RIM Toys With Blackberry Addicts Again; Cuts Off Users For 3.5 Hours

from the want-to-stay-connected? dept

Last April, RIM woke many Blackberry users up to the idea that they might be Crackberry addicts by having the system go offline for a few hours overnight. It's amazing how people recognize just how dependent they are on a service once it goes away. The eventual excuse given by RIM (a botched software upgrade) was unconvincing. However, there hadn't been any more outages, so questions about the service died down. However, with widespread Blackberry outages Monday afternoon, lasting about three and a half hours, impacting all mobile operators, some of those questions are going to be raised again. The Blackberry system involves all traffic going through RIM machines, and a cascading problem across those machines can certainly cause quite a bit of trouble. At some point, people are going to start asking if there isn't a more robust, distributed way of offering a Blackberry (or Blackberry-like) service that would be more immune to these types of issues.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 9:05pm

    Didn't notice...

    I was in meetings all afternoon, and my blackberry worked just fine. And no one else complained of any failures (there were 5 other BB users in the meeting).

    Most people I know use them instead of dragging around laptops.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 9:11pm

    Re: Didn't notice...

    Just as a follow up, I just talked to 3 others, none of whom noticed any problems. Perhaps it was just in the Washington, DC area, not in SV, CA.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 9:45pm

    Re: Re: Didn't notice...

    You must've been under a rock! All 405 of my users we affected.

     

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  4.  
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    Michael, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 10:02pm

    Heh...didn't notice either

    That would be...maybe....

    RIM buying Skype, and using the robust P2P as a backchannel and backup routing system?

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 10:03pm

    It only effected 50 percent of users at most. I experienced an issue for a very short time period.

     

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  6.  
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    byte^me, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 10:09pm

    Length of outage underestimated

    I spent the majority of my day on the phone with AT&T trying to figure out why 2 of our BlackBerry users were non-functional today. Of course, support had no clue what was going on.

    Imagine my surprise when one of the users found an article on CNN that mentioned an outage!

    Talk about a crappy setup........

     

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  7.  
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    Kevin, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 10:31pm

    Hmm...

    I didn't notice anything either, but then again my smartphone runs Windows Mobile and directly connects to my company's Exchange server instead of going through a 3rd-party service. Why is it again that Blackberry users have to use RIM'ss network?

     

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  8.  
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    Xris, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 11:13pm

    Re: Hmm...

    I was just about to make the same comment ... of course, my company's servers aren't any more stable than RIM's at this point. Heh.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2008 @ 12:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Didn't notice...

    Nope. Don't live under a rock, thanks for the insult. Apparently, my provider has a better service contract than yours, perhaps you should consider better service, as none of the users in either my company or my client noticed. Dunno how many people that is, but it's at least a couple of thousand.

     

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  10.  
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    Wendell, Feb 12th, 2008 @ 1:12am

    Must be a slow day for Techdirt

    by the writers own admission the RIM system has gone down once per year for a few hours at a time. This is extremely low downtime and it's ridicules to suggest that a "more robust system" would have less downtime. Less than once per year? The 'Don Quixote' tactics of tech writers is getting old.

     

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  11.  
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    Mike (profile), Feb 12th, 2008 @ 2:30am

    Re: Must be a slow day for Techdirt

    by the writers own admission the RIM system has gone down once per year for a few hours at a time.

    Indeed, but does that make it any less newsworthy? Given that Google News currently shows 797 articles on the topic, it would appear that it's rather relevant.

    This is extremely low downtime and it's ridicules to suggest that a "more robust system" would have less downtime.

    How often does "the internet" go down? Ah, right, it doesn't. That's what I mean by a more robust system. People rely on their Blackberries quite a bit. To have such massive downtime, even if only once per year, has a serious impact and there are better ways to deal with it.

     

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  12.  
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    RevMike, Feb 12th, 2008 @ 4:36am

    Re: Must be a slow day for Techdirt

    "by the writers own admission the RIM system has gone down once per year for a few hours at a time. This is extremely low downtime and it's ridicules to suggest that a "more robust system" would have less downtime."

    The amount of downtime isn't the issue. The issue is the number of people affected by the downtime.

    We are used to dealing with scattered outages within our communication systems. Your phone or your internet connection may stop working, but it normally affects people in your city or your neighborhood. It seems that RIM's service is not sufficiently diverse. A fire at a data center or a backhoe operator might be able to bring down BB service for weeks at a time not just for a small group of customers in one area, but worldwide.

     

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  13.  
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    collier, Feb 12th, 2008 @ 5:26am

    I must have missed it

    I must have missed it. I don't remember having any problems with mine yesterday.

     

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  14.  
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    Overcast, Feb 12th, 2008 @ 7:18am

    I didn't miss it.. I'm on call for work this week and got slammed with like 20 emails all at once last night! lol

     

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  15.  
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    Johnny D, Feb 12th, 2008 @ 7:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Didn't notice...

    You live under a technical rock. This service outage was across multiple carriers. You are just...statistically...lucky. Not clever.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2008 @ 7:45am

    Re: Length of outage underestimated

    Exactly my experience .. users freaking out, support totally worthless ... and learning why on the news.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2008 @ 8:30am

    Why do people continue?

    I don't understand why all these people continue to rely on a service that has one company as a single a point of failure for all of North America, if not the world. There are so many other options, why do IT people keep recommending and purchasing Blackberrys? I thought our job was to increase redundancy and reliability, not reduce it to a single point of failure.
    Use IMAP, use Windows Mobile, heck use POP if you have to, at least you're relying on people that you have a direct relationship with - your email provider (most cases your own company's mail server) and your cell phone provider who provides the data network. With both, you have somebody to scream at and get answers and possibly a partial credit, what do you think you're going to get from RIM who only answers to the big boys?

