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Information Blackout

Sometime in the wee hours of yesterday morning my e-mail account started to choke. I’ve had the same e-mail address for ten years so I get quite a bit of spam, and when the flow of spam stops I know something’s wrong. I finally called tech support and they said that account was at quota. Odd, I thought I’d been deleting messages diligently.

I tried to login to the control panel but it’s not really possible using my Blackberry. We haven’t had internet at home since Katrina, except for the Blackberry, which can do a lot — I even use it to post to this weblog — but it is no substitute for a real computer when you need to do something sophisticated.

It seems like a lot of my communication is done by e-mail these days. The fact that it wasn’t working was distressing to say the least.

I thought that I’d be able to deal with the problem when I got to work this morning.

Power Outage

But I arrived on campus to find the University blacked out. Only emergency power in my building. The data center was down, and so even buildings with power had no internet. This also means that our website and e-mail systems are all down. I’m frankly embarrassed; this does not reflect well on the University. The data center should never go down. I’m pretty sure it’s got some sort of auxiliary emergency power supply. Especially after all we learned after Katrina, I’m surprised and disappointed by this turn of events.


I made a number of calls looking for a place where I might get internet access for an hour or two but it was so early that people were either on their way to work or not awake yet. Eventually I made arrangements to go by my boss’s house and use his computer.

Once I got online, I discovered that sure enough I’d maxed my quota. My e-mail account had a trash can full of 2,016 messages — 200 megabytes worth of junk I thought was deleted. The trash was so large the webmail clients couldn’t do anything with it. I had to have tech support delete it for me. I still don’t understand how this much trash accumulated, but it would seem that either my Blackberry or my Mac (at work) aren’t properly deleting e-mail from the server. I’ll have to diagnose the situation later.

So I’m back in business, but if you sent me an e-mail in the last 36 hours, I probably didn’t get it.

Published inGeekyPixThe Ed Biz


  1. Scott Scott

    The Mac server update confused the instructions from the client computer to delete emails. Apple is working this known problem. In the meantime, I’m going in weekly to delete from webmail side.

  2. I found myself being charged extra by my ISP because I had used up my storage space. As far as I knew, I wasn’t storing anything with them. As mentioned above, I learned that I have to manually dump my trash on their server. Thanks for reminding me.

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