Connectivity and the Technology to Use It

System Error

My site was down.

Worse, Ask Leo! (askleo.com) was, instead of displaying its content, displaying sensitive configuration information including the username and password to the master database.

And even worse … I was out of the office, running errands.

To make a very long story short, the problem was a typo I’d introduced into that configuration file earlier in the morning, as I was dealing with a different problem (a server crash). I didn’t notice the problem because of browser caches, and the caching technology used by Ask Leo! to keep it speedly.

I heard about it as I parked my car in preparation for an off-site lunch and checked my email. My assistant’s message was simple: “Houston, we have a problem”, and indeed we did.

Here’s what I’m grateful for, and my moment of awe and wonder for the day: I had my laptop with me, and of course my mobile phone. I set my mobile phone up as a hotspot, fired up my laptop, and began diagnosing the problem.

From my car. In a parking lot.

At the geekiest possible level (sshing into my server to edit configuration files, for the technically inclined) I had just proven that — with the right equipment — the most basic equipment, even — I could do what I needed to do from just about anywhere.

I didn’t get the problem solved immediately, but I was at least able to get the configuration information hidden once again, and change that all important password. It wasn’t until later — again, using free Wi-Fi at a local beer bar and tap room, that I completed repairs and the site returned to full service.

So, yes, you’re darned right I’m grateful for all the many pieces that come together to make that all possible: mobile networks, phones that act as hotspots, remembering to take my laptop, the ubiquity of connectivity in general, and the tools and wherewithal to make use of it all.

Stressed, but grateful.