It’s been a bumpy ride, but I am happy to announce that the server problems have been resolved, and logins are enabled, so get those gravatars in there!
Here’s the full scoop on what happened behind the scenes over the last several weeks:
In order to optimize the performance of gravatar.com, my host moved the site to some new hardware and set it up to run across three different machines. Due to miscommunication on both our parts, this led to the gray/black gravatars as my code was ill equipped to handle different document roots. Unable to get ahold of my host, I eventually figured out how to fix the gravatar serving script, but was left helpless as session affinity was not enabled, leading to the disappearing session problem that forced me to disable logins. Due to continued miscommunication and my emails not reaching my host (paranoid spam control), this problem was unresolved for several weeks (because my host was unaware of the problem). Once I finally got in contact with my host, the session problem was fixed promptly, only to be followed by futher hardware (hard disk performance) problems, which was why the site was down yesterday. That problem is now resolved, and everything seems to be fully functional.
I rated what gravatars made it through the fiasco, but most of the pending avatars were lost, so I apologize to those of you who will have to re-upload your avatars. If this happend to you, you should have gotten an email saying as much.
Once again, I apologize for the turbulence, and appreciate the support of everyone who offered it. You are why I keep doing this.