Wednesday, 18 May 2016 12:37

Ringer Radio Episode 11

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Monika
Good Afternoon, Atlanta. This is Monika Meacham and Gabe Meacham here with Ringer Radio.

Gabe
Hello everybody. How is everybody this awesome Friday?

Monika
It’s a beautiful day out.

Gabe
Well it is on this Tuesday when it actually is. We’re going to assume it’s going to be good on Friday.

Monika
For those of you that ever want to ask us any questions, we do have a number. This is pre-recorded so we go, we check the voicemail, we get those questions answered for you. That number is 404-369-0038.

Gabe
The tech just pulled and said ‘oh, by the way, Friday it’s raining.’

Monika
Well, I guess it’s sad outside then.

Gabe
Today we’ve got a special guest with us, Bill Tidwell from Digital Service Consultants. He’s been one of my personal icons coming up through the industry. He was probably one of my earliest touch points when I started doing web design and IT. I’m happy to have you here with us today, Bill.

Bill
I’m happy to be here. Thank you for having me.

Gabe
Of course. I have a question for you right away. This has been bugging me because I watch The Walking Dead and I got a question for you because you’re probably the best person to ask this one topic. How long does the Internet last? How long do we have?

Bill
Forever.

Gabe
No, no, no, I mean, Walking Dead happens…are we screwed on Internet right away or do we still have a while?

Monika
There’s no power so of course there’s no Internet…

Gabe
…you got battery backups and you’d be surprised…

Bill
It depends on how much you can live on because obviously they’re still going to have the satellites in orbit, so you’ve got satellite Internet as long as they’re still running, you’re still getting solar power so you’ll still have some form of it. Now the terrestrial based stuff will go out pretty quick.

Gabe
So what about cell phones…do we still have cell phones?

Bill & Monika
No, those towers go down.

Gabe
What do you have to have a guy on top doing smoke signals to make it work?

Monika
Those generators only last for days. They don’t last very long at all.

Bill
Plus you have to have the lines that are connecting everything and if you have mass chaos and stuff exploding, it’s not going to stay up very long.

Monika
You’re screwed. Smoke signals. That’s all you can do.

Gabe
Dang it! Well you’re no help to me, Bill Tidwell with Digital Service Consultants. I’m going to have to go elsewhere for my data needs.

Monika
Why don’t we educate our audience, Bill, on your background? You know him, Gabe, but everyone out there in the radio world would like to know some more…

Gabe
…high level, what does Digital Service Consultants do?

Bill
High level? We’re an Internet service provider. We also do professional IT services and co-location. I generally tell people we go out to companies and say ‘hey, what’s your IT budget? Thanks, we’ll take it.’ We do all the IT type stuff.

Gabe
So everything from setting up the servers to…I mean, you guys go as far as actually doing the line to their facility and fiber and stuff like that as well?

Bill
Yeah. So we’ll go out to a business and they’ve got 50 engineers and we’ll actually go work with _ and install fiber optic connection for them because today everything…in the day you could get away with the small connections, now everyone’s like a geek…go out, work with the __ get the line installed for them, set it up, put in a managed firewall for them, router, whatever they need and get the connectivity up and running. Then if they have any projects...they’re like ‘oh, we really need to implement this particular server, but we don’t have time. Can you upgrade it?’ We’ll do a scope of work, send engineers out and get it all taken care of.

Gabe
I don’t know a proper way to say this but ‘nut to butt, you’re taking care of people’.

Bill
After 30 years we’ve pretty much done it all.

Gabe
That’s the other thing…

Monika
You’ve been around for 30 years? Wow. Where are you guys located and where do you serve?

Bill
We’re about 2 miles from the Mall of Georgia, so out there in Buford, and we service the whole state of Georgia. Our old location is closed. We bought a building right down the street from the Mall of Georgia.

Gabe
I remember one time going into the switch room or the data room…it was this one huge wall. Now I may be dating myself because now everything’s the size of a cell phone. Is it pretty much like that or do you have this one little room…

Bill
Oh no, it’s still like that only it’s rows and rows of racks and everybody’s trying to cram more and more. They used to put in bigger servers, then they got to the slim one-use servers, now they’re like ‘let’s get the blade servers where we can drop in 100 servers in this one space.’

