Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger Outage and Loss of Saved Material

Until a few moments ago, there was an extended service outage at Blogger, apparently on a worldwide basis, lasting for about a day. Bloggers were not able to access their accounts to edit or to write posts.  In addition, the blogs that had been posted after Wednesday were taken down for about a day.  Some of these issues are explained in this article:  ZDNet

After examining further whether any of my material was destroyed, I have concluded that about two hours worth of work, including one entire saved blog, which had been saved at Blogger for later publication, was destroyed and can no longer be accessed.

I would agree with the author of the article at ZDNet that this episode is one reason why everyone needs to be careful about using cloud computing.

If all of my saved material had been destroyed, I would have not continued writing this blog.  


  1. In my opinion, cloud computing is getting a bad wrap right now. Running a data center is not without challenges. Every company (and they were all large Fortune 500 firms) and colleges I went to had systems that went down periodically. Unless you are extremely talented and lucky, I think you are still better off outsourcing the data center operation to a professional company. That is essentially what cloud computing is all about. Just my two cents. Regardless of where and how you run a data center: backup, backup, backup.

    My question to you that you always mention the yield that is indicated on your confirmation statement. It got me thinking that I did not recall ever seeing that on a confirmation. I checked back with Schwab & Scottrade confirmations. Neither include such information on their confirms. Have you requested this to be included in your confirms or am I being "cheated" by my brogerage firms? Thanks. I enjoy reading your blog and I'm glad you didn't lose too much info during the outage.

  2. Marty: You may want to check the confirms for Schwab again. I believe that they do state the YTM, call information, ratings, and other information except for current yield.

    My issue with Schwab is that I am only able to buy investment grade bonds online. I will sometimes buy an investment grade bond using Schwab, one of the three brokers I utilize as the Trustee for a Testamentary Trust.

    I have used Vanguard to buy some junk rated bonds but that firm charges a $50 commission and they provide less information on their confirmations than Schwab. I had to move my Roth account to Vanguard to be able to buy principal protected notes, synthetic floaters, and some other exchange traded bonds that Fidelity no longer allowed their customers to buy. And those types of securities were my bread and butter for the Roth IRA.

    I have not used two other brokers that I have for bond purchases.

    Are you able to buy junk rated bonds at Schwab?

    I am borderline on continuing writing this blog as it is. It does help me focus, which is becoming increasingly difficult by the day, but it takes a great deal of time. And, I also have a lot more responsibilities in managing family money now after my father died last year which also necessitated that I take over my mother's accounts.

    I am not set up to back up my "free" blog and was relying on Blogger to store information for later use in the blog. I no longer can depend on that and personally do not want to spend the money or to take the time to back up everything that I do for this blog.

    I certainly would not rely on Google Docs unless I had a system set up where everything was instantly backed up at HQ.

    I do not use Scottrade.

    For the brokers that I do use, only Fidelity provides all of the relevant information, with no request necessary. That information includes the YTM, current yield, ratings by Moody's and S & P, next call date and call price and maturity.

  3. Thanks for the heads-up on Alon bonds, great real-time work. Sold $105 and don't need the risk.
    Now, we need a windfall pr on Mission Ed. Sell the spike is a good motto.

  4. I did not realize the potential problem until after I sold the bond. I was just engaging in some profit taking before I suffer the inevitable loss in my junk bond ladder strategy. On a total return basis, I netted $292.02 on this two bonds, with +151.77 coming from the capital gain portion:

    +151.77 Realized Gain on Bonds
    +135 Interest Paid on 4/15
    +23.25 Accrued Interest to be Paid by Buyer on Settlement Date
    -18 Interest Paid by Me at Settlement to Seller on 11/9/2010 Settlement Date
    Total + $292.02

    CBS News had a story tonight that the Corp of Engineers will soon open the Morganza Spillway to divert water away from populated areas in New Orleans and Baton Rouge which will flood badly the Atchafalaya River Basin where the Krotz Springs refinery is located. I will simply monitor now what happens over the next two weeks, and whether it would make sense to buy the bonds back at some point.

