HughesNet Users Reportedly Cannot Search Twitter

Image by Justin Shearer via Flickr

NOTE: Dawn Stover has an update on this problem, see end of this post.

Increasingly, as Chris O’Brien recently wrote in the San Jose Mercury News, Twitter search is rivaling Google as a top choice to find out what’s happening right now. However, apparently some people who rely on HughesNet for broadband net access via satellite may be, at the moment, unable to use Twitter search.

I was tipped off to this by Dawn Stover of Popular Science. Dawn lives in a rural area of Washington state, and relies on HughesNet for satellite broadband. Today she wrote to me:

I can hardly ever click on Twitter Search without getting an error message: Status: 500 Internal Server Error Content-Type: text/html

I have searched Twitter Help to no avail. Googling suggests that this may be a problem unique to people who use HughesNet as an Internet service provider — satellite being our only option here in the hills. It doesn’t matter what browser I use. I’m not sure whether it is restricted to Mac users.

I’m wondering whether you’ve heard of others with this problem. It is REALLY frustrating because it makes Twitter almost completely useless.

I’m curious: Are many other HughesNet satellite customers are also experiencing this problem? Does it happen in some places and not others? Does this also happen to people using other satellite broadband providers? What’s causing it?

In the meantime I recommended that Dawn try Realtime Twitter Search Results — a Greasemonkey-based Firefox plug-in that incorporates the latest Twitter search results right into a regular Google search. I’ve been using it for a few days, and like it. (Hat tip to George Kelley for recommending it.)

UPDATE MAR. 10: Dawn Stover wrote me this morning…

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