Argumentative Essay, Research Paper
In the decades after the civil war, American industry transformed itself into a new wonder of the world. Now, one hundred and twenty five years later, society has thus further evolved. As the knowledge of fiber optic cables, microprocessors, silicon chips and operating systems has expanded, we embrace a technological era in which computers seem to be superior and play a larger role in our everyday life functions than it has many years ago. With the use of computers, supplemented by the Internet, mass communication and information is easily accessible from most homes or public institutions. In August 1962, J.C.R. Licklider of MIT envisioned a globally interconnected set of computers through which everyone could quickly access data and programs from any site, (Gregory R. Gromov, http://www.isoc.org/internet/history/brief.html#Origins). With the help of many other great minds, this concept has turned into a reality known as the Internet. The Internet allows easy and fast access to information pertaining to almost any subject. People can send e-mail to anyone across the world within a few seconds, and also chat in real time.
Who provides the Internet? There are several Internet service providers, or ISP, worldwide. Among the abundance of ISPs exist two major companies, America Online (AOL) and Earthlink Network. These two companies have long competed in becoming the number one Internet provider. Numerically speaking, AOL has at least four times the amount of customers than that of Earthlink, however, the customer base of Earthlink is rapidly expanding. Most computer neophytes would be content with having America Online as their Internet provider, but for those intellectuals, who are not afraid to explore the vast capabilities of a pure Internet provider, will not settle for anything less than a superior ISP such as Earthlink.
Earthlink exemplifies the new attitude ISPs are following, going beyond AOL s ease-of-use idea by several steps. Version 5.0 of EarthLink s Internet connection software has become one of the easiest to use among most companies providing Internet access, especially during the setup process. The software walks the customer through the entire process using a human video companion and an animated character, Blinky. Although the writer of the article considers Blinky as a predictably annoying cartoon character, the animated effect creates a fun and appealing setting to a novice user. Once a person completes the installation, a whole world of information and possibilities are conveniently accessible.
Unlike AOL, a pure ISP such as Earthlink, delivers unrestricted and unregulated Internet access. It is a direct connection to the Internet; thus giving a user fast access to websites and to everything available off of the World Wide Web. The author of the article, Joel Dreyfuss, acknowledges this fact by stating, downloading Web material via AOL can be a lot slower than using an ISP like Earthlink–probably because it s a two step process through AOL s own private network. An analogy that demonstrates AOL s restricted access and Earthlink s unrestricted access is, the Internet being a major city with various types of buildings, and those buildings being websites, AOL would be the public bus transportation only stopping at certain buildings while passing by others. Earthlink would be considered a rental car that has the capability of stopping at any desired location. What most people consider important is being able to log online, getting what you need to do done, and then logging off. This is a common routine practiced by Earthlink members with experiencing only rare interruptions.
Earthlink has a ninety-five percent connectivity rate meaning a user will be able to connect to the Internet ninety-five percent of the time with out experiencing any busy signals and stay connected with out being automatically logged off when actively doing a function from the net. As a former AOL member, I recall my frustrations when I had to at least attempt six or seven times to make a connection due to busy signals and despite the fact I was in the middle of writing an e-mail, I would then get disconnected only after a few minutes. Once online through Earthlink, a user can send and receive e-mail with out having to go through different kinds of unwanted pop-up advertisements that take up time to close out before actually getting any task done. Earthlink also has a great feature that helps prevent their customers from receiving junk mail or spam mail through a special program called the Spaminator. The Spaminator blocks all the mail from people who are not on a customer s address book and sends it directly to a junk mail folder where it can be viewed at a customer s leisure. Because of the complexity of computers, surfing the Internet is not always smooth sailing.
When customers have any computer or Internet problems, Earthlink provides free technical support twenty-four hours, seven days a week. Earthlink technicians are highly skilled and go through a succession of training to better equip them with the knowledge to trouble shoot Internet problems. Because of the exponential growth of today s technology, the technicians are always up to date with the latest breakthroughs. They are trained not only to trouble shoot Internet problems but also non-internet related issues–which is often the case. Since not everyone uses the same type of computer to connect to the Internet, the technical support department is separated into several sections; there is a section consisting of Windows, Macintosh, and Other operating systems technicians. Technical support is not the only type of support available to online subscribers, there is also a customer service department.
The customer service department deals with account maintenance. They handle billing issues or any account changes. Although customer service is not available twenty-four hours, they are easily accessible with little wait time. Unlike the customer service operators of AOL, most customer service representatives of Earthlink are down to earth, friendly and sympathetic to the customer s needs. The combination of both technical support and customer service is a valuable asset to the company in providing an overall wonderful Internet experience.
The article written by Joel Dreyfuss, AOL or Earthlink?, clearly shows his preference of AOL over Earthlink. AOL is easy and simple to use while; nevertheless, Earthlink has also incorporated this ideology but also
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