TUCoPS :: Truly Miscellaneous :: aoltop10.txt

Top 9 reasons for AOL's outage, plus the advantages

The Top Ten Reasons AOL was Off-Line and the Advantages

Plus, The real reason for the big Western Power Outage.


 1. Agent Mulder and Scully's celebrity chat shut down by unexplainable
    forces from somewhere out there.

 2. Disgruntled employee tired of AOL's practice of rounding back their
    paycheck to the nearest ten dollars.

 3. Their new version 3.0 software code was written by the IBM Olympic
    software team.

 4. Steve Case was reading his latest net-worth statement and began
    clapping.  He forgot the AOL server was turned on and off by "The

 5. Bill Gates, in his usual "I don't get angry, I get even" way, decided
    it was time for "Justice Department Anti-Trust Investigation"

 6. Tribbles

 7. Changing their name to AWOL.

 8. "Blackout" actually part of the First Annual AOL-vs.-MSN Corporate
    Sabotage Extravaganza.  MSN won.

 9. AOL carrying "Campaign '96" updates.  Temperature-sensitive components
    damaged by all that hot air.


 1. No e-mail from people with moronic screen names like

 2. $$$$$$$ No idiot get-rich-quick spams to Usenet! $$$$$$

 3. I won't be stood up this evening by yet another AOL date.

 4. May force millions of people to actually talk to their families.

 5. Will most certainly see a rise the number of newborns in 9 months.


(INI) - A software disk that had not properly been erased is to blame for
an outage that cut power to 4 million customers across the West, one of the
most severe in U.S. history.  Officials at Western System operations now
say a "free" America Online disk that had been thought to been erased, and
then was re-used, is to blame for the outage.  Technicians had used the
disk to run computers that control power grids for nine U.S. states.

The problem was first noticed Saturday at 2:00 PM (PST) when control room
computers began sending an audio message stating "you've got new mail" and
then shut down a power grid for two states.  Computer operators began to
re-start their system but before they could complete it an AOL 3.0 Web
browser appeared on their screens and then shut down grids for the
remaining states.

A power company spokesman said part of the blame for the outage should be
shared by America Online.  "They send you a disk almost every other day.
They know people are going to re-use them."  An AOL official denied reports
that his company would give affected power company customers one free day
of electricity plus ten hours of online access and an AOL "tote bag" as
compensation for the outage.

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