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Matthew Carlson - What happens if Alerts goes down, say on a Saturday? Doesn't Steve Ballmer call yo

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Matthew Carlson, program manager on the Microsoft Alerts team, talks about what happens when a key service at Microsoft goes down. Alerts are the messages that pop up at the bottom of your screen if you've signed up with services like MSNBC or United Airlines. At Microsoft we call those messages "toast" because they pop up like a piece of toast from the bottom of your screen.

You can tell Matthew is a program manager. Why? Cause he puts the good spin on. Truth is, if something goes down here all heck breaks loose. Luckily for Matthew alerts doesn't go down very often.

What do you think really happens when something like Hotmail or Alerts goes down? What would you like to know about the escalation process? We'll get Matthew to answer your questions.


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  • miiesmiies Payin' the bills with my mad programmin' skills
    Well, I assume that for every failing machine, at least five other ones are waiting to pick its tasks up? I've actually never noticed Hotmail being down..

    What I would like to know is, what exactly happens when the Messenger service can't connect and it says 'Check if you're behind a firewall blah blah' (as if it's my fault, hah!). Have the servers just reached their maximum number of connections or is it something else?

    (Dunno if this can be answered by someone from the Alerts team, but they're at least related technologies right? Smiley
  • alertedalerted Oh, the wolf's at ol' Gil's door...

    Firewall error messages do not occur because of a lack of service capacity. There are many MSN Messenger firewall and proxy error messages. They arise from a wide array of scenarios. Overloaded corporate HTTP firewalls will occasionally drop MSN Messenger traffic without notifying MSN Messenger. Some home residential gateways will do this as well. Software firewalls can prevent Messenger from getting to the networking layer of the operating system (MSN Messenger will sometimes guess correctly that this is a firewall issue although it looks like there is no internet connection to the process). Many users simply misconfigure their proxy. For people consistently getting such an error message, we always recommend unchecking the "I use a proxy server" box in Options->Connections and let our automated logic try to connect to the service.


  • miiesmiies Payin' the bills with my mad programmin' skills
    Right, thanks for the answer.
  • Thanks for the video. It now makes sense why the server wasn't working.


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