    Wake up people.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Clueby4, Feb 12th, 2008 @ 12:12pm

    Please if you feel the urge to ever post:
    - "Works for me"
    - "Didn't notice"
    - "Haven't experienced any issues"
    - "I'm super-awesome my world is pervert"
    - "I posted this just to increase to post count to give you false hope of finding an answer/solution"

    Don't...I would suggest a nice leisurely bath with a toaster would better serve the society.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2008 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Hmm...

    Why is it again that Blackberry users have to use RIM'ss network?

    Oh, that would be for end-to-end encryption of all communications regardless of what the end-users do with it.

    Oh, and the performance of said encrypted communications.

    I bet the average IT shop has way more downtime than the RIM network has had in its lifetime.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    hip-cracker, Feb 12th, 2008 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Re: Must be a slow day for Techdirt

    How often does "the internet" go down? Ah, right, it doesn't.

    You are right, that "the internet" doesn't go down. But ISPs do, service to blocks of the 'net do, entire subnets do. Routers die, servers go down. It happens.

    In this case, a block of the RIM net went down. Shouldn't happen, but it did.

    But why is it in the corporate world an Exchange server (or Domino or whatever) goes down and it is "grumble, grumble" but if RIM goes down it is "the end of the world".

    They were back on the air after only a few hours and from my experience it was an intermittency issue, not a full blackout for the 3 1/2 hours.

    Yah, I'm not thrilled with it. But considering the alternatives (oh, right, there ISN'T one that comes anywhere near)...RIM's doing a pretty good job overall.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2008 @ 4:31pm

    IMAP works much much better for push email, and is very easy to make redundant and geographically diverse. Did I mention it is free?

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    hip-cracker, Feb 12th, 2008 @ 5:31pm

    Re: Why do people continue?

    There are so many other options, why do IT people keep recommending and purchasing Blackberrys?

    I'm sorry, but those options would be???

    Realize, the reason that IT chooses BlackBerry even paranoid Financial Services, Insurance, Government, DoD, etc..., isn't because it has a keyboard or a built-in mp3/phone/camera/gps...

    It is because of the RIM platform:
    - end-to-end encryption
    - extremely fine-grained control of what the device can do
    - complete logging of everything done with the device
    - near-zero end-user maintenance (OTA sync, OTA installs, OTA upgrades, etc...)
    - seemless data trickle synchronization
    - direct, secure(!) integration with enterprise infrastructure including leveraging webservices-enabled apps
    - did I mention END-To-END encryption?

    What other platform comes close? RIM now offers the BB platform on Symbian (Nokia) and PocketPC/SmartPhone. This wouldn't happen if those platforms stood any kind of chance against BB.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    hip-cracker, Feb 12th, 2008 @ 5:33pm

    Re:

    Yes, and it only support EMAIL.

    Though it is the killer app for end-users, IT staff choose BB for many other reasons...the main one being security.

    What exactly is it that IMAP offers for security? Something that the end-users cannot futch?

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2008 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: Why do people continue?

    I'm sorry, but those options would be???
    Well, if you bothered to read past the second sentence of my post, you would know the answer to that.

    I'm not going to go through your points because EVERYTHING else in the same market as Blackberrys does EVERYTHING on your list, and to a greater extent in some cases.
    Quit being lazy and answer your own questions with a simple Google search.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2008 @ 10:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Must be a slow day for Techdirt

    You are right, that "the internet" doesn't go down. But ISPs do, service to blocks of the 'net do, entire subnets do. Routers die, servers go down. It happens.

    Right, and if you have a proper contract with your ISP, you can get a refund for services not received.

    But why is it in the corporate world an Exchange server (or Domino or whatever) goes down and it is "grumble, grumble" but if RIM goes down it is "the end of the world".
    Not sure what "corporate world" you live in, but when our email server goes down, it's "fix it! 2 hours ago!". It's even worse when the problem is not in your hands, as is the case with RIM.

    Yah, I'm not thrilled with it. But considering the alternatives (oh, right, there ISN'T one that comes anywhere near)...RIM's doing a pretty good job overall.
    There are plenty of alternatives, RIM built a shitty system that has a single point of failure, they fail.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2008 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re:

    Wow, looking through all your posts, one would think you've never heard of SSL. Google is your friend.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    hip-cracker, Feb 14th, 2008 @ 6:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Must be a slow day for Techdirt

    Plenty of alternatives?? Name one that offers anywhere near the power, configuration and security of the BB platform.

    Name just one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    hip-cracker, Feb 14th, 2008 @ 6:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Why do people continue?

    You list out a bunch of interfaces to email systems and believe that this is competition to the BB?? I cannot begin to conceive how far off this view is from understanding what the BB platform is.

    Again, I ask that you NAME just one mobile technology device/platform that comes anywhere near what the BB platform is (from a corporate point of view...consumer devices are not RIM's market and prosumer is something new to them...and they are doing quite well there too).

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    hip-cracker, Feb 17th, 2008 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Apparently you've looked, but not read, my posts.

    SSL is simply one piece of the puzzle. Configuration of it is often tedious, error prone, involves the user to at least provide yet-another-password, etc.

    "SSL", in and of itself, does not ensure encrypted communications of all applications.

    SSL does not prevent installation and/or running of mischievous applications.

    SSL does not ensure that applications have been created (and signed) by a trusted party, traceable to the party that created it.

    SSL does not allow remote administration of the device, restricting what the device can have installed, what it can do, wiping a device when it is in unknown hands, etc.

    SSL does not provide logging of usage.

    etc, etc, etc....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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