This Mozilla bug report thread might very well be the best thread I’ve ever read. There are a lot of developers who truly want to help track down a bug that someone’s reporting, but since they’re unable to replicate the bug, they ask the reporter to test out a few specific other builds, and he totally freaks out, SCREAMS IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, and makes various and sundry claims of them ruining his computer. It’s just awesome, a perfect encapsulation of how the internet makes some people go a little batshit insane.

Living in the nation’s capital, using Google to search for service providers is nigh-impossible, rather than getting companies and their websites, most of the search returns are lobbying groups, regulatory agencies, and sites documenting the laws associated with whatever service it is I’m looking into. It’s sort of maddening.

Talk about a fuckup of gargantuan proportions: last night, the co-founder of the webhosting company Dreamhost launched a script to trigger a billing cycle for the 2007 end-of-year, but mistakenly used December 31st, 2008 as the run date, meaning that all accounts had their bills run for the entire year of 2008. And that means that if accounts were set to automatically pay, people’s credit cards were charged and bank accounts were debited for one or two years’ worth of charges, leaving a slew of customers with overdraft and over-credit charges from their banks, not to mention other planned transactions that now can’t take place given hundreds or thousands of dollars in unanticipated charges. (I received over $600 worth of bills from them via email, bills that weren’t auto-paid only because the credit cards they have on file for me are thankfully expired.)

From the sounds of things in the Dreamhost Status comments and discussion forum, despite the fact that the webhosting company is already trying to work through the mistaken charges and reverse them, it’s going to lose a bunch of business over the fiasco — even with reversing the charges, it sounds like most of the folks who’ve been assessed overdraft fees aren’t going to be able to avoid them, at least not without quite a bit of effort and fighting with their individual banks (something for which I’m sure the customers will be oh-so-grateful to Dreamhost). And the scope of the overall problem is made clearest by the fact that Dreamhost’s account management control panel has been down all morning, probably because every single customer is trying to get more information about why their accounts were charged and what they should do about it.

Ironically, the most recent Dreamhost newsletter, written by the same co-founder of the company in his trademark (and tiresome) jokey style, had the following item in it:

4. New Office!
Another important thing I’ve been doing instead of writing newsletters is looking out the window of our NEW OFFICE:
If your next web hosting bill from us is mysteriously tripled, now you know why.

Talk about bad timing on Josh’s part… or perhaps, talk about a good lesson in the error of joking about things that could easily become the catalysts that drive customers into the arms of your competitors.

Ok, without a doubt, Shannon and I clearly will need to be buying this book as soon as it becomes available on Amazon.

I wonder if anyone has used the Writers Guild of America’s “Report a Scab” page to report Jay Leno for last night’s monologue, which probably broke the strike rules (since Leno is a WGA member, and the WGA specifically warned Leno and Conan about their monologues).