XFinity, like all organizations now, has a lossy fragmented distributed information system.

#XfinitySupport I had to rest for a while, but did go over my experiences with XFinity in recent days and weeks and years. It is typical of what most large corporations face now – trying to piece together many divisions and workers with a bewildering variety of computers and information systems, rules and automated systems.

The humans I meet are consistently nice and professional, but none with a full  grasp of the whole. With the hodge-podge of systems, many distributed and international, there are many holes and gaps. All business systems on the Internet face the same problems. All non-profits, governments, topic groups, STEMC and professional groups. About 5.1 Billion using the Internet and 8.1 Billion humans at risk of many things.

The Internet (global communication) has hundreds of millions of groups and most face the same problems. I try to check as many of the systems and interconnects as possible. Even something as simple as “change phone carrier and get a free phone” can involve many departments and mostly not complete information systems for groups.
Since I am trying to solve the problem of “all languages” on the Internet, this problem of “corporations and entities fragmented by communication channel, operating system, software and location” multiplies each group’s difficulties many-fold.
I am not criticizing the people at XFinity. I just feel sorry for them to have to work with such fragmented systems.  And even more sorry for millions, hundreds of millions, and billions of humans whose lives now depend on what ought to be lossless global communication and memory.
Voice, email, chat, forms and webpages, automated voice response systems and now “AIs” – the knowledge is fragmented. The time lost is a substantial part of global GDP now. Things that should take minutes with zero error, can take days or weeks, and never be reliable or predictable. Things that should be reliable are not. Automated systems get started and cannot be easily traced, audited, corrected.
If it is any consolation, this same problem is close to the same reason “covid” cost millions of lives and disrupted most every country – because the many distributed nodes all needed to coordinate losslessly, regardless of hardware, software, human languages and training, country, and fragmented purposes and policies. A separate parallel system could have been installed overnight, to run on global communication systems, using global open Internet best practices. That is a long story, but a good one. I have written about it before, but no small piece of text can capture the whole, it needs a digital twin and simulation.
#Kubernetes apparently finally realized they need to manage the people and products from distributed efforts, so they looked at “the whole” and were able to remove millions of lines of code from what that group considered its responsibilities. Unfortunately they did not do it openly, so a few humans “optimizing in private” probably introduced large scale cracks and dislocations.
The #AI groups still are using lossy LLM methods. And if those get too embedded in global systems, it is going to make “covid” look like a sneeze. It will make Y2K look small. I did the global status for Y2K and know how many of the largest organizations had to deeply reexamine their use of computers. Now they face auditing and optimizing at global scale.

#DeepMind is a fabulous name, but that is only a few thousand people and they come from fairly narrow backgrounds, relative to all Internet users and the human species. Groups have tools to help with global and systemic issues, but as corporations most simply are not allowed by their bylaws to spend time and effort “for the good of all”. Global issues grow rapidly, left unattended they can lead to tens of millions of unnecessary deaths and more suffering. It is one Earth now, and more people working off-world. 24/7 and moving towards a heliospheric Internet where one tiny mistake can mean lives and huge losses.

The Earth is not like a #SpaceX rocket, where if it crashes insurance pays for the next experiment. When information and communication systems fail, often systemically, the whole human species suffers.

I am trying to write up my notes from 26 years of the Internet Foundation, more than two decades working global and systemic issues, and another decade looking at all STEMC knowledge coordination issues. But I am just one person, and getting really tired. So I just comment on things I happen to see, hoping my experience and views will spark others to work globally. And maybe some of the machine learning groups and individuals to seriously tackle “the whole of things at global and heliospheric scale for thousands or billions of years”.  Or large organizations “Inventory and map and optimize their entire information system, all human and machine flows and decisions.”
Filed as (XFinity, like all organizations now, has a lossy fragmented distributed information system).
Richard Collins, The Internet Foundation

It is 1 am here now, and when you sent the link earlier it was after working hours. Xfinity ought to be able to work 24/7 globally, but in my experience, only the ones working regular hours on-site have access to tools to correct things. Later today (morning or afternoon my time) I might have time to deal with it. I am curious if Fedex will attempt to do a pickup on their own, without me having to schedule it. A responsible delivery company would at least try to contact me, if they were not able to get in the gate. I will see how they act, and make notes. Since Xfinity initiated the delivery, Fedex ought to contact XFinity, if Fedex cannot get in touch with me.
About 1 in 10 delivery people who cannot get in my gate a different delivery person is sent who knows what to do, and it gets delivered in several days.

