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Oh! Look! A Whale! October 18, 2009

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Show and Tell.

Twitter takes a public relations beating every so often when sudden service outages keep its users from sending out up-to-the-minute micro-updates. It’s happened to me once or twice, too, and each time I just chalk it up to the fact that, well, these things happen.

Then I tried logging on to my account the other day, and couldn’t. I’d key in my username and password, buy rather than the familiar text entry box asking me “What are you doing?” I found this instead:

I suspect most of the service’s die-hard faithful would’ve blown a gasket at this point. Me? I swear that the first thing that came to mind was “Oh! Look! A whale!”

In my own little universe, that’s normal, ladies and gentlemen.

Anyway, when I came to my senses (and tried unsuccessfully to log on again) the thought struck me: wouldn’t it be interesting to do a piece on the different pages one sees when a site is temporarily having problems? I’m sure there’s a fair amount of clunkers out there (i.e. of the “file not found variety”), but it seems to me that more and more sites are getting creative with their “service temporarily unavailable” messages, and in increasingly amusing ways.

Not that I can recall any off the top of my head though. Which is why I think it’d be fun to begin compiling examples while surfing the web. Granted, it’ll be time consuming and tedious — barring a catastrophic and simultaneous outage of the major sites on the internet, allowing us to see such things easily — but it’d be a pretty neat side project to pursue.

So maybe I’ll get around to it. Maybe some of you can email me you screenshots, too, and we can turn this into a crazy internet meme of sorts.

Until then: Oh! Look! A whale!


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