    I now own 5 EMG bonds after my senior moment. I bought two by accident in the wrong account at Vanguard, my Roth IRA, and I will probably need to hold onto those two because Vanguard charges a $50 commission and does not permit selling of bonds online. So I will at some point later this year or next year sell two of the three EMG bonds held in Fidelity accounts, where the commission cost is much less and I can sell online. Vanguard's policies in this area and their high commission are impossible to defend.

  5. Hi. Thanks for responding to my question and comment. I just double checked a confirm for a recent listed bond purchase. It has nothing about any yield. Just the name of the security and a note that it is callable. Very strange. I haven't bought any junk bonds with Schwab so I can't tell you if they would allow it or not. If you give me a symbol, I will try it and put in an price such that it won't get traded.

    Sorry about you dad. Hope you will keep up the blog. It gives me ideas that I find no where else.

    I have a long standing MF account at Vanguard and opened up a brokerage account when they offered no fee ETFs. I'm pretty disappointed with the whole implementation and some of the pricing is outrageous. But I like their ETF and they offer better flexibility than their mutual funds.

  6. Marty: We may be talking about two different things on bond confirmations. None of the brokerage firms that I use provide much information in their confirmations for exchange traded bonds.

    When I mention the yield and yield to maturity for a bond purchase in my blog, as shown on a confirmation, I am discussing a bond purchase made in the bond market. For those purchases, Schwab does provide YTM and other basic information like ratings, maturity, and call information. I control as trustee a trust account at Schwab and bought last week a RRD investment grade bond in the bond market and the confirm had all of that information except for the current yield.

    Of the brokerages that I use, Vanguard is by far the worst in terms of navigating the site and there are a number of simple things that the firm does not do which I would regard as routine. I do pay just $7 for stock exchange trades, slightly less than Fidelity.

    I do not know for example whether the total Vanguard brokerage accounts are up or down for the day when I look at it, and many other issues like that.

    I do use Vanguard to buy ETFs and I do have some of their mutual funds. My mother has owned Vanguard Health for close to 20 years and has done very well with it. I own several of their mutual funds: Vanguard Star, Vanguard Equity Income Vanguard Inflation Protected Securities, Vanguard Intermediate Term Investment grade bonds and one of their intermediate term muni bond funds.

    While I can buy Junk bonds online at Vanguard, the pricing is way out of line, an outrageous $50 and I can not sell what I buy online.

    Fidelity is the best for me when buying and selling junk bonds. Schwab will not even permit junk bond purchases online, and neither will TD Ameritrade.

    My father lived to be 89 and still had a sharp mind and good eyes when he passed away last year. We can all hope for the same. He had to borrow $2 to buy my mother a wedding ring in 1941. They were married in November 1941 (69 years), just before Pearl Harbor, and my dad then served in WWII. He went into business with another young man in 1951, that he had met for the first time before WWII when they fought each other in the Southern Golden Gloves boxing championship. My dad was tough, honest, a highly focused and detailed oriented person, and fair. Within 15 years, those two young men had built the largest homebuilding operation in Middle Tennessee from scratch and a the largest in Tennessee a few years later. He encouraged me to invest early on and I used his broker to make my first purchase when I was 16.

  7. Thanks for clarifying the bond information for me. I can't recall buying the last time I bought a non-listed security including CDs. I don't like the lack of liquidity and transparency along with the terrible bid-ask spreads. I've sworn that I won't buy another again. I even find the bid-ask spread extremely wide on some some low volume securities.

    I sympathize with your data loss. I still hope you will continue with your blog.

    You dad sounds a lot like many of the other WWII GIs. I'm sure he enjoyed Band of Brothers.

  8. I found a confirm for a non-exchange traded bond I bought. You were correct. The confirm did have the yield to maturity clearly listed. This was in a Schwab account. I will look around on my other accounts to see if I have similar trades and let you know.