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View Diary: Flu Stories: Is the Internet At Risk In A Pandemic? (120 comments)

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  •  But the total number of users doesn't change. (0+ / 0-)

    Here's the thing - every computer user I encounter on a daily basis is using one computer or another virtually all their waking hours.  In this case of schoolkids, sometimes two - like when they leave their BitTorrent running on the home PC while they're at school.  So I don't see total usage going up dramatically because people are spending more time at home, I see the usage shifting from school/work PCs to home PCs.

    The more important preparation to me would be bolstering sites that might serve as clearinghouses for good information - such as local munincipal government sites that, right now, are severely underpowered for lack of funds.

    Private life is all about managing pain. In business and government, this means externalizing and deferring costs whenever possible.

    by sxwarren on Wed Feb 14, 2007 at 10:06:34 AM PST

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    •  the problem is 'the last mile' (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sxwarren

      as it's referred to (google it), which is ISP to homes rather than to businesses with T-1 cables and such. There's less concern about the backbone (some concern, but less) and a lot more concern about getting the data stream into each home.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Wed Feb 14, 2007 at 10:10:49 AM PST

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      •  Emmmm. Maybe. (0+ / 0-)

        My guess would be that whatever "home" demand occurs now in the evening and on weekends would also then be present during the workday/schoolday.  But even this would be somewhat offset by reduced demand from workplaces (small businesses) that use standard DSL/Cable offerings rather than T-1 - and this number is enormous, BTW.

        Private life is all about managing pain. In business and government, this means externalizing and deferring costs whenever possible.

        by sxwarren on Wed Feb 14, 2007 at 10:44:03 AM PST

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    •  When the West Coast Comes Home From Work (0+ / 0-)

      But we are not all on at the same time.  

      We are not actively searching and updating at the same time.

      The families are not all on their various computers at the same time.  

      There a number of factors that may well boost both the number of users and their volume of use - including those folks who would be attempting to follow government recommendations and tele-commuting.  

      Think of the constitution as a levy. Think of our democracy as New Orleans.

      by Into The Woods on Wed Feb 14, 2007 at 12:09:54 PM PST

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      •  I understand your point, but it still doesn't (0+ / 0-)

        work out for me.  The time difference is still the time difference, regardless.  Most folks who could reasonably telecommute already are. In additon to slipping quality and poor tech support, a reason that DELL is having problems is that most new computer sales over the past couple years have been laptops - systems that buyers usually want to be able to see and play with before plunking down their cash - a market factor that an exclusively mail-order company like DELL has difficulty overcoming.

        Again, the total demand on the system must be measured  at least partly by counting the number of computers that are in use online at a given time.  If someone is home using the computer, that means they're not at work using the computer there.  They may take their laptop home and telecommute, but huge numbers of people already do that on a regular basis.  

        There's also the factor of what type of information they're accessing.  I seriously doubt that emergency govt info is going to take the same form as a YouTube or Sport Illustrated or MSNBC video clip.  Neither would most telecommunting activity.  VoIP has got to be having a far greater impact on total usage than kids staying home from school would.

        Outside of some deliberate nefarious hacker action, to seriously disrupt things you'd need a large influx of new users on new netowrk nodes or a whole new, suddenly popular use for the infrastructure (like VoIP).

        Private life is all about managing pain. In business and government, this means externalizing and deferring costs whenever possible.

        by sxwarren on Wed Feb 14, 2007 at 12:37:11 PM PST

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        •  That's what they are trying to prepare for (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sxwarren

          The emergency government info will not be the only (and my guess is not even the primary) source people look to for information.

          Also, there will be signficant additional use by health care sytems as they ramp up to prepare for and to allocate resources to address the needs of pandemic.

          In fact it is for these uses (and other primary government functions) that they seek to protect the internet.  

          Whether restrictions on use will be implemented will depend on whether such critical uses are threatened or delayed.  

          You are also not counting the severity of the pandemic's impact on the companies whose job it is to support all the critical links of the internet.  If between 30% and 50% of the people who are critical to continued internet operation are  sick themselves, home caring for family members or just plain staying home, continued operation might be compromised with absolutely no increase in the volume of use.

          If power or other critical elements are compromised - including replacement parts that come primarily from off-shore sources, integrity of the system could fail no matter what the volume of use.

          It is this wider realm of threat they seek to prepare against - to keep critical functions going and to allow the internet to fulfill secondary functions like information, communication and entertainment for the public.  

          Think of the constitution as a levy. Think of our democracy as New Orleans.

          by Into The Woods on Wed Feb 14, 2007 at 12:49:37 PM PST

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      •  What an idiot I am . . . (0+ / 0-)

        Here's a case in point: virtually the entire Northeastern US is home from work/school today because of the major winter storm.  Are there any problems due to increased Internet usage?

        Yeah, well, weather-related sites appear to be a bit slow.  But this only underscores my earlier point.  The thing to be concerned about is not the "tubes" that get one to those emergency information sites, but the horsepower of those sites.

        Private life is all about managing pain. In business and government, this means externalizing and deferring costs whenever possible.

        by sxwarren on Wed Feb 14, 2007 at 12:41:35 PM PST

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        •  still , you have to add 30% of the staff being (0+ / 0-)

          out sick, including vendors and suppliers, and you'd have to extend it for 2 months.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Wed Feb 14, 2007 at 05:31:57 PM PST

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