Every once in a while I'll submit a form in a Web site, and the next thing I know the site isn't working properly.
Usually, it's my own server, and the problem is a bug in my own code. I scoot my chair over to the server (just two feet from my desk) to see what new torture I've put my long-suffering HyperCard stack cum CGI handler through. Or maybe long-lived HyperCard is showing its age again: it happens every once in a while, usually during automated backup, and ever since upgrading to Mac OS X closing the stack invariably leaves cruft in the stack. Or maybe the older version of Classic I'm using (not upgraded for fear of breaking my HyperCard stack) is driving up CPU usage. Or maybe it's a synergy of many things.
In any event, it's usually my fault but I'm able to fix it in a few minutes. If it's not my server that's acting up, I go nervously on my way hoping it wasn't my garbage in that triggered the server's garbage out, looking around to make sure no one was watching and feeling the emptiness around me (computers and hubs and a router off in a closet somewhere).
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Twenty minutes ago, it happened when I was visiting use.perl.org.
No more do I submit a new HTML-formatted journal entry for preview than I find myself staring at Internal Server Error. Was my HTML malformed? Yes. Did I think to syntax-check it first? No. When I fix the mistake (just one little '>' forgotten) and resubmit, do I get the same error? Yes. When I chop off all but the opening paragraph (nothing but a <p> and some text inside) and resubmit, do I see the same error? Yes. When I try to go to http://use.perl.org/ (don't forget the final slash!), do I see the same error? Yes.
Did I kill use.perl.org?
Between that last paragraph and this, I went back to try again. The internal server error is gone. I pull up my diary to write the new entry I'd been previewing. All is well. I preview, I edit; I submit: happiness all around. I sigh in relief.
But a hint of worry remains. My lunch hour is over, and I'll never know: did I kill use.perl.org?
Sometimes the loneliness of the Internet is a mile wide.