Here is the news.....errrr
and using Solaris too !!!!
The BBC news website was down for over an hour at lunchtime today due to an apparent technical glitch with its servers. A spokeswoman for the British broadcasting behemoth told El Reg that the Beeb had been "experiencing technical difficulties", and it hoped to bring the service back online as soon as possible. Anyone …
Since the quality of the 'news' on the site has dropped so low, and the commentators in the 'have your say' sections appear to be refugees from the Daily Mail forums, I stopped actually reading the beeb site ages ago, even though my browser opens it automatically on start up.
So tits to them, really.
And the purpose of the scurrilous muck-raking? How does a technical failure on their website have any relation whatsoever to other more controversial events? Has Kelly Fiveash morphed into Nelson Muntz? Can't I legitimately get away with shoe-horning the word 'schadenfreude' into this comment?
Yesterday the BBC announced an unbelievable 2.5- 3.5 Billion squids shortfall. then they where threatening to shoot the puppies that are the one o'clock news and (GASP!) Top Gear. Today their most popular platform, the news website. Not very sophisticated tactics for the salaries they're getting. How about their dropping the crap lifestyle programmes to make up their shortfall?
A few (best part of seven or eight) I had a tour of the old BBC R&D centre at Kingswood Warren. As part of this they showed us teh server rooms whithing which resided all BBC News/Sport etc websitey stuff... The nice man told us that there was a mirror site hosted in London (I forget where), so in the event of any misshap or errors, they could immediatly switch to the mirror and roll-back to before any coding problems (or bybass any hardware ones)... not sure if that is still the case...
And yes, sod the news, it's a poor shadow of its former self and to quote someone else on El Reg this week, 'Kaplinskiated' but I was trying to access the sports and that was very slow...
The last time I went along to the Beeb for a techie interview, (and royally turned them down I might add,) they were paying an absolute pittance. They wanted Solaris Guru's who were also Network Guru's, who were ALSO Windows Guru's. Ok fair enough you might say.......but you'll have to pay for that.
Sadly they weren't. They were offering less than what you'd expect for a Unix Sys Admin.....and not even a Guru level of pay.
They want too much for too little, so its no wonder they are having problems. They just can't afford to employ the best :)
They could probably afford it if they got rid of Jonathan Woss. Sorry, Ross. Get rid of Humphries and a couple of the other doddering old fools and they'll be able to pay twice the going rate!
The BBC makes something close to 4 billion a year from the telly tax, and another couple of billion from international sales of its back-catalogue yet, like any publicly funded organisation it always seems to be short of money. The problem, as always, is to be found lurking in the layer upon layer of administrators, managers, line-managers, overseers, executives, assistants, assistants assistants, house managers, floor managers, health and safety managers, lawyers and other middle-management cruft that always gathers in public institutions. The answer is simple. Fire the lot. Get rid of the failing digital channels, get rid of the unnecessary management layers and give Ross and his compatriots a well-deserved pay cut.
T'isn't happening though. Instead we've got the BBC chasing ratings. Ratings! It's a public service broadcaster, not a popularity contest! They're cutting the news and docuemntaries budget in order to expand their digital channels and re-organise as some sort of international comglomerate. How is that even justifiable given their charter obligations?
BBC sold off BBC Technology to Siemens as Siemens Broadcasting Services under an outsourcing deal a couple of years ago.
I was briefly a contractor there and can tell you the BBC has some good staff and some real wasters. Server support contactors handled 25 calls per day each on average, permies did 4. I was introduced to the concept of 'Walkers'. Staff it would be difficult to get rid of, so they aren't assigned any work and the walk around chatting to their mates and visiting one of several bars at Television Centre.
The good people at Netcraft have more on this outage, and a little bit more on the Akamai connection.
I haven't checked lately, but it used to be the case that the IP address you got when you looked up www.bbc.co.uk (or was it news.bbc.co.uk) depended on which ISP you were with, thus enabling some form of simple geographic load balancing (ie if your ISP is in the US, you get a "BBC" address which is the BBC's server farm in NYC, so your data doesn't have to be shipped all the way from BBC UK). Or something like this.
Not sure what happens to this scheme if you're using OpenDNS.
(Apologies if this appears multiple times, El Reg itself was briefly inaccessible when I submitted this. Honest.)
On unsackable people. I used to work for BT. They operated a system that can only be described as a craptocracy (or shitocracy). It was almost impossible to get rid of crap staff, so their line managers put them up for promotion to get rid of them. So the shit rose to the top while the good workers stayed where they were.
I notice the BBC haven't mentioned the outage on their own site, though they are quick to report outages on other major sites.
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