Monthly Archives: December 2012



Netflix Crippled On Christmas Eve By AWS Outages


On December 24, 2012 Netflix has been down since 1pm PST for some customers. Reason?

Well, “problems are originating in AWS’s US-EAST-1 region. The latest ELB update at 5:49pm PST reads “we continue to work on resolving issues with the Elastic Load Balancing Service in the US-EAST-1 region. Traffic for some ELBs are currently experiencing significant levels of traffic loss.””

As Netflix Cloud Architect Adrian Cockcroft said on Twitter:

Bunch of ELBs down, lots of happy Netflix instances getting no traffic, still waiting for AWS to fix it. Some devices working, others not.

— adrian cockcroft (@adrianco) December 25, 2012

Interesting thing is that this is the latest in a series of high profile Web outages related to Amazon Web Services. In October, issues at AWS affected Reddit, Pinterest, Airbnb, Foursquare, Minecraft and other popular Web sites, while back in May, outages at AWS data centers took down Pinterest, Instagram and Netflix.


Google’s Policing Of Duplicate Ad Sitelinks Extensions Misses Apparent Violator — Itself


Google has plenty of policies by which you must abide, like Ad Sitelinks extensions can’t have two links that point to the same page, and sitelinks can’t have the same destination page as the text ad’s headline. These rules seemingly apply to everyone except… Google itself.

The rule-breaking was spotted by SEER Interactive’s Francis Shovlin, who noticed some pretty blatant examples on ads for certain search terms, and wrote about it on the company’s blog.

Search for “adwords,” for example, and the top result is — unsurprisingly — a Google ad for its AdWords program. Sitelinks underneath seem to link to specific pages where users can “Lean How to Advertise on Google” or the “Benefits of Google AdWords” or about “Costs and Payment.”

In fact, all of those links lead to nearly the same page — the only difference between the destinations being that a different tab, below the fold, is open for each link. Meanwhile, Google’s own guidelines say “Tabs on the same page count as the same page” and “We recommend that 80% of the content on a page be unique for that page to count as a different page.”

Google in September announced it would start more aggressively pursuing violators of the duplicate sitelinks policy, but it apparently hasn’t investigated its own ads.


NFL to Stream Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, Playoff Games Online


The 2013 Pro Bowl and two Wild Card playoff games will also be broadcast via the Internet. Fans can watch Super Bowl XLVII live on Feb. 3 through and

The game will also be broadcast the old-fashioned way on CBS. The Pro Bowl, on Jan. 27, and two Wild Card playoff games, both on Jan. 5, will be broadcast on NBC and also available via and Fans can watch all four games online through Verizon’s NFL Mobile app.

Why watch online? In addition to added convenience, streams will include extra camera angles, live stats and other enhancements, according to the league. Super Bowl XLVI last February marked the first time in history the game was legally streamed for viewers. It set an online viewership record for a sports game live stream.

Given that success, it’s no surprise the NFL wants to build on its post-season streaming options in 2013. Sports fans can expect to watch more and more big games online over the next several years. In a potential sign of bigger things to come, for example, the NBA recently announced that more than 350 of its minor league games this season would be available for free viewing through YouTube.


Doomsday 2012: Watch the ‘End of the World’ Live Online


Anyone worried that the world will come to an end Friday (Dec. 21) can scan the heavens online this week for any signs of death from above.

The online Slooh Space Camera will broadcast a series of live cosmic views all week, beginning today (Dec. 17). The free webcasts will help the public keep watch for any monster solar storms, impending asteroid strikes or other potential agents of the so-called “Mayan apocalypse” that doomsayers claim is set for Friday.

“Rather than merely offer scientists’ dismissals of the many silly doomsday scenarios that have now been heard by almost everyone in the world, and which have reportedly produced panic in Russia, Slooh will take a ‘let’s see for ourselves’ attitude,” Astronomy Magazine columnist Bob Berman, who will participate in the shows, said in a statement.

“By acting independently of any government agency, which assumedly would be disbelieved by the millions who are convinced a giant cover-up is in place, Slooh will observe the planets and the ecliptic plane for anything out of the ordinary,” Berman added.

Slooh will webcast live footage from observatories in Arizona and the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa. Each day will focus on a different apocalyptic “area of concern,” from massive sun eruptions to a collision with a mythical “rogue planet,” Slooh officials said.

You can check out the schedule and watch the shows — which will also feature Slooh president Patrick Paolucci and other guests — at Slooh’s website:


Redbox Instant Opens Invites


Redbox Instant by Verizon on Wednesday began letting people register for an access code to use the streaming service. For $8 a month, Redbox Instant will offer unlimited streaming of movies plus four DVD credits. A promotion on the service’s website says the first month will be free. Users can upgrade to Blu-ray for $1 more.


Users will be able to stream movies on computers, tablets, smartphones and TVs. The Redbox Instant by Verizon app is now available for Android and iOS. The multi-platform new subscription service is available to any U.S. resident (you don’t have to have FiOS TV service or Verizon-operated broadband). And unlike Netflix, which mails disks to users, Redbox makes subscribers pick up their DVDs or Blu-rays at Redbox kiosks.

Verizon announced the Redbox streaming initiative in February when it decided to partner with Coinstar, Redbox’s parent company, on the venture.