Opinion & Editorial

Our connected world is wire-thin

We are living in a world that gets smaller everyday, thanks to technology. And, at an exponentially faster pace.
It was 1995 when I first received a mobile flip phone from my newspaper. As sports editor, I was deemed important enough to be one of the few to have one. I moved through many models during the years, from Blackberries to iPhones to Androids and back to an iPhone now.
In 2011, I was at an in-house company conference where our technology and product teams were rolling out new, “elegant” apps for Apple phones and tablets. It was revealed so breathlessly, I’m sure a few people probably had goosebumps in the room.
Then the company’s international VP stood up during a Q&A session, held his Android-based Samsung smartphone over his head, and matter-of-factly declared that 80% of the world uses Android devices.
While some of the goosebumps in the room might have disappeared with the challenge to innovate products for people other than wealthy consumers, I decided at that moment I would change to an Android device the next time I was eligible to upgrade my phone. After all, the department I oversaw also involved international clients and vendors, and it would be good for me to see what the Android phones were like.
Biggest. Mistake. Ever.
It really is an entirely different user-experience over there in Android Land. It was good to peek over the fence, I guess, but I switched back to an iPhone as soon as I could. I had used iPhones for so long it was almost impossible to get past the muscle memory of pushing buttons a certain way.
Now, as a small business owner, I still value technology. So do all of the tenants and business owners in the building we share. And whether it’s a multi-platform media business, a food and beverage establishment with video gaming machines, or a wellness store depending upon clients calling in to schedule appointments, we’re all completely reliant on technology.
We talk about “technology” like it’s a large mystical thing, tough to wrap your head around sometimes. Well, at one point, “technology” was a couple of mules who would hee-and-haw across the field, and later “technology” was a phone tethered to the wall with a knotted-up cord.
Today, still, technology is represented by rudimentary things such as wires. Telephone wires draped across the outside of a building. Satellite TV cables, with exposed connections to dishes. And an assortment of wires for online financial needs, or operating Oregon Lottery machines.
While you don’t need an “official” wirecutter, they are less than $10, and you probably don’t need to watch YouTube videos showing how easy it is to cut wires and cables; you can disrupt an entire building’s business in a matter of minutes. Hundreds of people’s lives.
That’s what happened to those of us at the corner of North Front Street and Oregon Avenue last week. Randomly, someone cut the wires behind and on top of our building overnight, disabling small business owners – community residents – from doing our job serving the local public.
In this great, big, sophisticated, technologically-connected global world, we remain so vulnerable. All it takes is a couple of snips in the night.
Our many thanks to Al Bennett, our landlord who responded immediately, and to Fred, a humble supervisor with Spectrum, who couldn’t have worked with more urgency to resolve the issues in a friendly, professional manner.

Noel Nash is publisher of The Chronicle.



View this profile on Instagram


The Chronicle (@thechronicle1909) • Instagram photos and videos