August 1, 2005 1:00 PM PDT

Web glitch hits Al Gore's cable channel

Al Gore's new cable channel got off to a rocky start on Monday--at least online.

The Current TV site, where viewers are encouraged to vote on programs and submit video segments, appeared to be inundated with traffic the day of the Gore-backed cable channel's debut, according to site performance tracker Keynote Systems.

In a test of the site's performance early Monday, Keynote experienced "significant" delays in loading the site's home page, said a senior Internet analyst at the company, Roopak Patel. Testing the site from five major U.S. cities, it took Keynote as long as to 22 seconds to load the home page, he said. In some cases, Keynote was unable to download the home page at all, he said. Five seconds or less is the acceptable range for a home page, Patel said.

Current TV Chairman Al Gore
Credit: Current TV
Al Gore, Chairman
Current TV

The performance problems are likely a result of a crush of legitimate traffic rather than a denial-of-service-attack or other problem, Patel said. It is also unlikely that it has anything to do with the design of the site, which incorporates a lot of Flash animation, he added.

"It's probably because of a high number of requests to (visit) the site," he said.

A Current representative was unaware of any problems with the site, but said a Web traffic jam is possible. "It might be inundated with hits right now," the representative said.

Current Chairman Gore is trying to break new ground with the channel by melding the interactivity of the Web with TV broadcasting. For instance, the cable and satellite channel plans to tap viewers for a significant portion of its programming. Viewers can submit short programs online. They can also view other's video submissions on the Current Web site and influence which ones air via an online voting system.

Programming on the 24-hour network consists of short-form content called "pods," which are segments lasting 15 seconds to five minutes on topics such as entertainment, parenting, careers and global events. It's a format Gore hopes will appeal to people aged 18 to 34, a coveted demographic among advertisers.

The site's performance problem leaves some egg on the face of Gore, who has claimed a deep involvement in the advent of the Internet. The former U.S. vice president is a member of the board of Apple Computer and a consultant to senior executives of Google. On the other hand, the traffic jam may indicate a stronger response to the channel's debut than Gore and company expected.

Several big names in technology, including Google, have tie-ins to Current. The channel plans to report the most popular searches on Google twice every hour. Rob Glaser, chief executive of RealNetworks, is a financial backer.

Current is available in almost 19 million U.S. homes--12 million from satellite company DirecTV and about 5 million on Time Warner's digital-cable service. The channel inherited the distribution agreements of the former News World International channel, which Current acquired from Vivendi Universal Entertainment last year.

11 comments

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What hope do we have?
What hope do we have when the very man who "Invented the Internet" can't even get his home-page to respond to visitors? I have yet to see this effort myself... but given that its backed by Gore, I imagine the technology is nothing revolutionary, and the content is biased.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nice ad hominem attack...
" but given that its backed by Gore, I imagine the technology is
nothing revolutionary, and the content is biased."

The content is both user produced and Google-powered, so I
doubt the channel will be leaning one way or the other,
politically - except that it won't be controlled by the giant
multinational companies that dictate content at the large "liberal
media" networks.

I guess from your perspective, the reality of their impartial
Google feed will be hopelessly "liberal".
Posted by Hep Cat (440 comments )
Link Flag
Nothing Significant....
...The web site seems simply mundane at best. Nothing stands out
as quality in design, operation, or content. Much like Al himself, I'd
say. This site is going to need a lot of very generous sponsors to
stay alive.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Current's site is faster than C|Net dot com!
Whatever problems they had with load balancing or server
deployment, it's fixed. Site loads in less than a 1/2 second on an
old powerbook hooked to a cable Internet line. C|Net, whose
offices are only 40 miles away from here, takes nearly two
seconds to load on the same machine and Internet connection -
because of all the ads.

I would also like to point out that Gore did more than "claim[ed]
a deep involvement in the advent of the Internet. "

While he didn't claim to write the protocols, lease the lines, or
dig the ditches for the fiber, as so many in the press apparently
wanted us to believe in the fall of 2000, Gore did introduce bills
to fund the research into computer networking on a national
scale through the National Science Foundation.

