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Columbia Missourian

DEAR READER: You deserve better than a non-working Web site

By Tom Warhover
March 11, 2010 | 3:53 p.m. CST

Dear Reader,

I want to strangle a box.

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Bloody some code.

Mangle a machine.

Thursday morning, I settled in to the friendly confines of one of my regular coffee haunts.

I flipped open my laptop. I punched up the Web browser.

The little spinning wheel thing turned, and turned, and turned. No ColumbiaMissourian.com.

I hate that little wheel.

I’ve heard of businesses that specialize in anger management. You go in, pay a fee, and break flowered plates or etched glass or Dodge Darts.

I want to smash the World Wide Web.

Throw a computer off a building.

Something. Anything.

Beginning Monday, the site was either down or as slow as my 99-year-old grandmother. (She’ll tell you: She’s no spring chicken, ya know.)

Once again, the Missourian has been a victim of success.

This time, a link from the Drudge Report caused the site to sit down in protest.

Matt Drudge aggregates news and commentary. His audience, by and large, is a conservative bunch.

Monday he picked one of the stories about the cotton ball incident on the MU campus.

Some weeks ago, the site limped and crawled from the highest number of requests to date. Monday, Matt Drudge's report helped double that number.

The Missourian’s director of digital development, Rob Weir, did an excellent job of explaining the details of the site strike in his personal blog.

The condensed version: It didn’t work.

By Thursday afternoon, Rob’s team had repaired some crankiness in the system and received a whole bunch more server space to store the data.

I apologize to you, dear reader. You deserve better.

A Web site that’s not accessible is akin to a print edition that’s not on your doorstep.

(Print readers: Go ahead and snicker. You’ve earned the right. As far as I know, the digital debacle didn't injure a single copy of the daily Missourian.)

On Thursday, the paper’s technology folks better than doubled the capacity of the Missourian database.

I’ve written to you about this before. I hope I don’t have to write it again.