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APOLOGIES: Mega-outage for our otherwise-reliable longtime server-management company

Please accept our apologies for WSB being inaccessible for three-plus hours – if you missed our explanation on social-media channels, our server-management company WiredTree suffered some kind of catastrophic outage. It affected many sites as well as ours – we were able to see by monitoring Twitter mentions that we were far from alone. WiredTree hasn’t fully explained it yet, but the company is usually spectacularly reliable and responsive, and has been for the 8+ years we have been with them. We do have backup sites that we would have deployed if this had gone on any longer, or if there had been a major breaking story (luckily it was a quiet afternoon aside from the downpours) – including our White Center site, whitecenternow.com, whose server is with a different company, and the westseattleblog.wordpress.com backup site we used during our technical transition last winter. But now we’re back, so we’ll be publishing the stories we were working on when the site became inaccessible, soon as they’re ready – thanks again for your patience.

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Where to find city information

You’re probably here because you appreciate being informed. You probably have other favorite stops around the web, too. And if you are in the “there’s no such thing as too much information” category … you might be interested in this city post we just happened onto by browsing news.seattle.gov: It’s a long list of ways to get information from and about specific city departments, resulting from a recent “civic tech lunch hour” at which attendees were asked what kind of information they want from the city.

West Seattle water views now part of Google Maps, along with Street View(s)


That’s a Google Street View mapping-photography car we spotted on eastbound Avalon at 35th this afternoon. Google’s 360-degree views from the road have been around for a while, but our sighting coincides with word we got this week that the mapping service is offering something new in our area: Water views.

A PR rep for Google Maps e-mailed WSB to say that West Seattle views on/from the water have recently gone live; the mapping service partnered with Coastwise Imaging, using the Trekker backpack system (you can see the equipment on the Coastwise site).

If you want to see the water views, you can click any of the following four links we were provided – Alki Beach (starting near Anchor/Luna Park), Alki Point, Duwamish Head (starts by Seacrest), and the Duwamish Waterway (starts near Terminal 5, with the image showing the Shell-related vessels that left two months ago) – among 20 Seattle waterway views now available via Google Maps.


West Seattle Crime Watch: Early-morning car theft

If you see an unfamiliar gray 2006 4-door Honda Accord in your neighborhood, it might be the one stolen early today outside Joshua‘s house on Tillicum Road SW near Lincoln Park [map]. License plate AKV4815; “slight dent with paint chip on the top front of the hood.” The key was mistakenly left inside another vehicle nearby; the thief/thieves found it and stole the Accord. Call 911 if you see it – could be anywhere; WSB readers’ recently reported stolen vehicles have turned up near and far.

UPDATE: 3rd West Seattle CenturyLink outage in 1 week

10:57 AM: For the third time in a week, we’re hearing from multiple West Seattle CenturyLink customers – via e-mail, Twitter, and comments – that their fiber Internet service has gone out again this morning. Locations mentioned in the messages we’ve received this morning include Admiral, Genesee Hill, North Delridge, and Beach Drive – sharing your general location in a comment, or message to us, helps, since otherwise there’s no mapping available along the lines of, say, a power outage. Some customers say CL has told them to expect service to return “sometime over the weekend.” Our previous reports are here (some were out all of last weekend) and here (an outage on Wednesday). We have a message out to CL’s media department again and will update when we hear back.

11:54 AM: Some customers are reporting they’re back up.

12:02 PM: A CenturyLink spokesperson replied to our inquiry:

CenturyLink has isolated the outage in West Seattle and continues to monitor the system to assure service availability. If customers are continuing to experience interruption to their high-speed internet or Prism TV services they should contact customer service 877-837-5738 and submit a trouble ticket.

They didn’t answer our question about what’s causing the outages, so we’ve asked it again.

5:36 PM: CL says “a hardware failure” is to blame.

UPDATE: Another CenturyLink outage reported in West Seattle

6:18 PM WEDNESDAY: Just days after the CenturyLink fiber Internet outage that lasted all weekend for some West Seattle customers, we’re getting word of another one. The company doesn’t make official outage announcements, but starting around 4 pm – via comments on our previous item, and via e-mail – we started hearing about this. If it’s affecting you too, let us know, and please include your neighborhood.

