Murphy’s Law states that “anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”
Murphy was an optimist.
For Capitol Hill Blue, April 2006 stands as the month when Murphy’s Law ruled, when anything that could go wrong did go wrong and kept going wrong.
We kicked off the month by moving to new servers, nice shiny new Sun machines running Unix – a move back to what we hoped would be a safer, more stable environment after too many recent glitches with Windows 2000 servers. Three days after the move, the servers crashed: Catastrophic hardware failure the techs said. Down. Kaput. Dead on arrival.
After 12 hours offline we moved back to our old Windows servers but lost some of the updates to the site because the same problem that crashed the new servers also corrupted the backup files.
A week later, we tried moving the site again, this time to new Windows 2003 Server machines after the techs recommended them, based on our site’s configuration. We made the move on April 8 and things seemed better.
In April, Amy and I also lost a six-month-long battle to save a brain damaged kitten that she acquired through her fostering of abandoned cats for the local humane society. We spent thousands of dollars in multiple trips to the Virginia-Maryland Regional School of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech where they ran MRI’s, blood tests, liver functions – the full gamut.
When the time came to put the kitten down, I cried like a baby, not realizing until that time just how much that little ball of fur meant to both of us and how wrapped up we had become in trying to save him. I came to realize that I had written some things I should have left unwritten, said some things I should have left unsaid and made some decisions I should have deferred.
One of those decisions was to take a break and turn Capitol Hill Blue over to two associates who had worked on the web site in the past. My involvement would be limited to writing The Rant and making plans to launch a new grassroots political reform initiative on May 1.
Tuesday night, our new servers crashed, wiping out everything published on the site since April 15 – 10 days worth of work. The techs said the problem rested with an automated restore function of Windows 2003 which restored the server’s configuration on April 15 and wiped out everything from that day forward. Attempts to restore backups failed and I discovered that people I trusted with my web site had let me down and made some decisions that put the site at risk.
Capitol Hill Blue has been on the Internet since October 1, 1994, a record for longevity that makes us the oldest surviving political news site on the Web. We didn’t last this long by taking shortcuts or by playing games with our servers and our readers.
People I trusted with this web site made some decisions I would not have made and took some steps I would not have approved. They allowed use of software that I would have rejected and permitted access to the site to those who compromised the integrity of our system.
Capitol Hill Blue is not a business. It is not a blog. It thrives based on a formula that works and has been refined over the years. It is a news site and a labor of love – a child I have nurtured for the past 11-and-a-half years.
I’m responsible for the actions of my child. In the end, I’m responsible for what happens on this web site, for every word and article published here and for every decision made even when I trust others with those decisions.
April 2006 is almost over. Thank God. April is the month Murphy and his law of absolute failure took over this web site.
Murphy, hopefully, is gone. So are those who made decisions that put this web site at risk.
Capitol Hill Blue has one owner, one publisher and one editor. It was my mistake to ever allow someone else to take care of my child and, for that, I apologize to each and every one of our readers.
So let’s get back to having fun comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.