Is it just my imagination, or is Internet access reliability getting worse?
I swear, every other thunderstorm which goes by leaves a bunch of people without connectivity.
If you're an individual, with just a home connection used for surfing and such, it may not be such a big deal. If you're a business that depends on the Internet, and many more businesses than you think are in that boat, it's much more of a big deal.
Just last week, while I was on vacation, I got a frantic message telling me that a customer's Internet was out.
To this customer, Internet connectivity is very important. The customer had even gone to the trouble of installing a backup Internet provider, with a completely different company, to provide service in the event that the primary provider (with a fiber optic connection, no less) goes down.
Well, the primary has gone down a couple times, and the backup has always kicked in like it's supposed to.
This time, it didn't.
Guess what? Shortly after my first message, another one came in telling me to ignore the first. What had happened was that both providers had gone down, individually, at the same time. The customer was still without service, but there was nothing we could do. At some point, the service came back to normal, but not before throwing the customer and my company into a near panic.
Now, the two Internet providers are both big-name companies that have been around for many years. I'm not going to name names, although sometimes I think perhaps I should. Both providers are well-financed, carrier-grade outfits. At least they are supposed to be.
The moral of the story: Don't put all your connectivity eggs into one basket. Maybe after this, I should rephrase it to say don't even put them all into two baskets.
At any rate, prepare to be without service once in a while.
Here's another take on the same theme. If you're a business of any size, you have more than likely already been the subject of at least one campaign by some phone company or another to try to get you change your telephone service.
The pitch typically goes something like this: "Change all of your phone lines and Internet to us, and we'll give you a price you can't refuse." It will do a "study" of your current situation, and the saving varies, but the story is the same.
Be wary. Very wary. Doing this will have some advantages, like a single bill and a single place to call for help, but it's also a "single point of failure" for your organization. Not a good idea.
Here's an example.
Suppose you run a restaurant on Main Street. It's Saturday night and the place is full. Some oddball thing happens and your Internet goes out. Power is still on, cooks are still cooking, and diners are still eating. Of course, you do half your business by credit cards these days, and as the customers get the checks, they present you with their plastic.
Huh, that's strange, the card won't go through. Guess what? The card is processed via the Internet. Now what are you going to do? Not a pleasant situation.
Now a second take on the same scenario. Same thing, but when you switched all your connectivity to that one provider, you insisted on keeping one old regular telephone line, connected to your point-of-sale system's backup modem.
This time, the credit cards get processed, although it does happen more slowly over the old telephone line. But I'm sure you'll agree that there's a big, BIG difference between "more slowly" and "not working."
Just a little food for thought as we become more and more dependent on our Internet providers.
Bruce Endries is former systems manager at The Daily Star. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/techgp.
Is it just my imagination, or is Internet access reliability getting worse?
Raise a glass
The popularity of small-batch adult beverages is intensifying in upstate New York.Continued ...
Thick hot air and clammy clothes entice brisk visions of jumping into a pool of refreshing water. Plunging into the soft cool environment of good old-fashioned H2O can rejuvenate the soggy mind.Continued ...
Racing Under Saddle
Those looking for the thrill of watching live horse racing will not have to travel outside the region this summer.Continued ...
A century of celebration: Springfield plans 100th anniversary Fourth of July parade
Itâ€™s as good an invitation today as it was in 1913, when a Springfield Center correspondent to a local newspaper on July 2 wrote, â€œCelebrate the Fourth of July by coming to town and enjoying our celebration and inauguration day.â€� That particular celebration was one that sparked an idea for something much bigger the next year. That event, the Springfield Fourth of July Parade, is now set to celebrate its 100th anniversary on Friday.Continued ...
Local valedictorians talk about getting to No. 1
The valedictorian speech at graduation may be peppered with innuendos, inside jokes and some honest ribbing, but becoming valedictorian offers more than just a captive audience at a student's milestone.Continued ...
- Raise a glass
- Around The Arts
Glimmerglass director offers employment tips for arts grads
So, in a few short weeks you're graduating with an arts degree. Now what?! In the safety of college, one can ignore the realities of the outside world, where housing and meal allowances aren't rolled into a tuition payment and jobs aren't available simply because you're a student.Continued ...
Volunteers are the SWAT of the arts world
When you work at an arts organization, particularly a nonprofit, employees often wear many hats -- accomplishing the duties that appear in the traditional job description, and then some. It happens everywhere. It's a running joke among people who work at nonprofits. There is too much to do, and not enough people to do it. That's when you call in the back up -- SWAT if you will.Continued ...
Let creativity flow with unstructured art projects
As I sit here writing this, the holiday glow is still going strong (my column deadline is two weeks before the publication date), and I've been spending a great deal of time not only with my daughter, but her stuff. We're incredibly lucky to have a loving network of family and friends that spoil her, so I've been merging her new goodies with her old.Continued ...
