Friday Filler – Servers, Clouds, and the BSOD in TSTO

Thank Grog It’s Firday!

I am particularly happy it is “Firday” today, because that means tomorrow is “Smatterday” which for me will end up as SkeeDaddle Day. Which means my hospice shift is over, and my stay in crazy-town will be relieved by my sister, taking over the arduous task of “loving my mom to/til death.” But, I digress…

What made my duty here all the more challenging, was that TSTO, one of my diversions from the day-to-day insanity, decided to break. I know that is a very simplistic version of the truth…but, that’s literally how it felt.

For almost three days, EA was refusing to recognize me.  First I got booted, and had to log back in. Then I started getting a handful of error messages.  And of course, being in a situation where I am watching my Mom’s life “disconnect,” it was hard not to take it personally…and wonder if we have become slaves to the digital slaves, and who is serving who, when it comes to an interconnected life.

The Bart Screen of Death (BSOD) takes on a new meaning when you suddenly realize that about 75% of life as we know it, can be “turned off,” on purpose, by mistake, or by error.  Servers, slaves, and the BSOD…where do we all fit in?

When your device doesn’t connect when you want to tap…I often go online to make sure that I’m not the only one. 

And in the Case of EA…They have problems a lot.

As someone who has worked with digital multimedia, and has made a business out of the Internet since there was an internet, I have to admit that I never saw a future like the one in which we live.  I did imagine that we would be using digital data for TV, radio (remember radios?), and maybe even short-streaming video.   But, I never imagined a time when we would be so reliant on the “bleeps and bloops” of packet swapping, that our Movies would actually threaten our vacuum cleaners, when the battle for data “in the cloud” overwhelmed the life-supply of zeros and ones that keep us all going. 

But, it happened. 

On November 25th, 2020...the future (or the beginning of the end) came to fruition, and rattled us to our very Roombas! 

On this date…for a matter of hours (or days by some reports), AWS (Amazon Web Services), lost a ton of its server capacity. And when AWS hiccups…so do tens  of thousands of businesses and services large and small (check out this article!).

While you might think that Amazon delivering stuff “next day” or “day of” for their Prime members is amazing…that is nothing compared to the services it actually “hosts” on servers in “the cloud” for some of the biggest companies in the world…companies that “make our lives easier” while handing over so much of our day-to-day to them. 

Which brings us to the side-street of PC and Vine.  Because once you try to start understanding who is serving who, the nomenclature of computing starts to get a bit muddled and archaic in the language it uses. As it turns out, Slave, Server, Master Slave, and a number of other computer terms feel sadly out of date and inflammatory.  I don’t have space to dive into it…but, if you want to get an idea of how perplexing this is for actual IT folks and Coders…read this article.  

But, I think anyone who has watched the amazing documentary, “The Social Dilemma,” or countless others about phone/device addiction, and you start to get the picture about how reliant and influenced we have become by digital technology. 

But don’t if you watch them on “Netflix,” as you may very well be messing with someone else’s ability to Roomba!  Or worse…far, far, worse!

There are loads of reasons that a system as large and redundant as the services that AWS provides could go down.  But, one of the biggest drains on the resources is Netflix. With close to 200 million paying customers (and who knows how many who share logins, like my daughters do), and loads of them binge-watching during the pandemic, something had to give. There is only so much juice in the pipeline…and when the servers get overloaded, they go on strike. OK…again with the non-PC metaphor.  But they bog down, and shut down, and create havoc for everyone else in the system. 

The aforementioned article shows a SHORT list of clients who use AWS. But what isn’t shown, is how many service providers, who provide service to companies that provide services and data connections, aren’t listed here.  The “data tree” has more branches than you can imagine…and it all has to happen at the speed of light. 

Every key stroke…every frame, made up of millions of data packets in a movie, or an internet page, is “SERVED” from a server.  And yes…we expect it to happen instantaneously. 

Every packet sent and received has to go to a server, and back to your device. Every key stroke, click and tap, signals the server to DO something. And frankly, it is all pretty amazing. 

But are we are the point of TOO AMAZING??   

Consider the fact that almost every modern device is now enhanced, driven, or operated in some way by the “Interwebs.”  What happens when the grid goes down?  So does everything that is connected to the services on that grid. 

In the case of this “outage,” some of the first people to notice were the folks who were trying to hook up the “New Smart Tech” on their Roombas.  Now…you can program where, how, and in direction you want your Roomba to Roomb.  But, without an internet connection, and bluetooth, it may just roam from room to room, roombing away until the smart computer in your refrigerator tells it to stop…oh…wait, that wouldn’t work either with the grid down. 

This all sounds kinda funny to me…until you look at the BIG companies who are using the AWS system.  

Netflix, Twitch, LinkedIn, Facebook, Turner Broadcasting, BBC, Baidu, ESPN, Adobe, and yes…even Twitter!!!

Sweet Jeebus!  What would we do if we couldn’t Tweet about a post on Facebook, about the latest LinkedIn profile on the famous sports star we just watched on ESPN!!!!  

Or…on a more serious note…in the near future, what about those “Self Driving Semi Trucks” they are testing?   

