Where Are The High Tech Solutions?

George C's picture

I know that this is a "political" board but it seems like we have a lot of very "tech-savvy" people that post here.  Is anyone else concerned that a contractor's mistake today, resulting in a cut in a fiber-optics network in Chapel Hill, resulted in a loss of communication amongst courthouses and county offices in all 100 NC counties?

Cut fiber line knocks out state courts' communications

http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/4949649/

I find this kind of disconcerting myself.  It seems like the design of these systems has made us far, far too vulnerable.  I think this is a political issue because it raises concerns for public health and welfare , at least IMHO.

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3 Comments

Cable Cut

The cable cut was in Raleigh.  Tha state can have all the redundancy it is willing to pay for as part of its private network.  The public telephone network has a lot of redundancy, but the alternate routes are not total, and are capacity-limited.

cost

I'm probably one of those 'tech savvy' people you're talking about.The problem you note is easily solvable, if somebody is willing to pay for provisioning the redundant connection.  It's not even a slightly challenging matter, from a technology perspective.  Personally, I could not endorse such an additional expenditure of public funds. 

Priscilla Murphy's picture

Backing up

It's not craven Luddite-ism to worry about our increasing and exclusive dependency on technology as both core of and support for infrastructure.  Recent revelations about hacking into power-grid computer-networks shouldn't surprise anyone -- way too easy to see it coming.  But it should worry everyone - regarding security, yes - but even more regarding the potentially devastating cost of vulnerability to interruption and malfunction, whatever the cause.  Likewise, it bothers me a great deal to read about efforts to store all medical records electronically, getting rid of all paper trails.  I've spent too much time sitting next to a doc or a nurse who's losing the battle with medical center computers that "are buggy today" not to wish for a fallback arrangement to get test results.  And what happens in a catastrophe when power goes down, communications are extensively disrupted, and hospitals are inundated?   By all means,  get things updated and streamlined, but don't ignore the critical need for back-up, redundancy, and/or Plan B. We can't afford not to pay for it, or else we can't afford the technology.