Early today, we had a downpour accompanied by... a thunderstorm accompanied by... a lightning strike... at the power pole... in our front yard.
I'm still assessing the damage but the net effect so far is that it blew out the power transformer and sent a massive power surge into the house over the power and phone lines. This did several things: first, it shocked my daughter who was upstairs turning on a light, it also shocked me, right through the keyboard. Then it blew out much of the network equipment in my office. Fortunately, while it reset the computers, they all appear to be unharmed. The surge also blew out my PBX and all phones in the house. Fortunately, most of my Y2K preparations served me well as the standby power systems kicked in automatically. Of course, with no working network gear I could not connect to the internet to connect to my hosted Domino server. Fortunately, I use Lotus Notes, so I switched to island mode where I had full access to all of my data to within a few minutes of the surge via local replicas with no loss of data.
I was sitting at my desk, working on my presentation for the Office 2.0 conference when all of this happened.
After I checked to see that my family was safe and that the house was not on fire I thanked the Lord for His protection. Then, I started thinking about my presentation. Well, I couldn't really think about it because there was so much to do to get things working again, but I did have these two thoughts: 1. If I were using Office 2.0 applications, I could take comfort that my data was sitting safe in the cloud where I could not reach it. 2. If I were using Office 2.0 applications, I could take comfort that as soon as I got to a location with internet and power and a computer with a browser, I could get back to work as if nothing had happened.
1. If I were using Office 2.0 applications, I could take comfort that my data was sitting safe in the cloud where I could not reach it.
2. If I were using Office 2.0 applications, I could take comfort that as soon as I got to a location with internet and power and a computer with a browser, I could get back to work as if nothing had happened.
So, in an instant, I was able to experience for myself both sides of the O20 accessibility argument. As I mentioned earlier, I use Lotus Notes, which when implemented properly is naturally fault resilient, but there remains much to think about here. I keep a local Domino server (which lightning strike knocked out of service) and a second dedicated Domino server off-site, hosted by an internet provider. So, in a sense, I suppose that I could argue that I'm using some Office 2.0 concepts, though that would be a stretch.
Where Office 2.0 applications did come through for me was in the area of phones - perhaps not the traditional O20 application we hear about often. I was able to set up a Ring Central hosted PBX account and have a rudimentary system running quickly. (To be fair, I had actually signed up last week, so everything was already in place.) This was a big help, and I will probably not replace my local PBX as a result. As far as my data and applications, I'm not ready to give up local access to those but I will continue to explore ways to use certain hosted services, even if they are my own virtual server somewhere in the cloud. It may only be Office 1.5 but I feel safer that way.
Tomorrow, I'll see what the power company did over night to replace the transformer, call the phone company to arrange repairs of the dead lines, and assess the damage to the equipment. Oh, and I'll thank my local wireless ISP - Frazier Mountain Internet Services - for their prompt and immediate support. Scott and Barbara Rosen are wonderful. As far as the damaged stuff, well it's just stuff and can be replaced. perhaps some of these functions will even be replaced with Office 2.0 applications. We'll see.
Meanwhile, I thank God, my family is safe.
[Update: Kathy just pointed out that at least I will have a unique story to tell at the conference this week. Not my kind of story, but I'll go with it.]