10:01 AM THURSDAY: We sent an inquiry last night to local CenturyLink media liaisons. Here’s the reply just in from Caitlin Birkenbuel: “On August 10, CenturyLink experienced an outage in a West Seattle neighborhood, which impacted high-speed internet and Prism TV customers. The outage lasted 2.5 hours and was resolved at 7:05pm yesterday evening. We apologize for the inconvenience and would like to thank our customers for their patience during the service delay.”

UPDATE: All-weekend CenturyLink outage for some in West Seattle

FRIDAY NIGHT, 11:34 PM: No way to know how many are or have been affected, but we’ve been hearing from some West Seattle CenturyLink users who say their fiber Internet has been out since Friday morning. One is Scott in the 2700 block of 46th SW, who says he first reported the outage around 10 am, was told it should be fixed by 7 pm, then called again two hours later and got a recording with a projected repair time around 11 am Saturday.
Phillip told us via Twitter that his service has been out about that long, and via e-mail earlier in the evening, Nick said CL told him he was one of a triple-digit customer count with an all-day-into-the-night outage. Anyone else?

SATURDAY MORNING, 11:24 AM: Thanks for the comments. Via Twitter, @CenturyLinkHelp, rep Aaron just replied, “There are still a few customers down, but for the most part they should be back up from what I am seeing.”

SATURDAY AFTERNOON, 2:05 PM: … but people in comments and via Twitter are saying they’re still down.

SUNDAY NIGHT, 6:46 PM: See comments for updates from CenturyLink customers who say they’re STILL out. We will be checking with their media/public-affairs department first thing in the morning to try to find out what’s been going on.

WSB EXTRA: Sign up before next one goes out!

The fifth weekly edition of our new e-mail WSB EXTRA goes out at the end of the week … are you on the list? If not, consider subscribing – here’s the link. So far it’s been what we hoped it would be – a little bit behind-the-scenes, a little bit “here’s what we didn’t get to tell you about,” a little bit “did you know …”, a little bit sneak peek – and it’s still evolving. Thanks to everyone who’s on the list already!

YOU CAN HELP: Make ‘Lunches with Love’ on Saturday, and/or donate ingredients now

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Another round of “Lunches with Love” is happening in West Seattle this Saturday. We’ve told you about this volunteer community effort before – most recently, last fall. This announcement, along with the photo, is from Karen Crane of West Seattle Art Nest:

Are you looking for a way to give back to your community, to a stranger, or to commit a random act of kindness? Please join us this Saturday from 10-12 at West Seattle Art Nest (4138 California Ave SW). Community members will gather, prepare sack lunches for our homeless neighbors, and then those who can, will set out around the sound to make deliveries.

If you are not able to make the event but still want to help, we need the following items: brown paper bags, ziplock sandwich bags, peanut butter, jelly, oranges,bananas and soft snack foods. Donations can be dropped at West Seattle Art Nest anytime! Thank you!

WSB EXTRA: 2nd edition tomorrow; subscribe today!

Last Friday, our first-ever bonus weekly e-mail-exclusive edition of WSB EXTRA debuted. As explained in our announcement last month, it’s *NOT* a recap or digest or list of story links – not a substitute for coming here to see what’s going on – but rather, something extra, quick infobits we find or receive that don’t turn into stories, as well as “comment of the week,” some “behind the scenes.” some “did you know” … If you’re not already signed up, we’re extending the invitation again – go here to subscribe. We’re sending it on Fridays – aiming to have it out by early afternoon most of the time (edition #1 was later because of a busy news day).

Computer trouble at local Seattle Public Library branches

July 5, 2016 2:43 pm
|    Comments Off on Computer trouble at local Seattle Public Library branches
 |   Utilities | West Seattle news | West Seattle online

Thanks to Kay and Jissy for the tip: If you’re going to a local Seattle Public Library branch, be aware the West Seattle-area branches (Delridge, High Point, Southwest, Admiral, South Park) have been having computer trouble today. We just confirmed this with SPL spokesperson Andra Addison. It’s blamed on a fire affecting fiber optic lines, and while we don’t have specifics, apparently it was last night’s fire in the 4800 block of Delridge – not near the library, but the initial burst of flame was so huge (see the reader photo added to our story) that it may well have affected utilities. We’re trying to find out more; Addison says repairs are in progress.

WSB EXTRA: Launching tomorrow – subscribe today!

