Well, today FrontPage 2002 fell over, as the English would say. I use Microsoft FrontPage because it's cheap and relatively straightforward, but every several months it decides to throw fits and therefore makes me throw fits. Sometimes the page pointers get corrupted and I have to rebuild the site structure. Today it refused to open the copy of Ballardvale.com on my local PC. Translation: I couldn't update my Ballardvale.com Web site.
I spent a fruitless hour or so looking for the answer on Microsoft.com; since I couldn't figure out the cause of the problem, I went for the workaround: downloading a copy of the site from the Web server to a clean Web on my PC. After little tweaking here and there -- it had forgotten the color of the sidebars, for example -- I was back in business. When all was said and done, about four hours down the drain.
Having been a programmer for nine years and a support engineer for three -- yes, some analysts have worked in the trenches -- I'm not easily intimidated by systems. I can usually figure out the problem -- or at the very least, figure out a workaround.
But as a small business owner, I'm the exception. There's a whole bunch of business people out there who just want to get the job done, and something like this would bring them to their knees. They'd either say, "Screw it" and let the Web site age, or they'd spend good money for someone to fix the problem.
So while analysts and vendors may go on and on about "the frictionless Internet economy," when there is friction, things grind to a halt pretty quickly. Based on my experience, we still have a long way to go. At least when I throw my electric light switch on, the lights actually go on.