Follow by Email

StatCounter

Thursday, April 4, 2013

All the Eggs in one Basket



The Internet is such an efficient and useful tool that just about everything is making their way to it. There are economic pressures to do so. Doing things over the Internet is extremely cheap. Companies that do not optimize business by using the Internet are at a disadvantage.

Systems that get optimize for efficiency have one major problem. They are fragile. It's that way all throughout nature. An ecosystem may have a number of critters that perform a specific role. Over time, the most efficient critter dominates and pushes out the others. That's all well and good, until something unexpected takes out that one critical critter. The whole ecosystem suffers.

The Internet has become that most efficient critter. It's easy to use it in ways never intended by the original designers. It's growth has not been managed at all. That's not a bad thing in itself, but the old ways of doing things have disappeared. One small example, many businesses could not send out a paper bill by snail mail if they had to as they depend completely on electronic payments.

We faced a potential problem years ago with the Y2K bug. Yes, the date rolled around and problems were minor. Sure some of the potential problems might have been overblown, but don't forget that a lot of money went into fixing code and replacing equipment.

Think of how much more dependent we are on the Internet now. The Y2K bug was an oversight. No harm was ever intended. These days there are bad actors, rogue companies, cyber warfare programs, and hackers actively causing problems. There is the very real potential that someone could break the Internet.

Even without ill intent something like a massive CME could take down critial parts of the system.

It wouldn't be impossible or even all that hard, for governments and businesses to have backup plans. It wasn't all that long ago that we functioned just fine without the Internet. (hard to believe, I know). Should the Internet go down, it would not be the end of the world, but it would be hugely disruptive. We have placed all our eggs in one basket -never a good idea.

-Sixbears

18 comments:

  1. Years ago, my wife and I were at Colonial Williamsburg when the computer system in one of the restaurants went down. The COLLEGE kids from William and Mary who were working there couldn't add up the bills or figure the tax!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another lost skill. Ironic that it happened at Colonial Williamsburg.

      Delete
  2. Before you put all your eggs in the basket, why don't you consider scrambling some of them...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Before hard boiling? You are such a kidder. :)

      Delete
  3. Think of all the sales that would be lost. I was talking about that the other day with someone at the hardware store. She said that when the power goes out they write everything down then put it in the computerized register when the power comes back on. Big box stores, etc. might not be able, or think, to do that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet they run cash only too. Something to keep in mind.

      Delete
  4. Well said. 20 years ago, I had to go to the bus station to mail building plans to our clients or consultants for the quickest delivery. They would 'redline' them and send them back with corrections or changes. The whole exchange took about a week, more or less.

    Now I can Adobe PDF the document and have it there in less than half an hour, hour tops. Much quicker. Same with mail, an email is extremely efficient, able to send the correspondence simultaneously to various participants at same time, so everyone is one the same page. Brilliant stuff!

    Until your Internet provider goes down. And you gnash your teeth and pull your hair on how you are immobilized.

    Cell phones. You can be in middle of WhereDaHellAreWe USA and receive a call in no time flat. I called my boss who was on vacation in Alaska, he disembarking on a shore day trip to ask him a question. Just like that.

    We are some spoiled mofos, I tell you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so easy that everything has gone to it. Imagine having to drop packages off at the bus station again.

      Your boss might be able to take calls in Alaska, but I still don't have cell phone service where I live.

      Delete
  5. CME can stand for a lot of things, like "county medical examiner", or "chief mechanical engineer", but I bet you mean "coronal mass ejection". Just messing with you (grin).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, and yes! You are a kidder there Dizzy.

      Delete
  6. It makes me wonder just how many businesses have a good old fashioned receipt book stashed around and if anyone actually knows where it is and how to use it. The same goes for hand written purchase orders.
    I had the net go down a couple of times and had to resort to the old hand written stuff.

    Modern companies would be FUBAR if it and the phone lines both went belly up for any amount of time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keeping and knowing how to use a few receipt books could save a business.

      The system is fragile.

      Delete
  7. Always have a backup plan, and a back up for the backup... Like on a Navy ship, there is redundancy out the wazoo. No one thing will disable the ship, and even several system failures are not much of a problem. Just have to do things a little different is all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Business hate to "waste" money by spending it on backups. They get a competitive edge by not doing so -until everything goes fubar.

      Delete
  8. For my computer I run a live system. I backed up my boat plans on cdr's and paper. I back up my MP3 playlist and nuthing else. No sense in wasting space on the thumb drive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least storage has gotten a lot cheaper.

      Delete
  9. It's a good thing the NSA has our emails backed up, eh? And if Google doesn't have the most recent copy of the Internet, they can likely patch that hole too! :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Imagine Google's hard copy of the Internet. :)

      Delete