Grid goes down. The trucks crash.  That is a LOT worse than your Roomba vacuuming up your cat in a flurry of misdirection…or your smart refrigerator suddenly dispensing its supply of ice and water all over your floor. 

Why am I not surprised that “Drone Delivery” is still on the board for Amazon?  

Self-driving, flying, navigating, vacuuming, refrigerating, droning, or any other part of AI technology that is based on “the grid” staying connected to “the cloud,” when it can all be brought down with the release of the newest season of “The Crown?”  NO THANK YOU. 

We are too reliant on something that is clearly so unpredictably fragile. We really need to let Big Tech know that we aren’t going to take it any more! 

And I will tell them, just as soon as I can get my phone to connect to my Mom’s network. 

Oh.   And for the record…I FIXED my TSTO Login Problem!   I rebooted my device. 




22 responses to “Friday Filler – Servers, Clouds, and the BSOD in TSTO

  1. They should at least have a rotating BSOD with new images. Milhouse trying to play catch with the desktop. Ralph trying to feed it cupcakes etc lol

  2. I thought they pulled the plug to start the Christmas storyline. However it looks as if we are done with fall leaves and back to spring in SpringField. That’s too bad

  3. I get that dreaded Bart screen regularly, too. I automatically reboot my iPad now when I see it.
    I have a question: Is anyone having trouble finding Maggie these days? I never used to miss her, but I’ve been missing her every couple of days recently. I hear her sucking away on her pacifier, but I can’t zone in on a specific area. When time runs out, she’s on a building I passed over a number of times without seeing her. Frustrating!

  4. omg same here and neither my email nor my login name was recognized when I wanted to reset the password. Yesterday it was finally ok. I was annoyed because this was my first year of KEM farming and I would finally be able to get all the Christmas items (I love the holidays). I had a bit of a flashback to when EA cancelled Pet Society on Facebook like ten years back. I did not spend too much on it but I spent something and since then I have trust issues and I won’t pay for anything when it comes to this type of online games.

  5. Please help:

    There is the Wiggops Station and Burns’ Dragon included in the Black Friday. I saw that some characters can battle these creatures. Will this be available as permanent tasks?


  6. Bart Simpson Screen of Death (BSOD) – I’ve been getting this too many times since the end of All That Jazz ….. yep, Networks / Internet has been a global issue since the pandemic (if you are not working? then you are online! if you are working but have nowhere to go except home? you’re using internet access for viewing content!) with EA getting a daily dose of angry Tappers / Game Players (I feel bad for Tech Support as this is not their fault) …. and yep, there are times I reboot my device and get a chance to Login to TSTO (sometimes I can Tap for 15 minutes before ‘BSOD’). 🤷🏼‍♂️

    It’s at the point where this Game App is broken (ie we still have that sound at Login), the Network it is on is broken (I still wonder how long EA will keep TSTO on Origin Account), and even a change in Event format would not guarantee a successful Login (I still wouldn’t mind something different than “the norm”). 🤔

    At least we’re working, we haven’t been sidelined by Covid-19, the both of us (and the 🐈’s) are safe …. and I got time off work so that I could take me Dad to his doctor appointments (he’s getting a custom motorized chair with a custom Lazy Boy that lifts him up from a seated position).

    Maybe this dumpster fire called 2020 can be shrugged off by next year (work said we are Phase 2 category for the vaccines when they are available, two vaccines given four weeks apart with up to 60 days of potential symptoms – sounds better than being in ICU). May you all stay safe, may you will find comfort during these times, may you all have the ability to Login (and maybe get more than 15 minutes). 🌞

    • I always get disconnected from TSTO. Early on, it ticked the hell out of me, but I started noticing neat things from these disconnects. First it started with the bonus level-ups (after lvl 939). I would get my three donuts, then disconnect (DC), reconnect and find I have three extra donuts on top of the three I got before the DC. Plus, the chance screen would pop up again. A total of 12 donuts in one DC. Now that is rare, and not worth attempting to repeat every time. What else happens during DC’s is interesting. I have CostMo and Donut Factory. During the DCs, I would get a grand total of 24 donuts if the shutdown…and not only during server DCs. Even ehen they are self inflicted, if you know what I mean. *Wink. And when I had properties left, my real estate would get extra free land tokens because of the DCs. In summary, I’ve accepted the inconvenience of DCs while farming Kwikee Marts or other tasks. As long as I keep getting rewarded for their problem, I’m okay with it.

  7. Lol, when I picked some offers from Black Friday (which were really tempting, not like the Homer skin offer) I thought “let’s hope they invest some of the earnings in stable servers”. Obviously I was wrong.

  8. Progress may have been alright once, but it went on too long- Ogden Nash

    • Love that quote. However, as he died in 1971, it does call in to question which “modern conveniences” he was lamenting. I happen to like transistors…tubes…took so long to warm up.

  9. I still get the Bart screen too. Not every time, but enough to make it aggravating. I also get it all the time when KEM farming.
    I agree one would thing this would have been cleared up a long time ago.
    But, I have noticed that it is most often during events. Seems to lessen in between events. Points to server over load.

  10. Is it really Friday? Or Is it groundhog day and feels like the same day for the last year?

  11. I have the Bart screen for over a year. Every time I try to log in I see Bart. It is very disturbing. Is seems EA wants to save on the server.

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