Downtime on the always-on Internet
One thing that an always-on Internet connection gives you is always-on access to information and services. It’s great that you can socalize, shop, and otherwise carry on doing things on the Internet at whatever-o-clock at night. However, all computers need maintenance to do it and guess when the maintenace is usually done: late at night when I want to socialize, shop, and otherwise carry on doing things on the Internet. My wife frequently will try and shop on some sites only to get most-way through an order to discover: the site isn’t accepting orders due to system maintenance. Or worse: my cable provider decides to do maintenance at midnight when my wife does most of her Internet surfing. smile This “always on” attitude affects my view of other things. For instance I am annoyed that I cannot call AT&T Wireless between the seemingly arbitrary hours of 1am and 8am Central Standard Time, or that my T-Mobile phone can’t maintain a decent signal at my house.
I rememeber the days when I ran a BBS in the late 80s in Hawaii. At first, the BBS only ran between the hours of 5pm and 8am on weekdays, all day on weekends and holidays. One person could log in at a time at 300 baud. It eventually got it’s own phone line and ran 24 hours, but still only one person could log in at a time. There were a couple of BBSes I used to use that had, at the time, four incoming phone lines (and this was in the mid-1980s). Now almost any number of people can browse my site or a site like Broadband Reports and interact in more or less real-time, no waiting.
Even just the act of calling someone on the phone is always on. Up until about 10-15 years ago, if you called someone and they were on the phone, you got a busy signal. If they weren’t on the phone, they didn’t know it was you calling. Now almost everyone’s got Caller ID and Call Waiting, so you can get interrupted while talking to someone and know who is doing it. (My wife gets annoyed at busy signals from people without call waiting…) To make matters worse, people often have more than one phone — their desk phone and their mobile phone. At least with the people I work with, the desk phone just seems so redundant — everyone calls each other on their mobile, or at least everyone calls me on my mobile and I call just about everyone on their mobile.
The point I’m trying to make is: the world wasn’t always this way. If your favorite Internet site is down, go take a break. If you get a busy signal, it’s not the end of the world. Go do something else for a while and call ‘em back later. Or go to bed, which is what I should be doing.