Monika
So what is that for exactly? Is it for hosting or…

Bill
…hosting and everything else because a lot of times if you’re a shipping company or a logistics company or any type of company that’s out there…if you put your main servers at your office and you’ve got all these remote offices…if your office goes down they’re offline. So that makes it really sensitive whereas if you put main servers at a Data Center like ours, if you have 150 offices around, we have backup power, backup HVAC, all these different backup systems that at a regular office, you wouldn’t have. Also, whenever you need more bandwidth, click a button. Bam! There you go.

Monika
So, essentially do they rent the space where they put their servers? Do they rent the servers? How does that part work?

Bill
They do it all different ways, but mostly they just rent the space, the power and the bandwidth and they bring their own…usually they have their own IT Department and they’re like ‘hey, we’ve got 1 full rack worth of equipment. We’ll bring it over and set it up and configure it.

Monika
How do you protect…I’m assuming it’s a big room with all these servers with all these different businesses and like you said, some of them have their own IT Departments that need access…

Gabe
…he’s got armed ninjas. Don’t try. I went up against the armed ninjas once.

Monika
How do you make sure those IT people are working on only their particular business ones?

Bill
When you go in, all of the racks are locked. They have to have their own key to unlock and of course it’s monitored…all the IP Cameras, 24 hours a day so you can see what’s going on. To even get into the facility you have to enter a code and all that kind of stuff.

Monika
So great security…

Gabe
…and then the armed ninjas. You’d be surprised…if you were to see someone do something to somebody else’s machine, nerd etiquette would be to sound the alarm, attack this guy.

Bill
That’s why you have to have the recording because what happens if you’re on Row 3, Rack 7 and somewhere along the way you bump into somebody else’s rack and knock them offline…you have to know. Part of it is when you move into the Data Center you have to have an insurance policy in case something like that happens. Worse case scenario, you get one of those vindictive ex-employees, you let somebody go and they go in there and mess up your stuff, you’re going to need surveillance to see who it was, when they did it, etc.

Monika
So help me understand…when does a business…when is the appropriate time for a business to take their infrastructure and their servers and build their infrastructure within a Data Center like yours, where it’s protected and maintained and all that stuff?

Bill
Really anytime because with all the data failures people have had, even if you’re a small business a lot of times they’ll set up a single server at our location and back up their data to it so they have offsite disaster recovery and backup.

Gabe
Did you hear…I had a computer that everything was plugged into and for the 1st time in my life…I’ve been doing IT my whole life…saw it catch fire. I saw the board catch fire, burnt all the __ cables, both ends…

Monika
…burnt the backups that he had plugged into it at the time.

Bill
Well I would like to tell you he’s the only one in America, but No. Basically when people realize they need this is when something goes wrong. So you have all these taped backups at the office, you’re backing up all your data and you think you’re great, then somebody breaks into your office, they take the computers, your tapes are right there…they take them. You lose your data and you’re like ‘wow, maybe we need to have some offsite backup.’ So, it’s very common for smaller businesses like that and then for medium or larger business, whenever you realize your equipment cannot be offline. That’s when they bring it to us. A lot of companies, if you’ve only got 1 or 2 servers, they’ll put them online, no problem, everything’s running great. You get more and more servers where you have to have special air conditioning, your power goes out occasionally and everything goes down, then they go ‘let’s just move this somewhere else where we don’t have to hassle with all this stuff. Then you bring it there, you’ve got the redundant power, redundant HVAC, the whole 9 yards where you don’t have to bother with anything. Just put the servers there and go.

Monika
Do you have somebody there 24 hours onsite that monitors everything?

Bill
We have a tech on duty 24 hours a day.

Gabe
That’s one of the things that’s always been amazing about them over there, is anytime I’ve ever had to deal with them, someone has always been right there.

Bill
Internet’s 24 hours a day. We had a customer that had a major problem in the office last Saturday at 3:40am because when there’s a problem, people need it resolved.