From the in-case-you-missed-it file: Tomorrow we launch the first-ever edition of our new bonus weekly e-mail, WSB EXTRA. It’s *NOT* going to be a recap or digest or list of story links (as explained in the announcement earlier this week) … it’s truly meant to be something extra, beyond what you find here day in, day out, night in, night out … quick but interesting tidbits we get/find but don’t get to turn into stories … some big-picture features like “comment of the week” … a little bit of “behind the scenes” … among other things. Sign up here; if you get it and you hate it, unsubscribing will be fast and simple. Thanks to everyone who’s signed up already; we’ll be interested to hear what you think.

WSB EXTRA: Sign up for our about-to-launch weekly e-mail

Every week, WSB features hundreds of things you won’t find anywhere else – from news stories to photos to lost/found pets to event listings to forum posts, and beyond. But even with the 24/7 stream here on the website, we still don’t get to share everything we see/hear/observe/receive. So we’re launching a new weekly e-mail titled WSB EXTRA. You might have seen the signup box – we soft-launched that recently, but we haven’t yet mentioned it here in the news stream, until now. We’re planning to send the first one on Friday, so we’re announcing it more widely today.

While many news organizations send you e-mail newsletters that are basically lists of links to their stories, that’s NOT what we’ll be doing. The WSB website is and will remain THE only place you’ll find all the news we cover, and all the other regular 24/7 offerings. But we’ve been trying to find a way to share some of the observations, asides, links, tidbits that tend to build up without ever appearing in a story or comment. We also want to offer some overview features like “comment of the week,” top weekend pick, what’s going to be big NEXT week … So that’s the sort of thing you’ll find in WSB EXTRA, weekly. Please consider signing up (go here). If you decide it’s not for you, don’t worry, unsubscribing will be easy. Thank you!

City-run community centers to get wi-fi via Google grant

More free public wi-fi is en route to West Seattle, as part of the city’s Digital Equity Initiative, but via public funding. A public-relations firm for Google just sent this:

Google has provided $344,000 in grants to fund WiFi access points at all 26 Seattle Parks & Rec community centers, including Delridge, South Park, Alki, Hiawatha, and High Point Community Centers, which will improve public events, classes, camps and learning programs, and to provide WiFi to low-income families in Seattle Housing Authority housing. Some community centers will also get new computers — the funding will be used to replace 31 outdated and obsolete computers at five RecTech Community Technology Labs, including Delridge.

Last year, you might recall, Google bought borrowable wi-fi hotspots to make available through Seattle Public Library branches.

‘SCREENAGERS’: See it for free Thursday

February 23, 2016 5:47 pm
|    Comments Off on ‘SCREENAGERS’: See it for free Thursday
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle online

That’s the trailer for “Screenagers,” which you can see for free this Thursday night in West Seattle, with a bonus – a chance to talk with filmmaker Dr. Delaney Ruston afterward. Local entrepreneur and mom Jackie Clough is organizing it in connection with the upcoming launch of SeattleTeenBlog.com. It’s a subject right at the heart of 21st-century parenting:

This documentary explores how learning, playing, and socializing online affects teens’ developing attention span, self-esteem and moral instincts. SCREENAGERS examines the risks of failing in school, social isolation and digital addiction. The film explores solutions to handle screen time and provides parents with tools to help young people develop self-control and find balance in their digital lives.

It’s at 7 pm Thursday (February 25th) at Fauntleroy Church’s Fellowship Hall (9140 California SW). No ticket required, but please RSVP so they know how many seats to set up – you can do that here. (Jackie advises arriving a few minutes early.)

Virtual reality @ Chief Sealth IHS, via Google. Anybody else interested?


Thanks to teacher Noah Zeichner and colleagues at Chief Sealth International High School for sharing that scene from today, when a Google rep was on campus to help students and teachers explore the company’s simple approach to virtual reality – something he says other schools can take advantage of, too:

Students at Chief Sealth International High School got to travel to far off places using virtual reality technology as part of Google’s Expedition Pioneers Program. Students looked through Google Cardboard viewers while their teacher controlled and narrated the expeditions from a tablet. Students visited Mexico, Japan, Dubai, India, Brazil, and several other countries around the world.

If other West Seattle schools are interested in bringing this program to their school, teachers or administrators can send an email to google-expeditions@google.com. They will be in the Seattle area during the month of February.

The photo is by Sealth librarian Katie Hubert, showing teachers trying out the systems; she also reported “hoots of amazement and delight” as students checked out what, as she described it, are “really just a cardboard box holding a cell phone.”

