Imagine the potential for disaster with the sudden absence of one cellular calling device in the family structure. For over two weeks, T-Mobile Sidekick users, of whom my daughter is one, have experienced near constant service outages, as well as losing address books, emails and other stored data, possibly forever.
The massive Sidekick breakdown is being blamed on failure in “cloud computing.” Cloud computing is the growing practice of companies storing large amounts of data on remote servers instead of having customers rely on their own less spacious, and presumably less dependable, personal hard drives. The server, the curiously named, Microsoft’s “Danger,” experienced an unlikely confluence of events while upgrading their system. According to reports “Danger” may have broken the top three cardinal rules of computer geekdom. 1. Backup 2. Backup 3. ???. Yeah. Backup.
The “butterfly effect” is an idea that says that the smallest event, even a butterfly flapping its wings, can have a huge effect on events clear on the other side of the planet. Slammed with a tsunami or a hurricane in Asia? Blame, if there is to be any, probably rests with a winged creature who flapped one too many times somewhere on the African continent. Can’t figure out how, why or when to make dinner? Blame your teenager’s Sidekick.
Initial communication breakdowns will directly result in key items going un-purchased at the grocery store. Errors, seemingly minor at first, then compound upon themselves. Cream cheese will be acquired instead of sour cream. Jif Crunchy, instead of Peter Pan smooth. Pepperidge Farm White, instead of Wonder Wheat. Skim instead of one percent.
Situation imperceptibly begins to deteriorate as dinner is prepared with bizarre substitute ingredients. Meal grows cold; sense of stability and congealed food wobble. Where is my family? Apparitions that may or may not have been my cellular-less child are randomly spotted out the corner of my eye.
Vaguely familiar people who are hopefully friends with my children ring the doorbell. When I answer, I observe the ones who are Sidekick owners have unusual tics, and respond as if they haven’t communicated this way since the last time they went trick or treating as 9- year- olds. Most poignantly: Their thumbs, not yet used to not constantly being needed to text message, appear depressed.
Several days in, family members in separate cars will arrive from opposite directions to pick up younger daughter after bell choir, barely missing each other. Husband mobilizes entire fellowship hall of hungry Presbyterians to search for his youngest offspring. Moments before issuing an Amber alert, husband will be informed via his own operational cellular calling device of her safe passage home with her sister.
Still without Sidekick service, I am worried about the health of her thumbs. Will those little muscles atrophy? Those youthful hands each with 27 bones must not be allowed to become her generation’s hunchback! When, T-mobile, when?