Gabe
That’s awesome. That’s one of the nice things about dealing with more of a smaller ISP. You’re a big ISP in all the capabilities terms, but small in terms of, you know all your customers vs. the bigger companies.

Monika
Welcome back, Atlanta. We have a very special announcement from Mr. Gabe today.

Gabe
Don’t laugh. It’s a very special announcement. All you Joomla users out there, 3.5 is out of beta, it’s in open wide release. The biggest thing about it is it’s switching from PHP 6 on the back end to PHP 7, which in turn makes it…they’re benchmarking the whole system at like 30x’s quicker from start of process to end of process. That’s a big deal. In terms of speed, about twice the speed of the average WordPress site and that, in my book, is pretty cool.

Monika
So I’m going to break that down into non-nerd talk. There’s a new update for the backend for a specific Content Management System that makes it better than some of the other ones and does a lot more security updates.

Gabe
I didn’t say anything about security. We did test the one-button update button…works like a champ.

Monika
Be careful though if you don’t know what you’re doing because if you’ve got components that are old you can quickly break…

Gabe
…do a backup. Always backup.

Monika
So Bill, you’ve been around for a very long time. Thirty years is an amazing amount of time for a business in Atlanta, especially in the IT world, I believe. So 30 years…great. Kudos to you. We’ve got a lot of listeners out there that aspire to be 30 years in their industry. Is there anything in particular that you’ve gone through in your life cycle of your business that you could share with us to help us see how you’ve gone through your struggles and how you’ve grown as a business?

Bill
Well it’s constantly changing and as we discussed before, it’s cycles. When you first start out it’s hard, hard, hard working 17 hours a day every single day, trying to get things running. There’s never enough time. When we first started, I was doing PC clones back when they very first started.

Monika
PC Clones. What’s that?

Bill
When they first came out with personal computers, you had your Apples at the schools and then IBM came out with an IBM PC. They made clones of them. I made friends with one of the service managers and we started building them on the side and selling them at school. So that’s how I got into the IT realm.

Monika
You’re selling the computers…

Bill
When 56K modems first came out we were some of the 1st people to have them. That was amazingly fast. We had the ones. So we did PCs for a while. It was great. You made a ton of money on a PC. Then Networks were the big thing…today everyone has a Network. Back in the day nobody had it.

Monika
That was in the early 90s?

Bill
We got in at the 10mb stage. When Novell Netware became popular and installed those networks it was great because people just didn’t have Networks. It was a new concept so we got out the books, figured out how to do it, went out there and started doing it. That was great for a while. Then after doing all that for a while and we morphed again, Internet was just coming up. We got an Internet connection and sold dial-up modem. It was 9600 Bod.

Monika
So early 90s?

Gabe
That’s about when I was running BBS Boards.

Bill
I was too.

Monika
What are BBS Boards?

Bill & Gabe
Bulletin Board Systems.

Gabe
It was the AOL alternative to a website.

Monika
So you mean you didn’t have to dial up…?

Gabe
No, you had to dial up…

Monika
…you could dial up into something else?

Gabe
Yes. You could dial up into individual Bulletin Boards sytems.

Monika
I never knew that. I thought that AOL was it back then.

Gabe
No there was all kinds of alternatives.

Bill
It was like multi-users texting but before there was all these newfangled stuff you had to actually get on your computer to type to people. So we did that and we had 9600 BOD modems. People that had 56K modems were like ‘oh, new technology!’ Then got into the DSL. We actually put the 1st Loop Qual through before bellsouth.net back in the day and that was it. It started taking off from there. People wanted more and more bandwidth.

Gabe
My tech wonders if any of these old school BBSs still work. Yeah.

Bill
Some of them. Some of them are on the Internet now.

Gabe
They’re more about sharing software illegally. To be honest, that’s what they were always about.

Monika
So it’s the hacking world.

Gabe
You either saw pictures of naked ladies or you stole software. That was the alternative to AOL.

Bill
I will say probably near the inception of Internet, the visual entertainment industry probably pushed the most data of any…

Monika
…meaning the porn industry? % of all transactions were porn transactions online.