SITE NOTE: Downtime later tonight

8:33 PM: Just an alert that WSB will have some downtime tonight starting around 11 pm. Last Saturday we had two rounds of downtime to switch to new server hardware, with space not only to hold our current 10-year archives but to accommodate the years ahead, following up on our recent software overhaul. But there’s one more step to take to move our live site onto the new hardware, and that’s happening tonight. Please bookmark (or otherwise save) our backup-site address, since we’ll use it for breaking news, if needed, while the work is under way – westseattleblog.wordpress.com – and of course our major social-media channels too, facebook.com/westseattleblog and twitter.com/westseattleblog. Thanks for your understanding as we continue evolving.

2:15 AM: Over now.

Late-night tech note: Overnight downtime

January 29, 2016 11:30 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle online

Two weeks have passed since WSB came out of the first stage of our first major technical overhaul in the 10 years since the site was founded (built on a foundation intended for the small personal site this originally was, and no longer able to accommodate what it had grown into). Overnight tonight (possibly Saturday night too), more work is ahead, this time including expansion of the storage space on our server, as WSB’s database of stories, photos, comments, and Forum posts continues to grow. This will mean some downtime after midnight. If wee-hours breaking news happens and we’re down, we will of course report via our backup site (westseattleblog.wordpress.com) and social-media channels (facebook.com/westseattleblog and twitter.com/westseattleblog), so please keep those links handy. Keep our number for breaking news too – 206-293-6302. Thanks for your understanding!

From the WSB Forums’ new Lost and Found section: Missing jewelry, found money

After eight years of keeping the only all-West Seattle online clearinghouse for lost-and-found pets, we’ve been asked often if WSB has any place to post lost-and-found items that AREN’T dogs, cats, chickens, etc. With our recent changes, we’ve been able to add a lost-and-found NON-pet section to the WSB Forums – see it here. Among the listings there already are two posted today – money found on California SW, and family-heirloom jewelry lost at Westcrest Dog Park. Maybe you can help!

WAS PINNED: Welcome to WSB’s next chapter!

Hello! As of tonight, January 15th, WSB is emerging from its first-ever major technical overhaul, in “beta” mode. It’s our next chapter, in partnership with you. Packing up 10 years worth of news, information, and discussion and moving it into a new shell turned out to be mightily complex; it had to be done to get to a point where we now have the ability to add, expand, improve. What you’re seeing now is just the start of WSB’s next chapter; much of what happened is “under the hood” but the look is different as well because the one we’d had since 2005 wouldn’t work with current upgrades. WSB has always been “community-collaborative news” – your tips, your comments, your events, your concerns – and now we will appreciate your collaboration on tweaking what’s live now, and then as the weeks and months go on, your ideas for what more is needed to truly serve our community. For now the biggest change is that we’re using more of the screen and surfacing more of what’s always been happening “inside” WSB – comments, forum posts, lost/found pets – and alongside in social-media channels. We look forward to talking with you here and/or via e-mail at editor@westseattleblog.com. P.S. Thanks to the thousands of readers who have joined us on our backup site as we continued covering the news there this past week.

NEXT WEEK: Cyberbullying/social media briefing for West Seattle parents

January 13, 2016 8:46 am
|    Comments Off on NEXT WEEK: Cyberbullying/social media briefing for West Seattle parents
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle online

No matter what school your kid(s) go to, the Madison Middle School PTSA invites you to its meeting next week to find out what parents should know about “cyberbullying” and social media.

As a followup to the Finding Kind program for our students in December, school administration has put together an expert panel of representatives from Seattle Children’s, Seattle Public Schools, OSPI (Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction), and UW to help our families navigate these difficult years. Let’s have a high turnout for this panel! Everyone is busy but it is important to take time to tool yourself with the advice and input from our experts.

Here’s the flyer, shared by Madison PTSA president Carla Rogers. The event is at 7 pm Wednesday, January 20th, in the Madison library (45th SW and SW Spokane).

TECH OVERHAUL STARTING: Find WSB at our backup site

January 8, 2016 6:07 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle online

Our technical overhaul is starting – even if you can still see this! – so starting a little later tonight, you’ll find WSB coverage at westseattleblog.wordpress.com while the work is under way at our regular “address.” Thanks for your understanding!

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