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It Just Works (tm)

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Mon, 04/15/2013 - 14:45 -- admin

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It Just Works (tm)

A couple of years ago I got a call from a client who asked if I could check out some equipment for them. Of course I said yes until I found out the equipment was responsible for building internet beamed wirelessly from atop a 20 something story building. So all I had to do was crawl up on top of an elevator housing atop the building.

267 feet later, tethered by a harness, I was crawling around the roof top inspecting equipment and cables. Did I mention it was misting and the temperature was around 31 degrees. That's why I was crawling instead of walking. We eventually found the problem internet service was restored but that got me thinking.

The simple act of plugging your computer into a jack in the wall and magically you have internet, except it isn't magic. It's engineering and people willing to crawl on top of buildings in all kinds of weather and dig holes in all kinds of weather to make it work and people staying up all night troubleshooting problems to make sure that everything stays connected. The simple act of getting on the internet is the result of thousands of people making sure that it works.

Which brings me to my second point.  When I was a software engineer, we had a saying, "Just Works is about 2 Man-Years of labor".  In other words, nothing just works unless you have extensive testing and a repeatable process.

It's easy to plug in but if your business depends on that internet staying up, remember that you need to invest in the right kind of infrastructure to make that work, the right maintenance to make sure it stays up and someone who has that specialized knowledge keeping an eye on it.