This entry is going to be a little crabby. Pardon my rant.
You might wonder why I haven’t blogged in four days. Well, OK, I know you weren’t wondering that, since I do four-day gaps all the time. But I’ve got a one-word answer to that unasked question: modem.
Since the fall of 1997, I’ve had approximately 18 months that I’ve gone without a broadband connection to the internet. I’m telling you this to make a singular point: I am a slave to broadband. It must go where I go. I will decide where I live based mostly on whether I can have broadband and food there, and I’ll probably make the inquiries in that order. Others feel the same way I do about this, and those others are not wrong in their feelings.
I haven’t relied on a modem for regular connecting at my home (accept in anecdotal situations) since the Fall of 2001, and man, I’ve gotta tell you, there’s a reason for that. I cannot believe how ludicrously slow this “dialup” thing really is. It takes awhile to connect (and sometimes you get to listen to a really fun screetching sound while it works that handshake out). Then it delivers the information at approximately 1/30th the speed I’m used to. Then I have people yelling at me to get off the phone. Then I have connections dropping out. Then, when it’s working and no one is trying to get on, I’ve got to share that tiny bit-pipe with Stephanie (since we’re using Airport, which is actually making this whole thing tolerable, so I can’t really complain about that part). It’s just a riot-and-a-half, I tell ya!
Dialup flies in the face of what I believe the Internet to be. It’s supposed to be ubiquitous. It’s supposed to be an omnipresent, infinite library of knowledge and relevance. It connects us to our loved ones and connects us to the Best Buy a few miles away. It informs and entertains us. It is a creative outlet and a brainstorm generator. Dialup quite effectively denies those purposes because dialup contsantly reminds you, “Hey, there’s a lot of information out there. Do you really want to wait while I load it for you?” The difference between broadband and dialup is like the difference between taking sips from a fresh, mountain river from a tablespoon, or diving into the river and submerging one’s self completely. Broadband doesn’t allow you to be simply “on” the Internet. With broadband, you are actually in it.
And so I have a plea to everyone out there who is on dialup and has the ability to do something about that fact. Please, it’s worth $50 a month. Don’t sip. Dive in.