The Day Communications Died- April 10, 2009

by on Jun.26, 2010, under Blog

It began as a normal morning. Well, not completely normal, I woke up before the alarm clock started blaring the latest bubble gum top 40 song in my head. I should have known from that point forward this was going to be a bad day.

In following my traditional ritual, (why change, it has worked so well this far) I moved downstairs with my eyes half open fumbling around for the power button to the coffee maker. Yes, I was up before the coffee maker started to make that magical dark liquid that brings me from the sleepy state to a less sleep state each morning. I hit the power button and waited for the puff, whirl, and drip of the first drop of the wake me up juice.

I sat down at the morning table, my Windows laptop to the left of me and the Mac laptop to the right. So elegantly laying between the two supercomputers was my trusty iPhone. I thought for a moment, this might not be such a bad morning. Coffee, communication, and comfort, what more could someone ask for. Comfort you ask… This is because I have been home this past week and that has been a rare occurrence lately.

I power up my Windows laptop to continue my morning ritual to check email. I think to myself, how many came in overnight, twenty, thirty, one hundred. What new fire has ignited that requires my attention? Then I notice it. Microsoft Outlook reports the last synchronization with my company server was at 2:12 AM. This happens from time to time, my Windows laptop loses connection to the network and I have to restart of Outlook, or worst case reboot for the computer.

As my Windows computer begins to close applications and reboot, I now have about 10 minutes to turn to my trusty Mac notebook. Certainly, my Mac will not let me down. I lift the lid and awaken the notebook up from its sleep mode. Huh-oh? No emails are arriving in my Entourage email program (Entourage – Microsoft’s Mac version of Outlook). OK, now something is really wrong, I think to myself. I need some coffee to deal with this emergency. Fortunate for me, the coffee maker has finished and I can grab some coffee.

I fill my cup with coffee and think to myself, I have a wireless connection to each computer, but no Internet. This must mean that my router or Internet modem has lost connection to my Internet Service Provider (ISP). I must step in front of each unit and begin the ritual of standing on one foot, unplugging each device, praying for a connection from the Internet Gods, (Charter communication) and then power each device back up in proper sequence. As I finish plugging the last unit in, I see flashing and solid lights, this is a good thing!

Like a child on Christmas morning, I run back to the kitchen spilling coffee along the way. If I have Internet again, who cares if I lose a little wake up juice along the way? Both computers are up and I eagerly click on Send and Receive for each computer to connect to the Internet and quench this thirst for information. What?!? Still no email? No connection to the Internet, this just can’t be. I think… I can get through this. I can use my iPhone and check my email through my AT&T network connection.

I reach for my trusty iPhone, (Again Apple product) only to find a “No Service” message displayed on the phone. I think to myself, this just does not make sense, what has happened? I have no Internet access that happens from time to time, but no AT&T phone service. I tell myself not to over react and to stop thinking about the movie, Independence Day (Google it). OK Rod, take a deep breath, just grab you wife’s Verizon phone and see if she has communication. Nope, her BlackBerry also displays a message, “Searching for Network.” OK, now I am really concerned. About a month ago, we cancelled our Verizon landline service for Vonage (VOIP – Voice over IP) and Verizon used the scare tactic, “what happens if you lose Internet and cell service, you will be screwed.” I thought, c’mon in today’s world losing Internet, AT&T, and Verizon at once, it will never happen! I now begin thinking…. Has there been an attack on a major communications center or worse yet, did I forget to pay all of these bills?

Just about this time, my son and my wife arrive downstairs in wonder of all the nervous activity taking place downstairs. Turn on the TV, I commanded to my son. He jumped to it and we see our favorite weather girl is talking about the rain heading our way. After a few minutes, the newscast announces that a major fiber optic line appears to have been cut causing disruption to landline, Internet, Verizon, and AT&T customers. There’s my answer, major fiber optic lines cut! Now the real question, how long will it be before I can get on the Internet? I mean, who needs calls from work, I need to access the Internet. The news reporter, who is also hot by the way, interviews a communication spokesperson that tells me there is no estimated time to address the communications blackout.

Now what do I do in a communications blackout? Call Verizon and tell them that the scare tactic they tried for us to keep our landline was bogus? Ask them where is there landline service now? I could go back upstairs to bed? I can tell you one thing, it should be a law that all Internet and cell phone commercials should not run on TV when systems are down. No, this calls for drastic measures, I may have to go to Starbucks, get a venti non-fat no foam latte and steal their Internet. Did you know that Microsoft’s spell check states venti is spelled wrong? Where did the word venti come from? Did Starbucks make this word up? Ok, sorry off topic, back to Starbucks , coffee and Internet. That is it, I am off.

My only concern, how far will I have to travel to communicate with the outside world?….


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