The Anatomy of a Post

The Anatomy of a Post

Start out the day with the Morning Dog Walk. 

Stepping out of the house, I look East toward the ocean.  A little more than two miles away I can see the tops of the hotels and condos at the beach.  A red light glows over the tree line along with the top floor or three of those tower blocks.  They’re welcome to it.  The beach can be fun, so can the ocean, but there’s a certain something about living on a sandbar with one way out that makes me nervous.  NOAA says we get a tropical storm every two and a half years on average anyway. 

So when do you get a tropical storm on that half year?  Lies and statistics.

Rack has finished watering his favorite rock, and I look up for a friend.   She has been over that way, near the red light guarding the sandbar for most of the year, but she’s getting more and more shy as time goes on.  Her name is Venus and she was left alone a while ago by her partner Mars.  He shot off toward the west months back and she’s been fading towards the Bahamas and the Atlantic ocean beyond.

We go out looking for our own adventure.   Rack sees someone who he thinks he knows.  I’m never sure whether he sees the dog first or the person, but for no matter, it’s merely a distraction.  We’re trying to get our walk in.  I’m reminded of a topic and am walking aimlessly at that time of morning.

What was his name all those years back?  Jim’s roommate in college?  Joe, I am sure of it.  At least it was the first year only.  He ended up with someone else for the next couple.

We’re wandering back to home.  In the full light of the approaching Supermoon, I still can’t tell whether he’s true to his name, the Yellow Footed Herding Dog, or he’s just clean.  We hit the dog wash station on the porch as I wash his feet.  We’re plunged into the dark of the approaching dawn and it’s time to head in.

More details as I am in the bathroom brushing my teeth.  I’m a lousy housekeeper, the little collection of brass figures on top of the medicine chest need to be cleaned.  Dust gets everywhere, the Sahara ocean leaves its mark on South Florida as everything needs to be washed down frequently.

I get through breakfast, letting the dog wander and water the backyard, and my own morning routine.  It’s an early Sunday morning.  I’ll be putting up a joke today.  No such thing as a day off, it’s merely a slower day.  There are things yet to do.  All the “meta” things we all do, tasks that need to be done in order to do a task.  If you want to make an omelette, you have to break an egg.

I load up the last 80 web pages in tabs on the browser, answer the kettle.  Coffee time.  Settle back in for the mug and the morning.  Finishing all that it’s time to check in and see if anything has Gone South, what has exploded.

Nothing.  I may as well go outside.  The internet is broken.  I’m up too early to disturb anyone else in the house, the sun has barely risen.

Pavlov, your dog is drooling.

I get up.  We all have a digital dial tone these days.  The Brrrrr in our ear isn’t a wired telephone, too bad as I have a couple that are really quite nice. That has been replaced by the internet.   If that isn’t up and running, things grind to a halt.  How do they think they can call themselves a utility if they can’t keep the internet running?  Com-crap not withstanding, I hit reset by unplugging the cable modem.  Our internal network is still running.  One of the problems with listening to an internet radio is that when the internet crashes, the music stops.

Or more likely, that’s the idea.  Music going means all is well.  Music stops, and we’re sunk.  Run in panic like the crazy ants that live in the Mango tree’s pot.  Lift that conch shell.  They’ll run all over your arm in a panic.  No wifi?  Are you crazy trying to run a business without it these days?

Can I hop on the neighbor’s connection?  Not with the Big PC.  I don’t have their password any longer.  That machine I fixed for them has been re-imaged, and the password is gone.  Forget using a phone, that’s insane trying to look at anything “production” on a browser on an Android phone that is only 2.8 inches across running a 5 year operating system.

Realize that the world hasn’t come to an end.  I can write on a notepad.  Or rather Notepad.exe.  My spelling will be checked when I paste it all into Blogger later on.  I could do it live on my internal Website.  I’ve got WordPress running here.

I hear stirring from the other room.  I’ll pass the ball.  I don’t have the phone number for…

“Hey do you know the internet is down?”

Yeah I had a feeling… “Gonna call Comcrap?”

A little bit later, all is right with the world.  I get the posting out.  I think I’ll wear That T Shirt “I’m outside today because the internet is down.”  Yeah, that’s the ticket.  I should probably get that contact info for them.  Yet another magic bullet to the modem.

