Update, Sunday, October 4, 2009 Edit

10:00am ET

The forums and blogs are currently offline, but we expect them to be restored before too long. This actually has nothing to do with football; it's a network issue across all of American City Business Journals (SN's parent company). We apologize for this... please stay tuned.

Update, Sunday, September 13, 2009 Edit

9:00pm ET

We've been in the clear for most of the day, so all systems are a go, including the forums (though not the member blogs for now). Sorry for the scare.

3:30pm ET

Login functionality has been restored to SOM Online as of a few hours ago. We are still aiming to play tonight's games as regularly scheduled, provided we do not experience more major login problems. The forums and blogs are being kept down for the time being as a precaution.

11:30am ET

Sorry for the buzzkill, but this being the first Sunday of the new football season, our servers are getting hammered and it is affecting login functionality, blogs and the forums. Our tech staff has been working non-stop trying to prepare for this situation, but unfortunately the strain on the servers is too great.

We're hopeful that we will be able to fortify the site to restore stability and full accessibility to Strat-O-Matic Online, but we also need to be realistic and plan for the case that you may not be able to log in to your teams easily today. If our problems persist through most of the day, we are prepared to postpone tonight's games until we can restore stability to the site.

I'll try to keep you as updated as I can.

Update, Friday, September 11, 2009 Edit

The forums are back up, at least for now. Our tech director isn't 100% certain they're up for good, but we're hopeful.

Update, Friday, September 11, 2009 Edit

Forums and blogs are still down, and I'm hearing that it's not likely they'll be up today. The tech staff will be doing everything they can through the weekend.

Meanwhile, I'm pressing forward with all things Strat-O-Matic, including a minor new feature or two coming in the next week, TWO new player sets coming in the next few months - including the much-anticipated upcoming new Negro League cards - and improvements to our channels of communication. Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 10, 2009 Edit

Not that things were exactly rosy before, but the situation here at has turned woeful over the last few days. SN has been having disastrous problems across the board, and the forums have been inaccessible for a day now, and only sporadically available for longer. Strat-O-Matic Online actually has been one of the more stable sections of the site, but SN's main site problems crept across and rendered logging in to your teams impossible for a short period of time this evening. As I type this, login functionality has been restored; let's hope it stays that way.

Thursday's team settings deadline was postponed an hour to 11pm ET. Had we had further access interruption, we were prepared to postpone that night's games until the coast was clear - fortunately it turned out to be unnecessary. We'd of course like to avoid that contingency as much as we can, but we recognize that under the most dire circumstances it may be warranted.

The forums problem is being feverishly worked on, though I would not expect them to be accessible until at least tomorrow (Friday).

Earlier today, when the blogs and forums were up for a brief time, I posted the following public message which, for obvious reasons, I re-print here.

At this point I'm not sure if there's anything I can say that can excuse our site's recent performance. Sporadic site outages and forums instability have plagued us for some time now, and especially over the last couple of days. There's no two ways about it; you, our customers, deserve better than what we have delivered.

I know I sound like a broken record by now, but I offer you my continued and sincerest apologies. Our problems are not for lack of caring, effort, or acknowledgement of the direness of the situation. We are fully aware that not only have we lost long-time customers over the last 2 months - if we do not improve our site's performance going forward, we will lose you.

For those of you who may suspect that our problems are due to a perceived neglect of Strat-O-Matic Online on's part, that is very much untrue. Whatever problems have affected Strat-O-Matic have affected the rest of even worse. I know that doesn't make a difference to you to hear, but just as a matter of fact, it's logistically the case that we need to make SOM stable in order to make SN stable.

Here's a quick background of what has caused our problems - again, for those of you that care. Due to the tough business climate of the past year, was forced to take steps to cut our costs. One of our biggest former expenses was our contract with the company that used to host and support our servers. By purchasing brand new hardware of our own, the goal was to not only save money on our hosting contract, but also improve the quality of our equipment, and we would make our investment back in the savings.

So the problem is not in our new hardware. What we underestimated was how badly a misconfigured, improperly-tuned new database environment would hurt our performance, and how evasive a full solution would be. While our staff had ironed out most of the problems over the last 2 months, allowing for a generally-working site, there were some nagging ones that persisted, causing the sporadic outages we've experienced, especially over the last week.

Well, as I know you’ll agree, enough is enough. This is what we're doing about it. We've begun working with an outside database consulting company who is coming in to find and eliminate the remaining problems in our new setup. We recognized the need for the hired gun, and to extend the metaphor, we had no choice but to pull the trigger. We're optimistic about the relationship, and when we finally solve the last of the problems, we are confident that we will be able to maintain consistent and solid site performance from then on. To be as certain as we can about that, we'll be biting the bullet (sorry) and retaining the services of the consulting company for the foreseeable future.

It couldn't be any clearer to us how critical a juncture this is. Our jobs, our business's bottom line, and your satisfaction are at stake.

Thank you for your time, and your continued patience.

-Bernie H.