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Equipment Failures

February 13, 2008 | From the Associated Press
The company behind the BlackBerry smart phones said a three-hour e-mail outage Monday was caused by an upgrade designed to increase capacity. Research in Motion Ltd. said Tuesday that the upgrade was part of "routine and ongoing efforts," and that similar upgrades in the past had caused no problems. The outage, which started about 12:30 p.m. PST, annoyed subscribers who are used to checking and writing e-mail whenever they're in cellular coverage and able to make voice calls.
February 8, 2008 | Andrea Chang, Times Staff Writer
Couldn't get to your voice mail at home or work Wednesday or Thursday -- or leave a message on some phones? Neither could any other California customers with voice mail on their Verizon Communications Inc. land lines. A database error in a central server in Ontario froze the software for all 740,000 land-line customers subscribing to Verizon's voice mail early Wednesday, and the state's second-largest telephone company couldn't say late Thursday when the problem would be fixed.
January 31, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
A wide swath of the Middle East suffered Internet outages after two undersea cables in the Mediterranean were damaged, government officials and Internet service providers said. TeleGeography, a U.S. research group that tracks submarine cables around the world, said the severed lines account for 75% of the capacity connecting the Middle East to Europe. The disruption could last a week or more. It was not clear what severed the cables.
January 29, 2008 | Ralph Vartabedian, Times Staff Writer
Electronic voting was widely embraced -- with the help of the federal government -- as the cure for inaccuracies in vote counting that roiled the 2000 presidential election. But eight years later, the fix has spawned a new round of bitter controversy. Uncertainty, legal challenges and, in some cases, chaos are gripping voting offices as they contend with allegations that the electronic machines are ridden with defects and vulnerable to manipulation.
January 9, 2008 | Mike Anton
Federal inspectors are investigating the failure of an emergency generator at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station during three tests in late December. The diesel generator is one of two that provide electricity to safety systems in the event of a power outage at the plant. Emergency generators are tested monthly. Inspectors from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission arrived at San Onofre on Tuesday and will spend several days looking at what caused the failure and how plant managers responded.
December 10, 2007 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
Plagued by troublesome fuel sensors in the space shuttle's main propellant tanks, NASA officials Sunday decided to postpone the launch of Atlantis until Jan. 2 at the earliest. For the second time in two launch attempts last week, at least one of the four engine cutoff sensors failed when technicians were fueling the craft on its launch pad. Two sensors failed during fueling Thursday, and a third failed while the tank was being emptied.
December 7, 2007 | From the Associated Press
NASA called off Thursday's launch of the space shuttle Atlantis after a pair of fuel gauges in its big external tank failed to work properly, a recurring problem since the 2003 Columbia disaster. Shuttle managers said the next launch attempt would be no earlier than Saturday. Preliminary indications were that the problem might be with an open circuit rather than the gauges themselves -- perhaps a spliced line or a bad connector -- which would be easier to fix.
November 19, 2007
An electrical breakdown snarled traffic on the Northeast rail corridor for hours, delaying trains arriving at New York's Penn Station from Philadelphia and Boston. Damage to overhead wires halted a passenger train about 8:30 a.m., initially blocking New Jersey Transit service and stranding passengers on one northbound train for nearly 2 1/2 hours.
October 30, 2007 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
NASA managers have extended the mission of space shuttle Discovery by a day so that the astronauts can take a closer look at a problem discovered over the weekend with the solar arrays powering the International Space Station. The decision to perform what the space agency called "exploratory surgery" was made Monday after spacewalking astronauts from Discovery found what appeared to be metal shavings inside a joint that rotates to allow the solar panels to track the sun.
October 22, 2007 | Mary Beckman, Special to The Times
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration and heart device maker Medtronic told doctors to stop using a particular component -- the wire lead -- of Medtronic's latest generation of implanted heart defibrillators. Cardiologist Dr. William Maisel, a consultant to the FDA, explains what these devices do and what went wrong. What are these implantable heart devices? Implantable heart devices come in two types. The more common device, a pacemaker, is designed for hearts that beat too slowly.
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