brainwagon "There is much pleasure in useless knowledge." — Bertrand Russell


Scrappy has the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

Well, I suppose I should have seen this as coming. Our adopted feral friend Scrappy has been fighting off a skin infection, and we have had him on antibiotics for the last two weeks, and he went back in for testing, where they test for, among other things, FIV antibodies.

Scrappy tested positive.

It makes me sad. He's a wonderful cat.

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Re: Bandwidth, iTunes, and iPhone activation…

As I'm sitting here with my iPhone, eagerly (and as yet vainly) waiting for it to be reactivated via the iTunes store, I was trying to figure out what the failure mode was that allowed this kind of (by appearances on the iPhone support forum, and news from various bloggers who are in line to buy new 3g iPhone) serious problem to occur.

Here's the deal: preceding each and every iPhone upgrade, there would appear to be a needed iTunes 7.7 upgrade. This upgrade itself was sizeable (to be honest, didn't mark down the size). Then, the iPhone 2.0 firmware update had to be downloaded, which was 218Mb additional. These downloads were accomplished without incident. But then you go to activate the phone... and... problems.

Let's say just consider the firmware update. 218Mbytes let's say takes... one minute. That's about what it took for me via comcast. Whatever the rate of new customers getting this update are, they are able to keep up with this load. But they are not able to process the load of (presumably) getting a small amount of information back and forth to your phone to activate it in the same one minute time frame.

In a way, I guess that it isn't too surprising: after all, web servers which are optimized to serve up static content are very, very fast. Back when I used to run thttpd, it could saturate 10Mb ethernet links running on a 486. But it also suggests that Apple should have realized the assymetry, and throttled downloads to allow their downstream processes to keep pace. It would have avoided a lot of frustration.

Me? My iPhone is still bricked into emergency only mode, and now I'm getting -4 errors from the iTunes store. Patience is a virtue. My phone lives again!

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iPhone 2.0 update… in progress! HOLD OFF FOR NOW Well, mine works now.

My cat woke me up before 6:00AM this morning to remind me that today was the Apple 3G iPhone release date. Buying a new phone isn't in the cards right now, but I suspected that there might be the 2.0 firmware update for my old phone. Sure enough, I powered up the laptop and got a notice that there was a new 7.7 iTunes update. Downloaded it, installed it, plugged in my iphone, check for updates, and...

Nuthin. Still 1.1.4.

Hmmph. Shutdown iTunes, restarted it. Checked for updates.

Eureka! 2.0 currently downloading, 218Mb.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Addendum: All the cycling of "backup, installing, verifying", seemed to go reasonably smoothly. Now my phone is in a state where it seems to need to talk to iTunes, and the iTunes needs to talk to the iTunes store, but it's just not connecting. I'm guessing their servers for unlocking are currently completely swamped because of the 3G release. I'm trying to be patient.

Addendum2: Frown. Now my phone is in the mode where it can apparently make emergency calls, but it is requesting to be connected to iTunes. When I do so, I get this:


I suspect this magic error code is just that it's activation servers are overloaded, but I'm not very happy.

Addendum3: It appears that my surmise was correct. Going to Apple's support forums:

Forum about bricked iPhones..

Confirms that lots of people are having this magic "-9838" issue, and that Apple has confirmed that it was for inadequate bandwidth on their end. Sigh. I'm gonna go take a shower.

Addendum4: Word of the day:


Apparently word is spreading that activations are just horribly slow. My own iPhone has gone from having that -9838 message, to just spinning endlessly, waiting for the iTunes store. As Henry Jones would say, "Our situation has not improved!"

Addendum5: Around noon (after about six hours), my iPhone finally phoned home and I know have a working iPhone again. More later.