So, this is how the cavemen must have felt. I was about ready to go outside and start pounding on rocks, hoping someone would understand my primitive form of communication.
I was hoping a medical crisis, or at least a need to know the definition of a really tough word wouldn’t occur. You know, the type of thing for which you need Google. Or, in times of real desperation, Wikipedia.
You may scoff at me, but you have to ask yourself, what would you do without the Internet?
It’s a cold reality that slapped me in the face as I arrived at work one day this week. For those of you that don’t know, I’m involved in the local TV news business in my “real” job.
I go to work somewhat early in the morning, at which time I help another person put the finishing touches on early newscasts, which we then deliver. To put things together, and to get them sent out, we rely on the Internet.
That explains the look of terror on my co-worker’s face when — and I had been forewarned by a text she sent asking me to get there early — she told me, “No Internet.”
We were cut off from the outside world. Well, except for by telephones, both traditional and cellular, and other wireless devices. However, the point remains, we needed Internet access to get two-hours of early morning TV program put together, and we needed it soon.
Let me pause here to let me run a couple of two word phrases by you that I guarantee will raise goosebumps on the back of your neck. Otherwise innocent sounding words until put together like this: Routine maintenance. Scheduled upgrade. I could even add a third, Short downtime.
If you have IT people at your work, and they tell you there will be some “routine maintenance” performed on the system, alert the carrier pigeons and run for the hills. It’s never routine, it’s never done on schedule and it’s rarely short. It just produces four words of terror: The Internet is down.
Somehow we survived, patching together one solid Plan B, while wondering aloud why there was no redundancy system to cover in case of such circumstances. And, of course, right after hooking up different machines, changing the format of things and starting to see a self-created light at the end of a tunnel, the guardian angels of the World Wide Web came through and restored our connection. Someone had to cover for part of our work, but we made it through with minimal disruption.
So, before you put the paper down long enough to call me a whiner, let me ask you this. What would happen at your work if the Internet suddenly goes down?
For many people I’m sure they don’t rely on such a connection everyday, but an equally large group may be — much as we almost were — dead in the water.
We had no way of tapping into our major sources of information. But it was just as well, we also had no way to broadcast it out.
How about you? Are you hooked up to a billing system that runs on the web? Do you have to place orders from a supplier through the web? And remember, no Internet equals no e-mail, and don’t many of you rely on e-mail for the base form of office communication.
Some have back-up systems, maybe a throw back to “the way we used to do it.” However, yet others would be left to forlornly look at a blank screen.
It would be so bad, you wouldn’t even be able to look up and see if “forlornly” is really even a word.
Even here at home, as I write this, if the Internet were to crash, I’d have no way to send this column to the newsdpaper, and you would have spent the last four minutes looking at a blank space.
Sure, I heard stories of people actually printing (or “typing”) it out on paper and physically taking it to the newspaper office, but that sounds so complicated. Plus, I’m not sure they’d know what to do with it once I got there.
So, please, no routine maintenance for the next half hour.