Monika
So do you think that the Internet took off because of porn?

Gabe
Sure we’ll give them that credit, I guess. The technology sure did.

Bill
So on Southpark where they’re singing the song “The Internet Was Made For Porn”…

Gabe
I gotta say, the modern browser probably was. Why do you think they call it Internet Explorer?

Monika
It makes sense. I never thought of it that way before.

Gabe
In terms of easily generating revenue, they’ve got the easiest generating revenue and share model out there.

Bill
It’s pretty funny you mention the browsers because one of the very 1st browsers was Netscape. The guys who are responsible for developing that are still relevant on the Internet today. Dr. Niel Clark Warren was one of the first people at Netscape and of course, now he runs eHarmony. He’s still viable in the industry.

Gabe
Netscape became Mozilla, didn’t it? When they went to open source?

Bill
It did.

Gabe
Interesting little bit of history lesson for all you listeners out there. If you can decode and put any of that together, you’re slightly smarter than you were yesterday. That’s really what it was and it kind of evolved in its simplicity since then. A lot of these other technologies kind of fall by the wayside…IRC Channels…everybody now pretty much uses The Web and/or Apps, which is the next version. But I can see how you guys still play a huge role in those end points.

Bill
Yeah, well data usage is just doubling all the time. If you read all the reports you’ll see people are doing more and more stuff on the Internet. Before, when we first got on the Internet, we were typing and text was great but now it’s video. Live streaming video eats up more bandwidth than you can imagine and everyone’s doing it. Even people that are not that technology savvy, you look on their phone they’re on Facebook. They’ve got the videos just popping up. They’re on Snapchat “here let me send you a quick video of myself” to 25 people.

Gabe
They’re using Facetime.

Monika
For Ringer Consulting Group that’s why we actually made sure that we invested in a lot of video equipment, because of how big video is online.

Bill
It’s huge. That’s what it’s moving to. You’re trying to convey something to somebody, a picture is 1,000 words…what about a video?

Monika
People have gotten lazy. Nobody wants to read anymore. I’m the same way. If I’m going to go somewhere and I don’t want to have to worry about the ambient noise that’s going to come from my phone, I’m going to watch a video before I go read a long article because I want to know what’s happening, quick. On that note, we need to take another break.

Monika
Welcome back, Atlanta. This is Ringer Radio with Monika and Gabriel Meacham.

Gabe
And we have our special guest, Bill Tidwell with Digital Service Consultants, joining us here and we’re just having fun, shooting it and going back and forth. It’s so much fun catching up. During the breaks, we don’t have to listen to the commercials. We get to talk about what we want to talk about. Most of that should be on air but…no I’m lying. Most of it’s rubbish.

Monika
But during our break we were talking about the future. Let’s dive a little bit more into that.

Gabe
It’s funny how most recently, our culture…we were kind of a counter culture for a long time…if you had anything to do with the Internet or anything like that…

Bill
…computer people were geeks and nerds.

Gabe
Exactly. You were kind of a special little counter culture where they said ‘you need the around but keep them away because they’re kind of weird.’

Monika
They still say that now. No, we still say that.

Gabe
No. You have to have a nerd in a commercial. You cannot be taken seriously in 2016 unless you have the nerdiest person you have, on your billboard.

Bill
It’s a little more cool than it was back in the day.

Monika
I guess it’s cool to be a nerd.

Gabe
Yeah, you’ve got the Progressive lady.

Monika
She’s not a nerd!

Gabe
Oh, she’s a total hacker! You can tell. Speaking of Hackers, that’s probably the movie that changed it all. It’s pretty cool how it’s become a “normal culture” thing.

Bill
Well, look at all the stuff from when we were geeks and hackers. Look at those guys…now IT is so critical to everybody, they’re all making money, which of course, makes them more mainstream. Even look at the shows we used to watch…I used to watch Star Trek and Star Wars…

Monika
Gabe has a big binder book with Star Trek trading cards.