I do appreciate your attention. Maybe in your general staff meetings, or continuous improvement sessions for Twitter(X) and other Xfinity customer relations groups, you can talk about “after hours”, “customers many on Twitter and social media who contact the support groups in Xfinity” – needing a full range of tools to actually investigate and track things.

Secure access and verification of employees is part of it. If you treat each human and group as a complete entity with many channels of communication – that might help.  It takes more memory and processing. Over time (years and decades?) memory is cheaper than humans.  Now the algorithms online use a few lines of partial logic, when at global scale, drawing from experiences of all organizations, anonymized, the experiences can capture most everything that happens and the best things to do.  Not something a few humans write for their local jobs and situations, but global, losslessly recorded, verified, curated, indexed and made accessible, to anyone who might be needed. It is not simple, but life is full of “working hard and doing the best we can”.

I told you, it is now 1:30 am and I cannot call except during regular working hours. Thank you for helping. I have these notes and link and phone for later. This whole thing has probably cost me 10-15 hours. Since I used it as a case study, I can say I learned things that might help others. But only if XFinity listens to my larger lessons about how to look at the corporation and its connections in the global Internet, and global human society.
When you read things I write, you will have to put in a lot of effort because I am applying hard lessons from more than 50 years of hard work, much at global scale.

I tried calling that number this morning and it did NOT go to Xfinity Mobile, but to my Internet account. I had to explain if for a LONG time and they said “you have to talk to Mobile.” I give up. All I want is for you to contact fedex because fedex would not help and said “you have to all xfinity”. That “free phone” that actually costs $349 is sitting here waiting to be picked up. I am going to bed, I am running a fever and have a sore throat. I am too tired to waste more hours trying to send back a “free” phone, I will only accept email – later.

I only found out today that my street is blocked off. There are countless water main breaks in Houston and they have been working half a block down the hill from me for a week. At least I have water, even if the water warnings and boil notices keep showing up. So maybe “FedEx not picking up the package” was because the street was blocked off two blocks up from me. I cannot see the barriers unless I go out on the street to look. I only found out when InstaCart got blocked today. A young lady went way beyond when she carried my groceries those two blocks and put them by my door.
I tried very hard to contact a knowledgeable human at Fedex. The hand programmed Chat and the hand programmed Voice Response are mostly useless. And the Offshore Humans never have access to really useful things like “Driver notes about deliveries”.
I wrote a note just now labeled “Queegle MultiTask and his New Species, Note 1” about a future when “beyond human intelligence” is embedded in all things. I was thinking of writing a book, or onlne series, but I was also teasing Elon Musk and some of his group.
Telling stories helps make things real and understandable. My own experiences with the disjointed XFinity and Fedex systems probably deserves a longer case analysis, but I have been too sick and tired. It might be some flu variant. I found there are so many delivery people, even someone who rarely goes out can pick up a new virus.  The one last summer took six weeks to recover.

What part of “I am too sick to talk on the phone now did the Mobile person at XFinity not understand today? I told the Internet person I did not want to continue, and she forwarded me to Mobile. And that person just wanted to “process this as fast as possible” I finally hung up and then blocked calls. I had to rest an hour or two so I could go back to work. I still did not get help from Xfinity and Fedex to return that “free phone”. But finding that the street was blocked (and might be out longer) I am going to wait and try next week. If I have to eat the cost of a phone, I will see if I can tether the phone to capture cosmic ray and background radiation correlated signals. There is a global network to gather that kind of data. I have been on the neutrino mailing list a long time. Some of the cosmic ray showers show up in cell phone image sensors when the camera is covered. There is also an ionospheric and electron density mapping project, using GNSS and GPS dual frequency methods. I see all those networks or most of them.

Richard K Collins

About: Richard K Collins

Director, The Internet Foundation Studying formation and optimized collaboration of global communities. Applying the Internet to solve global problems and build sustainable communities. Internet policies, standards and best practices.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *