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Articles: Technology The Albatross

Technology has become an ever-present factor in our lives, and its not going anywhere. Were surrounded by it at every corner and within almost every device we use. Even the cars we drive would stop in their tracks if the technology in them suddenly failed.

It wouldnt be a stretch to say modern (or more appropriately current) society rests on the laurels of technology. We wage wars with technology. We feed our population with technology. We heal our sick with technology. And to the point, the idea of operating a business without technology is nearly unheard of.

So is this a good thing?

Certainly there are plenty of reasons why yes would be an appropriate answer. But has all this technology really enriched our lives? Has it made us happier? Maybe more relaxed? Has it supported us in becoming more attuned to our environment? Perhaps for some, but Id say the jury is still out on this one.

At PowerMax, the very core of our business is technology. We buy technology, we sell technology, we drive our business sales with technology, and we provide for the livelihood of over 200 people with technology. So in every sense of the word we are wholly and completely dependent on our technology. This is a fine way to operate business, so long as all this technology works flawlessly. But what happens when it doesnt?

Well to put it bluntly, things come screeching to a not-so-eloquent halt. Its as if a two thousand pound Silverback Sasquatch just ran headlong into a Titanium wall. The Sasquatch is toast and everybodys left scrambling trying to figure out how to get the Sasquatch back on his feet so he can do what Sasquatchs do best, sell computers! OK, so maybe that wasnt the perfect analogy, but you get the point, downtime really hurts.

What happened to us...

Unfortunately we recently were the not so proud recipients of a few Sasquatch into Titanium wall events, and it brought our site and email communications to their knees. Our Internet Service Provider made some critical errors that impacted our Primary DS3 (thats our connection to the Internet). The first issue occurred on January 6th, and impacted the Provider's entire Portland customer base. The second issue occurred January 12th. This problem was as a result of a human communication breakdown made between two corporations (the fiber owner and the circuit owner) that play a hand in providing our DS3 service. Both issues resulted in downtime; the second was substantially more severe than the first, and only impacted our organization.

These issues are the worst kind of issues to encounter. They are completely out of the control of our capable IT staff. Really, Id frankly rather we had a server blow up (well not literally), or perhaps somebody tripped over an Ethernet wire (that took the network down), or watch a two thousand pound Sasquatch run into a wall in our Datacenter than endure this kind of outage. When its out of our hands, Im typically left armed with my phone (which for many companies these days is dependent on their Internet connection), and list of contacts to call that can support (or finger point) escalating the process.

Its never any fun when technology fails, but its important to keep things in perspective. Technology isnt always the answer, and all it takes is a little downtime to help us realize how dependent we really are on our technology.

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