‘Internet Scene’ Essay, Research Paper
Chad L. Scroble 10/22/96
English 110 Explanitory Rev.
Behind the ‘Internet’ Scene
One of the booming businesses today is any business involving the internet. I
recently interviewed one Micheal Schmelder, an employee of Peripherals Plus Technologies
(PPT), to broaden my perspective on this subject. PPT is one of the largest companies in
Lancaster that serves as computer consultants, but most of all, ‘internet providers’ for their clients.
“We create web pages, and provide the memory space for those pages, to our clients”, says
A graduate of Millersville University, Schmelder has been working at PPT since January,
1990. He works as an account manager, and provides his clients with anything that needs to be
done with a PC, including software, hardware, and networking. “A network is a whole bunch of
computers in a company hooked up together to form a base. This provides an easy, fast way of
sharing information in the company”, Schmelder explains. His biggest client is Armstrong Inc.,
where he spends most of his time when he’s not in the office of Peripherals. “Armstrong is my
biggest account. I need to constantly keep them in sync with todays growing technological
advances, which sometimes, can be real challenge”, Schmelder says.
So how do these networks that companies use relate to the internet or world wide web?
Schmelder explains, “The number one use of the internet for a company is advertising. Putting
your company’s network on the web ties the company to the public and home office in an easy,
inexpensive way. In actuality, the company is sharing it’s information with the world. This is
refered to as an ‘intranet’”. This provides the company with an easy way of advertising to the
When PPT first started their business in 1989, they had only one internet connection, their
own. They used it primarily to look up information that they were in need of at the time, as it was
the best and fastest way to search for information on specific subjects. “We first used the internet
for technical and product information. It was, and still is the fastest way to get product
information which we constantly have to be up on – current product information”, Schmelder says.
A few years later they realized that they needed to get their clients involved in the internet, since it
was getting so popular. They started by designing web sites for their existing clients and,
consiquently, took on many new clients that also wanted their network to be published on the web.
This greatly changed PPT’s business from mostly consulting, to mostly providing internet access
for their clients. Schmelder says, “We saw a need to set ourselves up as a local base provider, or
server, so that our clients and even the home computer user could access the internet throught a
local phone number. This gave us oppurtunities to take on many new clients which we strictly
setup web sites for. “. Schmelder defines a web site as “A computerized book of information
available to the public, pertaining to a certain subject. A company’s web site usually consists of
information on what the company does and what they have to offer”.
A typical construction of a web site is explained by Schmelder. “We work hand -in-
hand with advertising agencies. They supply the graphics for the site, and our client provides the
information. We handle the actual layout and web site design. After we propose and finalize this
design, we give our client an estimate as to how long it will take. Most of our business consists of
selling time rather than hardware or software”. This is mostly what PPT does right now, setting
up web sites, and it is the most important money-making aspect of their business.
Schmelder, being a ‘PC Head’ for the past 16 years, has to constantly change with
technology. He says, “My greatest challenge I face every day is staying ahead of technology and
keeping up with it. It’s vital man, I have to know more than my client’s know”. The computer
science field is a rapid business of ever-changing growth and techniques, and Schmelder knows
that a lot of clients are on the line if their system fails or ‘crashes’. Schmelder describes an
incident when thier system did in fact fail.
“One night during a lightening storm, there was a huge power surge that took down our T-
1 line. This is our main line that provides all of our clients with internet access. As a result of the
line being dismembered, our server that holds all the information for our users and their web sites,
also went down. When we assesed the situation, we found that all of the user names and
passwords had been erased. It all happened at about 5:00pm on a Sunday, and we were up all
night fixing the problem and getting everything back on-line. I was up for like 36 hours that day.”
You can see how important their systems being fully functional is, not only to PPT, but to
all of their 126 clients that rely on their service. When asked if PPT took any measures so that this
wouldn’t happen again, Schmelder replied “Hell yea! We now have complete documentation and
backups of all users, passwords, and web sites. We still don’t have surge protection on our phone
lines yet……we should really get that”.
Schmelder loves his job at PPT, and says “I really don’t have any complaints. It’s my
perfect job, the one I’ve been waiting for. Everyone in the company is an integral part and
appreciated as such. That’s an attribute of a small company you know, that’s where it comes
So what is in store for the internet and PPT in the future? Will the business of this world
wide encyclopedia of information ever slow down? Schmelder comments, “It will never stop. In
my eyes the internet has only just begun. There are limitations one day on how much memory can
be stored or how fast you can access it, but then the next day new software or hardware comes out
so that more memory can be stored and you can access it faster. Technology on the internet is
constantly growing, and as you encounter new problems from day to day, you find new solutions
to fix those problems. The speed and mass of the internet will never stop or slow down, it will
only get bigger and faster”.
Schmelder, Michael D. Personal interview. 16 October 1996.