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Gluten in the cottage cheese

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Most Examiner readers noticed Yahoo Mail was down for maintenance before it became this week's technology news event. Jeff Bonforte, senior VP of Yahoo Communication Products, has been twitter point man of the hour, patient with public frustration. To quote from his last tweet on the outage itself:

The beginning of good news, as we transition from outage to recovery.

Granted that it is difficult within the hundred and forty character limitation to offer technical specifications, Mr. Bonforte is not yet on record about the cause of the mail provider's disruption. Server outages nevertheless points to the frightening vulnerability of mass systems failure in our conversion from an industrial to a digital economy. Email is used to track purchases, deliveries, handle finances, as well as sending instant communiques, and as electronic addresses consolidate under three or four major players, it would not take much for powerful conglomerates to become instantly impotent.

GPS tracking and microchips sit near the top of a technology pyramid, making it easy to forget there are other ways to move data from one group to another, older methods like microfilm and physical libraries, even lithograph on textiles, that might remind the human animal that slowing down instant gratification is beneficial and less consequential in the event that bits and bytes and satellite signals fall silent, whether due to grid failure or BGP routing attack.


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