Saturday, August 30, 2008

Comcast Sucks!

We use Comcast Business-Class Internet at the office. Thursday night, service went down.

Friday morning, the service was still down when we got into the office. Fulfilling our role in Comcast's state-of-the-art network monitoring system, we called Comcast to report the outage (yeah, Verizon!).

Springing into action, Comcast's minimum-wage and/or non-English-speaking techs did their voodoo in cyberspace which failed to resolve the problem. One of their ilk was going to have to venture out to restore our Internet service. "Would someone be there between 3PM & 6PM today?" Yes, but the problem is probably not on our premises...

Like pornography, I know what's "business-class" when I see it. Like pornography, Comcast's Internet service is not "business class."

So, 6PM Friday rolls around. Still no Internet, and no Comcast repair man has appeared. Time for us to go home. One last call to Comcast. They say they'll have someone by on Tuesday (after Labor Day). I guess they don't work on weekends. Silly me... business class refers to the hours they keep... or maybe this outage has something to do with Comcast limiting our bandwidth utilization?!

Hurry, FiOS, hurry!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Attention Students (and Parents)!

Back to school time. One of the many documents you are likely to sign, if not read, is some sort of contract or code-of-conduct related to your use of the school's computers, network, software, data, email, Internet, etc.

Schools are afraid that a student will do something with his/her computer to create a liability for the student's school. To a lesser degree, schools are also concerned that one or more students will "overuse" resources and undermine service quality and reliability. So, schools have lots of policies to protect themselves, they reserve the right to monitor students' activities and they reserve the right to enforce such policies and punish people who violate them. That's what the document you signed allows the school to do.

Big brother is watching you. But, as one student has told me, "They never enforce those rules." At that school, at least, it would seem that the rules don't matter?! Not likely. At that school and many others, almost any student's good standing can be snuffed out at the whim of the IT people.

Selective enforcement of the rules to set an example and send a message to students is a cost-effective way for IT to protect the school and its information systems. Having the power to choose which student to go after and when is almost a perk of the job of the IT director. Woe to the student that ends up on the school's shIT list!