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

Introducing Product Relationship Management - it's what customers want.

Most businesses these days have Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems which store and process vasts amounts of information about us. They use this information to generate communications, amongst other things, which target us to buy their products and services. CRM is all about how a business relates to its customers: Past (keeping them loyal through aftersales and service), Present (helping them buy through bricks and clicks channels) and Future (prospecting). Most businesses will at some stage have declared themselves 'customer-centric'. They will probably have drawn diagrams on whiteboards that look something like these: But there's a problem with this whole approach of keeping the customer at the centre of your world and the focal point for everything you do. Is it what the customer wants ? Of course companies who ignore their customers eventually go out of business. And those who treat their customers well, tend to thrive. But is it really in the best inte

The Secrets of Hacker Golf

Social media is awash with professional golfers selling video training courses to help you perfect your swing, gain 50 yards on your drive and cut your handicap. They might help a few desperate souls, but the rest of us hackers already know everything we need to complete a round of golf without worrying the handicap committee or appearing on a competition winner's list. What those pros don't realise is that for us hacking golfers who very occasionally hit shots that if you hadn't seen how they were hit, end up where the pros might have put them, we already know everything we need to know - and more. Unlike pros who know how to time the perfect swing in order to caress a ball 350 yards down the centre of a fairway, we hackers need to assemble a far wider set of skills and know-how to complete 18 holes, about which pros have no comprehension, need, or desire to learn. Here are some of them: Never select your shot until after you've hit it. A variation on this is to alway