Skip to main content

The Broadband Joke

I subscribe to the fastest broadband my home is capable of receiving. I've got 35GB of pictures that I want to protect offsite, so I've subscribed to the excellent Dropbox service which I already use for smaller documents. My pictures are now 'syncing' with Dropbox. It will, according to my computer, take another 14 days for all of them to be safely delivered into my Dropbox account . But that's if I leave it chugging away 24/7, which I won't. I turn the back-up sync on at night when no-one is using the internet, so it's only working for a maximum of 8 hours a day (assuming I remember to turn it on). So that's 52 days it's going to take to load my pictures., and it's costing me $99 a year for my 100GB of extra Dropbox space (you get 2GB free).

Alternatively I could have burned some DVDs and put them in the garden shed. Under the circumstances this would have been far faster and less expensive.Walking to my shed takes about 30 seconds. That's a bit-rate of 8.5Gbps, or 8,500 times faster than my current 'broadband' speed, for the price of a few disks, say £20 pa, and a shed, which I've already got. The internet service is also far less reliable - unless its raining or mice eat the DVDs, and there is an issue of disk decay. Few people realise that digital optical disks have a life expectancy of only 2 to 5 years - as advised by the US Government Archive Agency (other useful bits in their FAQ include the difference between types of disks and how long blank disks last). So I would need to repeat the full back up every 2 years for safety.

I also need to factor in the potential disappearance not only of my internet connection (a monthly occurrence), and the rather higher potential of Dropbox exiting existence. Remember Dot.Bomb? How catastrophic would the loss of any of these cloud services we've quickly come to rely on, be? We've already seen what happens when a bank's systems go down. Don't think about it. Have faith (did I say that?... the atheist recommends blind faith).

But global disaster apart, I'm paying an additional £40 per year just to be lazy, and getting a far slower and less reliable service into the bargain. Having reached this conclusion, the sensible chap would cancel Dropbox and buy some DVDs. But I've admitted I'm lazy. Inertia wins. Can you just imagine how much hassle it would be to prevent Dropbox from getting paid every year, let alone get my money back for the current year - presuming I'm still in some sort of cooling off period. Take the bloody money, I'll live with the byte-crawl.

One day proper broadband may reach even my corner of the wealthiest and most populous county in this G8 "developed" (allegedly) nation - although by then I'll probably own a camera that shoots 20Mb pictures, I'll want all my movies stored online, and my kids will be streaming multi-channel HD-porn and games into the house day and night. Perhaps I'd better check out that shed after all. Maybe I could buy a waterproof conveyor belt... Wonder if they make mouse-resistant disks.


Popular posts from this blog

Phillips screws - yes I'm angry about them too

Don't get me wrong. They're a brilliant invention to assist automation and prevent screwdrivers from slipping off screw heads - damaging furniture, paintwork and fingers in the process. Interestingly they weren't invented by Mr Phillips at all, but by a John P Thompson who sold Mr P the idea after failing to commercialise it. Mr P, on the otherhand, quickly succeeded where Mr T had failed. Incredible isn't it. You don't just need a good idea, you need a great salesman and, more importantly, perfect timing to make a success out of something new. Actually, it would seem, he did two clever things (apart from buying the rights). He gave the invention to GM to trial. No-brainer #1. After it was adopted by the great GM, instead of trying to become their sole supplier of Phillips screws, he sold licenses to every other screw manufacturer in the world. A little of a lot is worth a great deal more than a lot of a little + vulnerability (watch out Apple!). My gromble is abo

Would we pay more for their stuff?

I'm confused. Brexiters argue the Germans, Italians and French will still want to sell us their cars, so continued free trade with the UK is in their best interests. But we'll have to negotiate this (with an EU unwilling to make leaving easy) by threatening to make their cars more expensive for British people to buy. We'll do this because WE need to make imports more expensive to try to restore our balance of payments. Are Brits prepared to pay more for their Audis, Fiats and Renaults in order to make British cars more appealing, or do Brexiters want to pay more in order to punish them for taxing our insurance and banking products? Either way, imports will cost more. While in the EU, we buy their cars because we like the choice and don't want our own government to tax them. Indeed it would be better for British car manufacturing if we went back to the good old days of being encouraged to buy cheaper British cars (made by foreign owned factories). Is that what Brexite

Addictions. Porn, Drugs, Alcohol and Sex. Don't prevent it, make it safer.

In 1926 New York, during Prohibition, 1,200 people were poisoned by whiskey containing small quantities of wood alcohol (methanol). Around 400 died, the rest were blinded. The methanol they drank was in the moonshine they had bought illegally. In fact it had been added by law to industrial ethanol in order to make it undrinkable. Prohibition existed to protect everyone from the 'evils of the demon drink'. However, people still wanted to enjoy alcohol. So bootleggers bought cheap industrial alcohol and attempted to distill it to remove the impurities the state had added, but the process wasn't regulated. The state was inadvertently responsible for the suffering - although it was easy for them to blame the bootleggers and to justify escalating the war. This didn't stop the bootleggers. In fact it forced them to become more violent to protect their operations, and even less cautious about their production standards. Volumes of illicit alcohol, and therefore proportionat