I've copied the text of the bill below for the benefit of
News.com's editorial staff, as well as for Alorie Gilbert - who is
apparently incapable of using Google. The bill is the first hit on
Google when I search for "Al Gore Internet Bill"

While I know it's not their job to thoroughly vet every story that
appears, I'm glad they provide a forum that allows me to dispel
the myth that Al Gore ever said that he "invented the Internet".
Here's Gore's verbiage in support of the 1986 appropriation for
the National Science Foundation Authorization Act:

"MR. PRESIDENT, IT GIVES ME GREAT PLEASURE TO SUPPORT THE
PROPOSED NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION AUTHORIZATION
ACT.

WITHIN THIS BILL I HAVE TWO AMENDMENTS, THE COMPUTER
NETWORK STUDY AND THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT REPORT. THE
FIRST AMENDMENT WAS ORIGINALLY INTRODUCED WITH
SENATOR GORTON AS S. 2594. IT CALLS FOR A 2-YEAR STUDY
OF THE CRITICAL PROBLEMS AND CURRENT AND FUTURE
OPTIONS REGARDING COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS FOR
RESEARCH COMPUTERS. THE SECOND AMENDMENT REQUIRES
THE PRESIDENT TO SUBMIT A REPORT TO CONGRESS ON THE
ACTIONS TAKEN TO ESTABLISH AN INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF
THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT.

BOTH OF THESE AMENDMENTS SEEK NEW INFORMATION ON
CRITICAL PROBLEMS OF TODAY. THE COMPUTER NETWORK
STUDY ACT IS DESIGNED TO ANSWER CRITICAL QUESTIONS ON
THE NEEDS OF COMPUTER TELECOMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS
OVER THE NEXT 15 YEARS. FOR EXAMPLE, WHAT ARE THE
FUTURE REQUIREMENTS FOR COMPUTERS IN TERMS OF
QUANTITY AND QUALITY OF DATA TRANSMISSION, DATA
SECURITY, AND SOFTWEAR [sic] COMPATIBILITY? WHAT
EQUIPMENT MUST BE DEVELOPED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE
HIGH TRANSMISSION RATES OFFERED BY FIBER OPTIC SYSTEMS?

BOTH SYSTEMS DESIGNED TO HANDLE THE SPECIAL NEEDS OF
SUPERCOMPUTERS AND SYSTEMS DESIGNED TO MEET THE NEEDS
OF SMALLER RESEARCH COMPUTERS WILL BE EVALUATED. THE
EMPHASIS IS ON RESEARCH COMPUTERS, BUT THE USERS OF ALL
COMPUTERS WILL BENEFIT FROM THIS STUDY. TODAY, WE CAN
BANK BY COMPUTER, SHOP BY COMPUTER, AND SEND LETTERS
BY COMPUTER. ONLY A FEW COMPANIES AND INDIVIDUALS USE
THESE SERVICES, BUT THE NUMBER IS GROWING AND EXISTING
CAPABILITIES ARE LIMITED.

IN ORDER TO COPE WITH THE EXPLOSION OF COMPUTER USE IN
THE COUNTRY, WE MUST LOOK TO NEW WAYS TO ADVANCE THE
STATE-OF-THE-ART IN TELECOMMUNICATIONS -- NEW WAYS
TO INCREASE THE SPEED AND QUALITY OF THE DATA
TRANSMISSION. WITHOUT THESE IMPROVEMENTS, THE
TELECOMMUNICATION NETWORKS FACE DATA BOTTLENECKS
LIKE THOSE WE FACE EVERY DAY ON OUR CROWDED HIGHWAYS.

THE PRIVATE SECTOR IS ALREADY AWARE OF THE NEED TO
EVALUATE AND ADOPT NEW TECHNOLOGIES. ONE PROMISING
TECHNOLOGY IS THE DEVELOPMENT OF FIBER OPTIC SYSTEMS
FOR VOICE AND DATA TRANSMISSION. EVENTUALLY WE WILL SEE
A SYSTEM OF FIBER OPTIC SYSTEMS BEING INSTALLED
NATIONWIDE.

