admin account which would give them access to those addresses. Then they cultivate and phish in order to lure people into clicking on things they shouldn't, and setting up their botnets for even more spamming.

And as Len said, some script kiddies just do it for fun - just like throwing rocks through windows, or spraying graffiti everywhere. I can "see" the sources of those connected to my Palmpedia site better than here. And at any given time about a quarter of those on my site have a Russian address, and are trying all sorts of crazy things. All I know is whatever they are attempting is not good. I assume they are just bots trying all sorts of exploits that have proven successful elsewhere. And they almost never come from the same "place," so blacklisting them proves futile.

This random chaos can create havoc with forum/server software or crash a database, and can create glitches that may snowball and interrupt service - and you may never really know what happened or started it. And like Windows or any software that issues regular security patches, it is a constant battle trying to find and patch the holes faster than the hackers find and exploit them. And the bigger PalmTalk becomes, the bigger target we become as well.

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Dean - regarding the "challenge questions" you mentioned introducing during registration, how about a separate site for that. A "Boot Camp" that shows users are both real and interested. A bridge too far maybe?

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Dean - regarding the "challenge questions" you mentioned introducing during registration, how about a separate site for that. A "Boot Camp" that shows users are both real and interested. A bridge too far maybe?

I am the final "Boot Camp." I have to make the final decision and determine if the registrant is real (that is a person, and not a computer), and if their information (name, location, etc) is plausible. So the strategy is to make that final screening as small as possible. There is presently an automatic email confirmation screening in place. And a human recognition screening (that some hackers can read now) as well. But someone must have found a way around the old challenge question. The new rotational method I have instituted makes it very hard to write a script for, and appears to be working very well - for the time being. But the problem of bogus members or spammers actually gaining access to the Forum has been virtually non-existent. So that is not the problem, and needs no solution.

Besides, there will never be a way to assure a name or location that is given is valid. Or to verify a person's true intent. And many do not want to give a real name anyway. The trick is to not make the registration process so difficult that we dissuade people from joining. Or so easy that I have to sift through dozens of potential members on a daily basis trying to determine if they are legit.

But no process is available that I know of that will prevent people or computers from "probing" a site, or attempting to register or send messages. Google, other crawlers, and hackers do it constantly. They even crawl and archive your profiles.

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Boot Camp = stumphead filter. :lol:

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