What Will We Do If We Wake Up One Morning, and Cannot Access Our E-mail?
I have been trying unsuccessfully to log into gmail.com this morning, and to my surprise, the mail server is down. I usually start out on the web, checking my official office e-mail to access all important information from my students, my department office, etc. Then I go on to check other mail servers that may have messages from my websites, blog, my personal friends and others who send me e-mails from around the world. Today, my usual routine was twarted by problems with google at first, and particularly gmail. After several attempts, I logged in to google, but that was it. Google would not load for me or allow me to access other sites through the server. I forgot that I had already checked my university webserver for my mail, and walked down my basement into the basement office to double check the Internet connections, the phone lines, etc. Then I tried restarting my laptop, rebooting everything, but google mail refused to load. I did not panic because I thought I could find the problem from logging in to Yahoo. But all I saw were inquiries from days or a month ago about gmail being down. I then logged into my blog and on to my official website without any problems. I was able to scout the web with ease, but when I tried Google again, it failed. So my last resolve is to blog it and find out whether other users are having the same problems. In the meantime, my e-mail server with google is down. I am not going to panic since there are a million other things on my itinerary as always. But here is my question to everyone: What happens if google finally fails us? What will happen if we awake and cannot access our e-mails or have access to all that google brings us?
As I conclude writing this short blog, a few minutes after I began, the gmail account I have been trying to log into still is down. Gmail does not seem to have any answers or notices on the site. I am certain that the problem is not with my computer; therefore, will someone answer this question?
We are a networked up world now, and have been hooked to trust that our mail server will load each time we attempt to log on, that the important e-mail we are looking forward to from a colleague across the country or world will arrive intact, that all will be okay.
What will happen if one day I discover that I cannot log into my bank account to pay my bills or to respond to an important issue from work? How do I connect to colleagues who need a quick response from across the world when that word means life or death for them? We probably need to stop and think about such questions.
This issue of gmail with me has made me begin thinking about how we have networked ourselves into this technological mindset that controls money and all our well being around the world. Some time ago I was at my doctor’s office, and discovered that everything on the computer about my health problems, allergies, and last visits had been stuck there, and locked in since my last visit. So, the specialist I was seeing in the same practice could not add new material or remove the medications I was no longer taking. Someone had forgot to log out of my accounts records, and made it impossible for new information to load. I left the office that day without the updates they needed to make since the specialist could not log the previous doctor out of my account, (which of course I was not looking at) and until that doctor’s nurse or he could log out, all other new information had to wait. What I wondered about was: why did doctors have to being going around with laptops, putting everything about our lives on to the web, and and what would happen if their system should crash? Is anyone filling things by paper anymore? What would have happened had I checked into an emergency room within that time, and the doctors tried to find my records of allergies, medications, etc., and discovered that my records had stuff I was no longer taking and lacked medications I was now on? What’s going on with us in our new world of technology?
Of course, all the colleges are trying to save paper and ink, envelopes, stamps, and feet that move this sort of material around. But here is the big question: What will happen if all this stupid technology fails us?
What will we do if our car computer can no longer work? Several years ago, my then Chevy Astro Van lost its battery because I left the lights on. When the car dealer sent the tow truck, the tow truck driver simply decided to jump the battery on a new car then, a 1996 Astro Van that could not tolerate that sort of ugly jump. What I learned later was that when the battery is completely dead, one needs to get the battery out of the car and charge it separately. So what happened after my “very smart” tow jumping broad shoulder guy took his long powerful rope to jump my car?
The battery was not charged, but the entire computing system of the car broke down. The lights, auto functions, everything, including the radio and navigating devices were broken. This is because this was the car for the new woman or the new Mom. It had to say what the temperature outside was, what direction the stupid driver was moving into, north, south, east or west, and all the windows needed computers to make them go up and down, and all that a luxury woman needed or the dealer thought I and all the other women out there need.
Wow. So, for a few days, until the computer system, which cost a ton to repair was fixed, I discovered that my damaged car radio was accessing all the police information from around Kalamazoo, Michigan, my town at the time. I just had to tune my radio on, and there it was, the police were talking to each other because something in my car’s brain was picking ups strange signals from everywhere. There was no radio, but the car was still equipped with the power to read the world because of the new technology. The computer cost hundreds for the car dealer warranty company, but what I thought was, why put all this crap into a car when all a car needs is to have wheels and an engine to get from A to B?
After this long blog writing and editing, my gmail is still down. I am on the web, don’t get me wrong, but the great Google that we all know, is not waking up today for me. Can someone call Google for me? Will they come over here and log me into my mail server? Have a nice day. It is sunny out here, so I may even do my morning walk before my mail pops up.