On October 30, 2011 Longwoods.com came crashing down. No warning, no sounds of calamity and no service. The ticketed report called it a catastrophic failure. Not much more was volunteered. Our host, a “server farm” in America’s deep south, features 24,000 customers in more than 150 countries with more than 100,000 active servers, hosting more than 20 million domains. “Can’t go wrong with that” we said when our latest web design was on the drawing board. And so somewhere, someplace Longwoods became a part of it — relegated to a rack and wired for virtual handshakes around the world. Hidden so well that it became a target for a web site from Asia which subsequently found its way onto our little concealed iota on the internet only to steal precious space — and lots of it — with images that were, well let’s say, not about healthcare. It was enough to crash the whole server and so our website. To presumably absolve themselves of blame our providers sent us a link to view the culprit site ourselves. Maybe, they thought, we would understand the problem better. We learned little. 
 
Apparently no matter how large, how secure, how innovative technology is — dis happens. And in the true Calvinist tradition we were the chosen ones, elected to be relegated to a pile of unusable bits and bytes.
 
Well we subsequently elected to use another server provider, from the dependable Midwest and gave its handlers our trust. Before all this, and conforming to established standards, our site was backed up offsite and in our office. Apparently our server company had a copy but they volunteered nothing. Now? We are “back up” and pleased to provide you once again with ideas, practices and policies for better healthcare and better health. That’s www.longwoods.com together with jobs.longwoods.com. Thanks for your patience and the many, many email messages – most of them asking us to send along a journal, a paper or another piece of data that was needed — not just anytime, but “now”. After all, they mentally posited, the web is all about JIT delivery and lets not have a crash stand in its way. And so we responded, using our own reserve maintained by the design shop.
 
Lessons? Back up locally and off site. Then when you crash, get angry and get over it. Put one person in charge — someone who doesn’t need much sleep. Trust your web developers — Gateway India was there p.r.n. with one of our backed up versions — and have alternatives ready to communicate with your users; blogs and email served us well. Take a deep breath and go about your business.

And, yes — thanks for coming back.

Anton Hart, Publisher, and the whole Longwoods team