Monday, October 22, 2012

Are We Still Worrying about Rain?

Back in the Dark Ages, when, as a result of my role as a Silicon Valley researcher, I was an early adopter of DSL to my home in Palo Alto (which took SBC about a year to get working, leading my wife to call them "The Stupid Solutions People"), I soon discovered that my connection would get flaky whenever it rained. (These were also the early days of globalizing customer support. So I had my first experience of dealing with a help desk that had no idea what weather conditions were like outside my window, working from a script that he preordained that such information was irrelevant.) Today the Bay Area is getting its first major rainfall (much to the consternation of Giants fans); and, almost as if like clockwork, Yahoo! Mail is exhibiting regular drifts off into Aristophanes' cloud cuckoo-land.

So, as we get besieged with television commercials telling us about the mass proliferation of cell towers, do we need to ask how much of our "advanced" digital technology rests on the foundation of a decades-all infrastructure that still cannot stand up to a little rain?

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