Lately the two big communication companies have been battling out for providing internet access:  cable versus something called “FIOS”.  I don’t know what “FIOS” is but it sounds important because it has initials.  One of the companies has this series of commercials many of us have seen where there are these two representatives, one for the FIOS company who is a nice guy providing all sorts of technological miracles, and one for the cable company who is sort of a schlub.

Recently the cable company has started retaliating with a commercial showing an unresponsive FIOS salesman who gets the door slammed in his face by an impatient customer. 

Anyway, I wonder what the companies would make of this story:  For our research project, we’re instrumenting a new bridge.  The instruments are being installed to help measure in detail how the structure behaves during construction.  The bridge site is a bit remote, and we needed a way to download the data from the instruments.  As far as we can tell, there is no WiFi, so we had to figure out how to get internet access to transfer the data for processing. 

One of the graduate students has been tackling this problem for the past month.  I wasn’t on the phone, but I imagine the conversation went something like this: 

Jesse:  “We’re calling for your help establishing internet access.” 

Internet Company Representative:  “Excellent.  We’re here to help.  What is the name of the party requesting access?” 

Jesse:  “It’s a bridge.” 

Internet Company Representative:  “I see.  What is Mr. Bridge’s first name?” 

Jesse:  “It’s a bridge.” 

Internet Company Representative:  “I see.  Does Mr. Bridge have a first name.” 

Jesse:  “How about ‘beam’?” 

Internet Company Representative:  “I see.  ‘Beam Bridge’.  What is Mr. Bridge’s address?” 

Jesse:  “It’s a bridge.” 

Internet Company Representative:  “I see.  Does Mr. Bridge live on a road?” 

Jesse:  “I think Mr. Bridge is not alive so he doesn’t live on a road.” 

Internet Company Representative:  “That is unfortunate.  It will be difficult to provide internet access to someone who is not alive.” 

Jesse:  “He’s not alive because it’s a bridge.” 

Internet Company Representative:  “I see.  Can you provide me an address?” 

Jesse:  “Vernon Avenue.” 

Internet Company Representative:  (with some relief that finally progress is being made).  “Excellent.  What number on Vernon Avenue does Mr. Bridge live at.” 

Jesse:  “There is no number.  It’s a bridge.”


Now some good news to report:

As of this morning, Jesse has convinced the internet company to provide access to the bridge.