AMERICA'S HIGHWAYS TRANSPORT PEOPLE AND MATERIALS
ACROSS THE COUNTRY. FEDERAL FREEWAYS CONNECT WITH
STATE HIGHWAYS WHICH CONNECT IN TURN WITH COUNTY
ROADS AND CITY STREETS. TO TRANSPORT DATA AND IDEAS,
WE WILL NEED A TELECOMMUNICATIONS HIGHWAY CONNECTING
USERS COAST TO COAST, STATE TO STATE, CITY TO CITY. THE
STUDY REQUIRED IN THIS AMENDMENT WILL IDENTIFY THE
PROBLEMS AND OPPORTUNITIES THE NATION WILL FACE IN
ESTABLISHING THAT HIGHWAY.
WITHIN THIS BILL I HAVE TWO AMENDMENTS, THE COMPUTER
NETWORK STUDY AND THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT REPORT. THE
FIRST AMENDMENT WAS ORIGINALLY INTRODUCED WITH
SENATOR GORTON AS S. 2594. IT CALLS FOR A 2-YEAR STUDY
OF THE CRITICAL PROBLEMS AND CURRENT AND FUTURE
OPTIONS REGARDING COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS FOR
RESEARCH COMPUTERS."
Posted by Hep Cat (440 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Might thin basis....
... for any serious claim that Al was a significant element in the
development of the Internet. Whatever happened to his greenhouse
effect part of his brief speech? Seems like there should be an
equivalent 'success' there too, unless Al was just blowing in the
wind.....
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Site Doesn't Work With Firefox
Home page menu graphics are positioned vertically instead of horizontally, and nothing happens when I click the four content choices. I guess Al and his team aren't up on the second most popular browser.
Posted by Stating (869 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What he said verus what he meant to say
He should have thought before he opened his mouth.
The facts are clear from the sound clip
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://drlinky.com/?L=9B629" target="_newWindow">http://drlinky.com/?L=9B629</a>

The media isnt against him either. Everyone knows that most of the media has a liberal slant to it.

The reason why everyone pokes fun is because it is so painfully obvious what he did.

Kieran Mullen
Posted by kieranmullen (1070 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Must be Good?
If Al Gore is involved it must be good. After all this guy not only invented the internet, he beat W, not. Seriously, this sounds like an interesting idea. Maybe this channel or google video can do for video what blogging did for news. Maybe, maybe not.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://jmaximus.blogspot.com" target="_newWindow">http://jmaximus.blogspot.com</a>
Posted by jmaximus9 (86 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AL Gore Rocks!
That Senate speech shows to all Al Gore's visionary supoort in establishing the internet. So all you haters need to shut up about that. Can someone come up and post some visionary speech that GWBush has made? No, I thought not and I am sure a lot of us will be eager to see just one ground breaking idea benefiting our society (on the level of internet technology) coming out of the conservative establishment in the White House today.
Al Gore's new cable channel sounds like a great idea. Based on the comments on this thread so far, great ideas seems to attract envious haters(including c/net)so eager to put down the ideas that seem to always flow thru their heads.

How can Al Gore be embarassed from what seems to be a large amount of people checking out his site?
Even if there was a legitimate glitch in the site that does not seem to be something that would be considered an egg in the face.
Almost every major web site(especially new ones) experience problems every now and then and we all have grown accustomed to it.

So I think that it is malicious to come out with this negative twist on what is really a positive beginning to a wonderful idea that many people are looking forward to.
Posted by tetsuyo (50 comments )
Link Flag
Librul Media
Everytime I hear liberal media this liberal media that I think this is a person who NEEDS to feel like a victim. Liberal media...yeah the same liberal media that hounded a guy for getting his d**k sucked and the other does whatever the hell he wants without being asked one question. No body ever called your patriotism into question for checking Bill Clinton but hell ask Bush one simple @ss question and you want the terrorists to win. I'm sick of that bullsh*t. And what wrong with the guy saying he took initiative in creating the internet...wasn't the internet started by government military funding?? I'm mean come on people, give it a rest. And this is coming from a guy that can't stand neither party, thinks both play games that only results in another inch up the @ss, a guy who wishes people would go the "third party" route to create more competition forcing politicans actually listening to the people.
Posted by Darryl Snortberry (96 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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