Opportunities abound for career in the arts
I was recently asked to speak at a local high school about my career path and how I came to work in the arts. It was interesting speaking with these seniors, and discussing their hopes for life after high school.Continued ...
The art of the appraisal explained by one who knows
So often in this column my co-writer, Brittany, and I talk about how art is everywhere and can be appreciated by all. Perhaps because of my passion for everyday art, there is one part of the art world I just cannot grasp -- art appraisal. How can you put a value on something so seemingly subjective? So, I set out to learn more about this industry.Continued ...
- Glimmerglass director offers employment tips for arts grads
- Music Beat
Oneonta student looks to take music industry training in different direction
At a recent concert reception in New York City, I was surprised to meet people who had imminent plans to move to the Otsego-Delaware county area. They explained that our area is so rich in musical and graphic arts that they knew they would enjoy living here.Continued ...
- Music Industry Tips
Complete education involves classroom, real-world learning
There is new, long overdue attention being paid in our institutions of higher education to the use of directed practical experience as an essential partner to the classroom lecture.Continued ...
- Music Industry tips
Copyright royalties can make you smile
A few years ago, I wrote an article on the skill and dedication necessary to become a songwriter.Continued ...
- Oneonta student looks to take music industry training in different direction
- Parenting Imperfect
Oh, just to be able to savor an English muffin
All I wanted to do was eat my English muffin. The family had other plans.Continued ...
A reminder of the small-child years
It's amazing how quickly you forget what earlier stages of parenting are like. This is probably a blessing -- and one that only evolved after countless generations of parents only had one child because they could remember each stage too clearly.Continued ...
Well, at least she's listening to what I say
The older the kids get, the happier I am that we have a dog. She, at least, seems to be excited to see me when I get home.Continued ...
I want to visit the world of 'The Pioneer Woman'
It is a double-edged sword, this whole having kids old enough to leave home alone for short periods of time thing.Continued ...
It is in February when the breaking point is reached
If I could edit the calendar, the two months I'd do away with are August and February.Continued ...
- Oh, just to be able to savor an English muffin
- Senior scene
From the Office: Seniors need to work to keep their brains healthy, too
As we age, both our bodies and our brains face changes. How these changes affect us are determined by genes, environment and lifestyle.Continued ...
Looking Back: We should all cherish our time with our families
Time marches on, and it seems like a different lifetime since we brought up our own children.Continued ...
As Time Goes By: I'm hearing voices -- and not only mine own
There are two problems that seem to be inherit to growing older, which when viewed in the context of a sentence appear to be opposites but are in truth part of the same problem â€"you either are getting deaf or you start talking to things that surround you.Continued ...
- From the Office: What you need to know about Affordable Care Act, Medicaid redesign
Looking Back: Good service is always appreciated
Being not a mechanic with any expertise (and I certainly don't pretend any such thing) but after all these years in this lifetime and, I might add, having numerous automobiles (too many too count), I can, with some authority, stand on that proverbial "soap box."Continued ...
- From the Office: Seniors need to work to keep their brains healthy, too
- Tech, GP
Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
Well, I'm almost ready to let out a cheer.Continued ...
Businesses need backups for their computer people, systems
In the interest of full disclosure, I want to let you know that I have taken a new position, professionally. I recently joined Eastman Associates, a local general contractor, to do its IT work, as well as taking care of some other functions of the business.Continued ...
Windows 8 seems to be made for the good of Microsoft, not the user
By Bruce Endries The software company everybody loves to hate, Microsoft, recently released what it calls a "consumer preview" of their next operating system, Windows 8.Continued ...
The Granite State got it right on software purchases
Believe it or not, I have found a bright spot in the political landscape, amid all the vitriolic partisan fighting.Continued ...
Visit a construction site and you'll probably find an iPad
It was just about two years ago now, that the iPad came out, and I wrote a column about it. At that time, I went out on a limb and said that thought it was a product which would fill certain niches very well, but that it wasn't very likely to fill in for what is normally considered a computer.Continued ...
- Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
- Teen Talk
A Word of Advice: What's new isn't always what's better
We're often told in life that we should try to experience everything we can, broaden our horizons, and even I have written columns about stepping away from the familiar in hopes of growing.Continued ...
On the Go: Mile markers of life can be painful, but enjoy them
Our insignificance is crippling.Continued ...
Weekend Reviews: 'Cherry' perfectly captures my feelings
School has finally dwindled to a close, and I can feel myself settling into a state of unperturbed relaxation, everything once again becoming slow and lethargic, the days going by with an air of hazy wistfulness.Continued ...
Teenhood Today: Don't expect expectations to always be fulfilled
In case some of you haven't noticed, I'm not a huge animal person. Sorry to all of you animal-lovers, but you most likely won't ever see me at any secret meetings you may hold.Continued ...
A Word of Advice: Make most of summer with friends
I'm a junior in high school; well, an outbound junior.Continued ...
- A Word of Advice: What's new isn't always what's better