Bill
I’ve got the Star Wars ones…the red series, the blue series, the green series…

Gabe
Pretty soon everyone’s going to have the phone up to their eyes…

Bill
If you have a Samsung phone for $100 you can get a headset, clip your phone to it and have virtual reality.

Gabe
Does it work?

Bill
It’s awesome.

Monika
So is that where the Internet’s going? We started this whole segment with saying ‘what’s our future?’ Is our future all Virtual Reality? Seeing a webpage, putting on some glasses and seeing a gigantic webpage and clicking the air…

Bill
It’s going to be a whole ‘nother experience. Just like when you used to have text and then you went to webpages and now videos…when you do Virtual Reality you are in there.

Gabe
I’m going to hold out for the Holadeck.

Bill
Until then they’re going to have Virtual Reality where you go there and interact. There are a lot of stories about it where eventually that’s what people do. They don’t’ hang out, they don’t go places. They all join in to a shared Virtual Reality space because when you’re in 3-D you can see everything...

Gabe
Why don’t people just get together and drink coffee?

Bill
That’s what we’re losing is a little bit of that human interaction. A lot of people interact online but they don’t get out and do stuff anymore.

Gabe
They don’t know their neighbors anymore.

Monika
I know my neighbors.

Bill
The neighbors are the people you invite to the party so they don’t call the police.

Monika
I have a question going back to the Holadeck…is that actually possible?

Gabe
Have you learned anything in the last 20 years. Everything is possible.

Bill
With enough time and enough money… If you take away the room, when you put on these VR simulators it is like you’re in the Holadeck because you see and hear everything just like you’re on it. When you’re on that virtual rollercoaster and you can look behind you and see the people behind you…that’s the next thing that’s coming. We need more data than what we have.

Gabe
From a data supplier, you can imagine a time when we’re not looking at a website, we’re basically dropping into a room?

Bill
Yes. It’s coming. I don’t know how quick, but it’s coming.

Gabe
From my side, we can create 3-D objects, we can create 3-D worlds and there’s a lot of that. Software’s actually open-source now. So once it’s adopted as the norm…

Bill
…it’s that initial adoption, which I think you’re going to see later this year. All this stuff we’re talking about just came out. Everybody’s getting it. When Play Station VR comes out in October, that’s when we’re going to see it.

Gabe
Even if it’s on an app…

Gabe
Commerce has become part entertainment with Social Media. I can see it all blending together.

Monika
I can see 3-D tours for Real Estate Agents…being able to put on those glasses and walk through several different homes and see what’s going on. That’s where you could get in terms of business when it comes to that. Anyway, we need to take a quick break on that note, so we will be right back. Ringer Radio.

Gabe
Hello and welcome back, Atlanta. You’re listening to Ringer Radio with Monika Meacham and Gabe Meacham, in reverse and straightforward. We also have Bill Tidwell here so let’s get into it. We’re in our final segment and what we do is we try do is figure out where our business’ touch points are and one of the big questions that we might have in common is “why do you have a Web Development shop?” Just to explain the correlation if you were to ask…we create the websites and the software that gets held on the servers…

Monika
…we get a lot of clients that personally ask us all the time “what do I have to pay for?” You have the website, you have the hosting and you have the domain. A lot of people don’t understand the difference between the hosting and the domain. I bet you have a really good way of explaining it, Bill.

Bill
Sure. The name is DNS, Domain Name Service, and that is where you go out and you buy a name on the Internet like hirearinger.com. That’s your name, you own it, but it doesn’t give you any hosting. It doesn’t give you anything, you just own the name. It’s like filing a trademark…OK Great. It’s not going to do anything for you. The hosting is what ties the website to the name. You go to it and type in hirearinger.com and Bam!

Gabe
People don’t really understand what hosting is. Most people don’t understand that it’s files that sit on…

Monika
…I had somebody ask ‘do we pay for hosting before we pay for the website?’ No. You have nothing to host.

Bill
It’s just a file server. Basically all your files, when you design the website, it’s a bunch of little files, pictures, graphics sound files…you store them all on a server somewhere and program it and you type in www.dscj.com and all your files come up.

Gabe
And it goes magically through the Internet and connects through 1,000 different computers until it finally hits the right one…

Monika
Can you have a website that will fit more than one server?

Gabe
A server can only take so much traffic before it catches on fire and blows up. So what you want to do if you’re like a CNN or something, then you have redundant servers and distributed networks. Now they have virtualization that allows you to automatically do it without actually having to have server appliances.

Monika
So it’s very similar to the way data is moved on wireless?

Gabe
Nobody knows anything about wireless.

Monika
I do. I know how that works so I had a light bulb moment.

Bill
It’s all capacity. You design the site so you can have 50 people look at it…500 people…1,000…5,000,000…every time you go up you’re scaling it more…

Monika
Do builder sites have capacity limits…?

Gabe
Of course because they shove as many accounts on a box as they can regardless of how much traffic they get.

Monika
How much would be their maximum?

Gabe
They don’t give you an SLA (Service Level Agreement).

Bill
There could be thousands of other sites on that 1 box and all you know is it’s slow.

Gabe
The worse part is if one of those sites gets hacked, so many other times it will hack whatever else that’s connected to it.

Monika
So if you’re somebody that has a site on Wix and there’s a thousand other people there…

Gabe
I’m not going to say anything about Wix because they probably do virtualization or some sort of thing like that to protect themselves from that but I do know plenty of builders that…GoDaddy is probably the worse…

Bill
That’s been brought to the media’s attention a lot lately because of Cryptoware…that new virus where 1 thing gets infected and it encrypts the data and then every site on there gets encrypted…or every computer. Lots of Networks now, where 1 employee at home logs in and uploads that Cryptoware, your whole server, you lost all your data on it. That’s common.

Monika
So folks out there listening…I get that question a lot: “what’s the difference between a Builder Site and a Custom Site?” This is from a different perspective.

Gabe
If you care about your website, if you love your website: Give your website a dedicated IP Address…

Monika
…you don’t get that from Builder Sites?

Gabe
No.

Monika
What is a dedicated IP Address?

Gabe
A dedicated IP Address just means that you are the only person hosting on that particular IP Address and it’s a unique number online.

Monika
Does that give you some benefit?

Gabe
It’s much cleaner and much less susceptible to any kind of bleed over attack. It’s not susceptible to spoofing, which is when you get an email that says it came from your local network at the office and really it didn’t. It gives you instructions to log in and goes to a page that can be spoofed and when you log in you give away your information.

Bill
Phishing attacks is what you’re talking about. “This is your bank, go ahead and type in your password.” Really, it’s not your bank.

Gabe
Make sure you are set up correctly. That’s why you have companies like Digital Service Consultants because they have 30 years of experience on not only what works, but what does not work and they’re going to give you the best overall setup in terms of what you actually need and the best practices on staying safe. They offer managed services as well, which means that I can hand my website to Bill and say “I don’t ever want to have to touch this again.” And they take it.

Monika
So Bill, tell our folks out there if they wanted to get a hold of you, what’s your website address? What’s a contact number for you guys at Digital Service Consultants?

Bill
Digital Service Consultants is www.dscga.com is our website and then our phone number is 770-614-3720 and if they want to send us an email just email to sales@dscga.com and we’ll be happy to help them out.

Gabe
Again, I can’t recommend Bill and his guys over at GSCGA enough. They’ve been a part of the community a part of the community and a part of what we do here in Atlanta since the beginning.

Monika
30 years! That is the beginning.

Bill
The dawn of IT times.

Gabe
So they have my seal of endorsement, if that means anything.

Monika
Thank you so much Bill, for coming on with us today. We appreciated having you.

Gabe
I think it was good radio. I want it to be more of people in the industry. I got “Nerd Radio” after all.

Monika
I had to make sure everyone out there understood what you guys were talking about.

Gabe
Until next time, give us a look at hirearinger.com and if you want to call us about getting something designed…

Monika
…or even if you want Adwords or Digital Marketing or Custom Software…we do it all. We’re a full, creative agency and we’re here to help you. Again, thanks for listening. Have a wonderful weekend.

Read 1074 times Last modified on Monday, 11 July 2016 11:12

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