Clouds Blocked My Cloud

I’ve written before about how I’m leeryof this “Cloud” thing. The basic idea is storing your data on the internet so you can get it everywhere. There are two main problems with this.
First is the old line of A Secret Told Is A Secret Lost. If the data is “out there” it can be seen by people either at that company or by a hacker. If you truly want something to be secure, save it at home on your local PC and back it up.
That wasn’t the problem. The problem is that if your connection goes dead, what do you do?
That second problem is what I had happen to me yesterday and this morning.
We had serious weather go through here last night. It showed purple on the weather radar and all over the island there were tree limbs down. The worst thing that happened here was my Mango Tree In A Pot got knocked over.  I picked it up and there was no damage.
While all that was going on, I was chatting with a recruiter about a Project Manager’s position. Great spot for me, it has all the things in a position I’m looking forward to it so I told the recruiter to pursue it. He said great and wanted me to email me the specifications.
No Problem right? Well since that storm went through, we lost internet for the next hour and a half. I did promise him that I’d email him back with all the requested information in 30 minutes max since it was 4:15 and he wanted to go home at 5PM. Oops. After 20 minutes of panicking and restarting the cable modem, I called and left a message that “I can’t” and that the storm did its damage to the connection.
He called back and I got him the information when the connection came back after the dog walk. We’re working on it and hopefully…
This morning I was sitting here going through the job listings before tackling the assembly of the monthly newsletter for my board and all the sudden my internet dropped. We had a problem with Comcast doing work at exactly 1015am since ‘nobody’s home at that time’ and I’d be down. I figured they were starting to have that problem again.
This time it was simpler even if I couldn’t get to my data stored on The Cloud. You see this time I caused the problem by ‘bumping’ the wifi button and disconnecting the little laptop from the net. I realized it when the radio station I was listening to in Martinique (Zed-Jay-Bee) was still playing the Calypso music I like from time to time but all the chat services stopped polling on the net on the laptop. The music was on the old iPhone, the chat services were on the laptop.
Ok that time it was a “duh” moment, last night it wasn’t.
The idea is that if you really want to have constant 24/7 access to your data, the cloud just isn’t there yet. Sure, Google and Microsoft are getting better, but they still have to worry about whether you are going to be able to get TO them. It may not be important for me to listen to a radio station in Montserrat but I really do need access to my resume. That’s why the radio station is “out there” while I keep my data close.

The Cloud is Great If You Can Get To It

Today, Second day in a row Comcast / Xfinity had internet connectivity problems.   
I guess they forgot to “Feed the Squirrel” that powered the net here in Wilton Manors.  Creaky infrastructure aside, this shows one very important shortcoming to the Cloud Based Internet and business model we have been migrating to lately. 
If you can’t get there from here, it’s worthless.
Sure, it is great to surf web pages far and near.  I launch 170 web pages every morning, and yes I did count them, in order to job search.   I was in the process of writing an email to a recruiter I have worked with about a position that reads like a perfect fit, Web and Mainframe Business Analyst, when the clock struck 9AM.  At that point my radio stopped.  I was sitting in my chair under the ceiling fan, sipping coffee I roasted from beans that I bought from a company in rural Wisconsin, listening to “Triple J FM” in Brisbane Australia and trying to attach my resume to an email to send to someone in Dade County when it happened.
Yesterday when the net was “down” I went outside like the T Shirt said and spent 90 minutes playing with the weed eater.  Today I went into the laundry to reset the router to no avail, then into the kitchen to make a mug of Café Bustelo Decaf and empty the Mosquito larva out of the glass that is rooting my cactus pear.
Nothing out of the ordinary there, it is as if I was in Pennsylvania on a normal summer morning instead of here in Florida.
Since it went down at “exactly 9PM” both days, I suspect they’re doing some work to “improve our service”.  Might make sense to do it at 2AM instead, folks.  If you’re running a business or trying to do some work on the web you have just put people out of work for two hours “for Permanent Improvement”.
The Cloud is a great place, but it does have its shortcomings.  I build web sites and do social media work, all on internet based applications that I have no idea where the data resides.  You have to trust that those who maintain the Cloud Apps are doing their job, maintaining their infrastructure, backing up your data and hoping it’s all safe.
But if you can’t get there from here it isn’t worth a hill of coffee beans in Wisconsin.
Good beans though they are.
I may just have to turn on the broadcast FM radio for music.  Now THERE’S a change for me!