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A minor outage


By Scott Bradner


My T1 Internet link has been down for the last 5 days.  This is not any kind of tragedy along the lines of what has been happening in New Orleans and the gulf area but had brought it home to me how dependent I've become on Internet-based resources for my daily life.


I wonÕt go into my frustrations with Verizon other than to say that while many Verizon people have been working quite hard to get my line back up again too often that work has involved convincing Verizon higherups that the customer (me) actually wanted to get his service restored.  The pattern was that as soon as one supervisor was convinced to dispatch someone, there would be a shift change and the convincing, first by me of a new customer agent, than of the new supervisor by the customer agent, would have to be done all over again.   As I submit this, the line is still down 6 days after the problem started and 5 days after the line became unusable.  Note that I have a business not consumer service, I have no idea how bad the response would have been for a consumer DSL line.


I've not been totally without Internet connectivity.  I have been using dial-up since the problem started but itÕs a bad substitute for the always-on T1 and the dialup does not support mail to my email address or my web page.


It turns out that most of my day-to-day activities at work and at home involve accessing the net in some way.  A lot of the use is mundane and personal such as following the news, looking up miscellaneous information including phone numbers, driving directions and movie schedules, listening to music (, tracking the real-time stats of motor races (, exchanging email with my sister and capriciously Googleing just about anything.   Speaking of the news.  I feel like I'm in the news dark ages having gone from actively seeking out news from many sources on topics I find interesting to being at the mercy of the commercial TV news channels.


I'm amazed at the quite random topics that I've gotten in the habit of Googleing based on some mention in the news or on some web page - I seem to be becoming a personification of the adage of knowing more and more about less and less  -- but maybe that is a feature of the Age of Google that we are living in.


I also use the net extensively in my Harvard day-job (a job that does not stop when I leave the office).  I have to keep up to date concerning security topics and threats and monitor University activities.  I also need good connectivity for my consulting -- researching for these columns, looking for patent prior art, checking out new companies and new technologies, etc.


I'm embarrassed to say that I've been caught not practicing what I preach - I have neglected my backup website for the last 6 months so its nowhere near to being up to date.


I'll be happy when (if?) Verizon gets my connectivity back and, at least for a little while, may recognize my current state of dependency.


disclaimer:  Harvard has no opinion that I know about my T1 outage so the above represents my own thoughts.