Every now and again a blind pig finds an acorn
In hindsight, I guess I found that acorn. Read on.
On Saturday, I had that running through my mind as I was out and about doing my thing. There were signs on every place of business indicating the various online services were down – most noticeably Interact and direct debit payments.
As we were driving into town, we noticed one of the first businesses was obviously hurting. The car wash, which normally has a lineup of cars four or five deep, had nobody. I had parked under a tree previously and a bunch of birds had left their marks all over the car. Sweet. I swing in and my wife gave me a funny look. I’ve become my father! I have a little change purse in the console; one for $1 and $2 coins and another for $.10 and $.25 coins. I paid exact change and my car is mostly clean and shiny and bird-evidence free.
Our ultimate goal was to do some shopping for tops for my wife and perhaps a new pair of shoes for me. Sadly, the store didn’t have my size shoes but the helpful worker offered to check other stores for me. She had a nice-looking device but sadly, the internet connection wasn’t available. She’d made the offer out of habit, I guess. We did find some nice tops for my wife and having money in my wallet paid off. In cash. I take a great deal of heat from my kids “Dad, you’re a computer nerd, why don’t you use direct payment?”
In your face, kids.
It was actually kind of quiet on the phone front since two of them are on the Rogers network and out of touch. The two girls got together so that the older one could call and interrupt our shopping trip for some reason. They all ended up at our place and quickly attached to our wifi to get caught up with their friends.
When Bell had pulled fibre down our concession road, we immediately ditched our old slow service and haven’t looked back. While we were in at The Source, not only did we get internet access there but my wife and I both got phones on the Virgin network.
So, I guess we were a little smug since there wasn’t an interruption for us.
Someone had to take responsibility for this and the Rogers CEO stepped up.
It’s kind of amusing actually to watch the news and hear the pundits selected to be guests to share their thoughts. The biggest message that I’ve heard is that Canada needs more competition in this industry. I don’t follow their logic; that wouldn’t stop a network outage although it might have lessened the impact with fewer people on a Rogers network or a network that shares services with Rogers.
We may never know for sure the exact reasons for the problem that brought down the network. There was a lot of speculation on social media and initial fingers were pointed at hackers. The latest, as you’ll see in the link above, was a maintenance update.
Boy, that brought back memories of not-so-good times as we tried to roll out a wide area network in my old school district. We had great successes, followed by periods of problems when the network would crap out and we’d hear that it was because of updates. We ultimately ended up using my two computer PD labs as sandboxes to play in and try things out before sending an update out to an entire system. Obviously, it’s a smaller scenario than a coast-to-coast-to-coast network like Rogers.
It was great to see those reports on this Sunday morning as I write this post telling us that the network is back up and running.
Watching the news reports and how people were scrambling around outside coffee shops looking for that precious WIFI signal reminded me of how much we value being connected. It didn’t affect me in the first person this time but it certainly impacted those around me.
I was surprised that an update would be put into place to bring down a nationwide service. Providing that service is mission-critical and I would have thought that any update would have been played out in some sort of sandbox or testing scenario or even rolled out in increments so that it could be rolled back if there were issues.
I was also surprised that there wasn’t a gentleperson’s agreement with Bell or another supplier that they could share service for a short time if a catastrophe like this happened. I know that they all fight and advertise for every subscriber they can but reliable service is crucial.
I hope that Rogers, Bell, and all the providers are learning from this experience. It kind of brings a smile to think that a person might not be able to update their Instagram status because the network was down. Thrown into all of this was the inability of some people to call 911. That’s where it really hit the fan for me. I honestly don’t know if there is a public telephone booth in town anymore.
How were things in your world? Were you impacted by the outage?
And, whatever you do, don’t let the bad guys win.