Behind The


Behind The ‘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.

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