Saturday, June 09, 2007

Letting People Know

Not much in the news today, so I guess I'll have to deal with the internet outage yesterday.

What I'm wondering is why companies like sbcglobal don't send announcements out to the media when they have an hours long outage? I would think it shouldn't be too hard to call a few local T.V. and radio stations and let them know of the problem and expected time for repairs.

They don't seem to do that, although later in the day yesterday the radio station I was listening to mentioned the outage. The news guy said he'd heard it might have been a backhoe that severed our main DSL line, but he wasn't sure so he probably didn't hear about it from sbcglobal.

I usually try to not clog up the phone lines for things like this if I think it's an area wide outage, but I called twice yesterday. Each time I got some message all the lines were busy and to call back later. That reinforced my impression that I wasn't the only one affected which also meant there was really no reason to call.

It would have been nice, though, if somehow they could screen calls to their lines by area and have a message for people in the area of the outage describing the problem and when they expect it to be repaired. Not sure how hard it would be for them to do that but, if anyone can, it should be them. After all, they're the phone company aren't they?
Reminds me of the now defunct West Coast Internet. That was my first Internet Service Provider. I signed up with them at the suggestion of a friend after buying my first computer. They were actually located not too far way from my house, between E and F streets on Everding in Eureka.

They started out rough, which is to be expected. Gradually they got up to speed and seemed to only have an outage occasionally.

The years seemed to take their toll, though, and they eventually started having fairly regular problems. You might go two or three months with everything working great then, all of the sudden, their system would start screwing up and it would be a week or so before they got it all straightened out. To add insult to injury, it seemed to get harder and harder to get hold of them when something was wrong.

At first there was usually someone there that would answer the phone. Over the years it became more and more likely to just get an answering machine. You rarely heard back from them and didn't really know if anyone ever got the message.

I finally told the owner I really didn't want to bother him if they were working on the problem, but would like to know that at least they were aware of a problem. I suggested he get an answering machine with the capability of multiple answer messages, like the one I have. Heck, it only cost a little over fifty bucks.

I told him he could avoid hassling with all the customer calls when an outage occurred by simply switching to a message stating that there was an outage, they were aware of it and were working on it. Nope. He wouldn't go for that.

Things kept going downhill with West Coast Internet until they gave up and shut down. They did that in traditional style, too.

Had the increasingly usual outage one day. Internet was up when I left the house about noon. An hour later it was down. I told myself they were probably working on it and didn't call. Wasn't all that concerned at the time since I'd subscribed to one of the free internet services as a back up- Netzero, I believe.

Still out the next day but I didn't call. By Friday I was getting a little tired of Netzero, the outage starting around noon Wednesday. I finally called and just left the message: "You know the internet's down, don't you?". Never received a response.

It was still down on Saturday. I was going to work and decided to drive by their office, for some reason thinking I'd see people running in and out of the office frantically working on repairs. Nope. Looked like they were closed. Hmmm....

As I turned the corner I noticed there was a piece of paper on the front door that wasn't normally there. I pulled into the parking lot, got out of the truck and took a look. It was notice that they'd decided to close their doors, permanently, and Humboldt Internet would be taking over all the accounts.

How rude! At least they could have sent out an e- mail to give a little bit of warning. If the internet was actually down, they could have sent out post cards.

Probably just as well they closed down though. I ended up being very pleased with Humboldt Internet. Probably never would have left them except for I moved up to DSL and, back then, Humboldt Internet didn't provide DSL service. They do now.

I'll have to say I had fewer outages with Humboldt Internet than I ever did with sgcglobal. Then again, since it was the main line that caused at least two of my last three outages, I'm sure that would have affected Humboldt Internet as well.

I suspect, though, it might have been easier to find out what was going on with Humboldt Internet if I was using them yesterday- or would it? No way of knowing, I suppose.


At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Fred, at least you weren't one of the many morons that clogged local police lines asking about "Why don't my cell phone work?" or "Duh, I cain't get on EBAY, how come?"
On a related note, we need to get a bumper sticker campaign "DEMAND REDUNDANCY REDUNDANCY" so this stops happening.

At 10:09 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Or the people, after a big earthquake, that just can't help but call someone despite being told to stay off phones during emergency situations.

Seems to me I've seen that happen a couple times. One, after the big earthquake down in San Francisco, when the bridge collapsed. I called a co- worker who wouldn't have had the opportunity to hear about it yet.

