When The Sun Fails To Rise

Had a good day today, ten productive hours at work, a good dinner, a nice trip to Sognsvann and half an hour of Burnout 3 on the Xbox. It looks like my pity attempt to exercise regularly is beginning to pay off, I’m pretty sure I set a new, personal record going up the hills. Good shit.

If you’re used to logging on to Microsoft’s MSN Messenger service every morning, you probably got an unexpected surprise today. The service was down! Shock and horror! Apparently, Microsoft was having serious troubles with the service in several countries, exactly why no one seem to know. I’m still unable to log on to MSN Messenger, but at the moment, Norwegian users might be the only ones affected. It could be that Norway was the only country with troubles, since all the major tech sites have failed to mention the troubles.

When people started to realized they were not able to log in to MSN, and the panic struck them, I noticed two interesting things:

  1. People thought that either the whole Internet was down or that something was wrong with their computer. This is probably because MSN works all the time. It’s like the sun is rising every morning. When you log on to MSN, it’s working. When it wasn’t, MSN itself was not the reason why MSN was not working. Something else had to cause the sun not to rise this morning.
  2. Companies using MSN as their main communication link with the outside world were in some serious trouble. Having a single point of failure like this is, I dunno, fucking stupid? Remember to get your business contacts’ e-mail addresses, too. Or maybe even phone numbers!

Now might be the right time to introduce alternative IM networks and clients. When I wrote my Master Thesis back in 2002 and 2003 I did a lot of research on the Jabber protocol. I even implemented a Jabber client for NetBeans. Both “Jabber” and “NetBeans” are words I try to avoid today, but the Jabber protocol is a nice gem. It’s open, so there is really not that hard to make clients. It also supports everything you need from a good IM protocol, like message encryption.

When it comes to clients, I recommend Miranda. It’s free, open source and supports a wide range of networks, like ICQ, AIM, MSN and Jabber. With good plugin support, it’s also possible to make the program look and behave pretty much like you want it to.

OK, so this was a pretty nerdy post, but if you’re here regularly, you’re probably used to the odd geek post.


Do you have any thoughts you want to share? A question, maybe? Or is something in this post just plainly wrong? Then please send an e-mail to vegard at vegard dot net with your input. You can also use any of the other points of contact listed on the About page.


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