I don’t think I lost any IFTTT feeds, but then I’ve got fairly clear expectation of what’s triggering my feeds, and it’s me. But this piece from the Guardian raises questions both for everyday life and for IFTTT (and other cloud-based technologies) within learning contexts:
The article presents this outage as “a cautionary tale about the future of the internet”, noting with slight hyperbole that “When it doesn’t work, everything comes crashing down”. But only slight. The outage affected the “US East” region – imaginably a long geographical distance from me. But not a long digital distance. It picks up on IFTTT thus:
“Ifttt, a website which allows users to link together services from multiple providers into one seamless operation, was one of the Amazon customers knocked offline by the outage. For some, that simply meant that their workflows were disrupted, with emails not being forwarded or weather summaries not being automatically emailed.
For others, that meant slightly more drastic problems: “smart home” owners reported losing control of their houses after the jury-rigged system they used to control internet-connected locks and light bulbs failed.”
No mention of EDC blogs: presumably not drastic, newsworthiness-wise, but potentially drastic if a learner is dependent upon it (or any other cloud-based service) in a time-sensitive situation, such as the run-in to an electronic submission deadline. It might be an irritant, or it could be something that throws a learner’s motivation. On my recent MOOC, there were many people reporting click-links not working. And, probably, many more not doing so, but silently signing out. Digital cultures and education inhabit a sharp dialectic between capability and collapse. Between light, and darkness. Outage can lead to outrage or, perhaps worse, apathy.
The article is upbeat, perhaps: “even with this outage taken into account, Amazon’s cloud is far more stable than what the majority of its customers could build on their own.”
But it’s also alert to the dialectic I’m identifying, even casting it more widely than education: “The issue isn’t total downtime, but the fact that it all comes at once, leaving end users less with the feeling that one specific website is unavailable, and more concerned that the internet as a whole may be about to collapse.”
Also, the dialectic might well sharpen, as monopolists tighten their grip: “there’s a lot more internet out there than Amazon is in charge of. For now, at least.”