She calls her parents, right after I called her. Her parents lived in San Francisco.

Seems to me the wife did that once, too, although I forget what the emergency was.

At 10:34 AM, Blogger Carol said...

We used Humboldt Internet when we were on dial-up. Now we have satellite and there wasn't a problem.

During the 1992 earthquakes, I was able to call out on long distance right after the earthquake occured to let the folks back east know we were OK. But later we got the "All circuits are busy."
That was the same message I got when I tried to call Greg's cellphone yesterday. I was able to call the office in Fortuna, but could not call long distance. My adult child in Santa Cruz called last night wondering what was happening, as she tried calling throughout the day and was unable to get through.

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Fred said...

SEE, SEE!! (pointing finger); Carol's one of THEM! THEM being that call during emergency situations when they're told not to.

Carol; All the lines were busy because you and so many other people just couldn't help yourselves and had to make a phone call. Shame on you.

As an aside, I forget who the comedian was that I saw on TV. He did this thing on the same subject, with a twist.

He started talking about how dumb it is that everyone has to call someone after earthquakes and such, even when they've been asked not to.

He went on to ask, what people that make those calls would do if the people they were calling answered the phone in a pain filled voice and said something like, "Help...I'm trapped...can't move...".

Well, I guess you had to be watching him to get the funny of it.

At 1:27 PM, Blogger Carol said...

I I made the call in 1992. Guilty of wanting to reassure dear old mom that we were all right. I also was scared and to say the least, 'shook-up'!

At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Humboldt county is a shithole. Get used to it or leave.

At 6:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


How about the presentations next week by Jean Pfaelzer about her recent book "Driven Out-The Forgotten War against Chinese Americans". She'll be talking at the Humbolt Historical Society and Eureka Library next week. Her book's subject is Eureka's repeated expulsions of Chinese at the hands "good" people like the Buhnes and Sweaseys, among others. I've no doubt that the proud spirit of "The Eureka Method" of ethinic cleansing still exists in the hearts of the local right wing. There's an article about it in this week's Journal.

At 8:21 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Ok. I guess that's news to you. I was talking about what was in the paper today.

At 8:22 AM, Blogger Carol said...

2:02, Humboldt County is geographically one of the most beautiful places on earth.

At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:22 I think you should not have smoked that second bowl or else you're in the real estate/insurance business and promoting your personal economic interests. Even the police chief called Eureka a hellhole. Anyone hanging around Orick, Hoopa, or Honeydew wouldn't mistake it for a beautiful place. In your next life see New England, the South of France, Adriatic cost, Alaskan wildnerness. Those places are truly beautiful as determined by multitudes of visitors.

At 9:11 PM, Blogger Carol said...

I'm from New England and Humboldt County is way more beautiful with the ocean, mountains, rivers, forests, valleys and plains all in one place. There is a dark history, no doubt, but as far as the scenery, it is geographically beautiful.

At 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No comparison. No one writes about Humboldt like Henry Throeau did about New England. Humboldt has nothing compared to New England in the Fall when the leaves are turning and Spring when the flowers burst out. Doesn't even have the cicadas that emerge in huge numbers. Humboldt is mostly rocky and bone dry in Summer with lots of serpentine, loaded with asbestos. Plenty of forest fires and rock slides too.

At 12:07 PM, Blogger Carol said...

I guess it is different strokes for different folks. Have you ever lived in New England in the winter? Have you ever had to endure a nor'easter when the power goes out and there is a blizzard.

Been there. Done that. I prefer our milder winters.

At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worried about power outages?? Well that never happen in Humboldt during a winter storm, do they?? If you don't like freezing weather, thats your personal choice but it doesn't make Humboldt more beautiful, just warmer. There are many warmer and more beautiful places than Humboldt, I mentioned some of them. But of course, if you're making money from the local real estate insustry, thats not something you care to know about.

And since you mentioned Humboldt's "dark history", its been remarked that the past is prologue. Not only is Humboldt's history dark, its present is too. The cultural mindset has changed little. Maybe you should attend Prof. Pfaelzer's lecture.

At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"anonymous said...
Humboldt county is a shithole. Get used to it or leave.

2:02 PM"


How screwed up IS this person? WHO would even write something like that?
You are a confused little person. maybe its YOU who needs to move, kiddo.

At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:15 au contraire. Acting Eureka Police Chief Harpham was quoted calling Eureka a "hellhole". He should know so take it up with him.


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