In 1911, naturalist John Muir wrote, "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."
While many of us who enjoy the wild places, including Mount St. Helens, would certainly agree with that comment, it has never been so true with bringing you images of the volcano, or not, the past few months. As you can see we have both VolcanoCams functioning and bringing you images once again. There never was any problem with the cameras. They continued to offer up gray skies, sunny days and starless nights. We just lost the the ability to transmit those images from cameras to web server. However, with the help of a number of Forest Service employees literally from across the country, the views are back.
So what was the problem? Our initial theory was a network fault (then unknown) was the culprit. We proceeded with that starting from known points that worked until we hit a dead spot. That meant backtracking from the web server that received the images. It also meant starting with the cameras and working our way down from the mountain. Somewhere in the middle had to be the center of our frustration. Ultimately that proved to be the case, but not what we originally thought.
The problem turned out to be a network fault. What created the problem was unexpected. The short answer (without giving away the finer details to protect the cameras) is a change in network configuration brought about a decommisioning of a couple of old servers totally unrelated to the VolcanoCams. But as John Muir wrote 99 years ago, we unhitched a part of the Universe we never knew was connected in the first place.
In the next couple of weeks you mights see a camera or two go offline (briefly, we hope!) as we hitch things up a little tighter and make things more stable. We're also in the works to retire the ClassicCam and replace it with another HD camera. We don't anticipate installing the replacement camera until Spring.
Our thanks to all of you who wrote to us, commenting, questioning, even complaining while we endured a Winter of Disconnect. On this Groundhog Day Mount St. Helens saw its shadow this morning. While that may portend six more weeks of winter, perhaps it really means thisis the start of morning shadows once again.