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      CommentAuthordaniel
    • CommentTimeJul 30th 2008
     (3145.1)
    Really enjoying the future of internet discussions...thought I'd throw another into the mix. Though, I'm guessing it may not mean much to a lot of you given how far ahead many countries are of my little backwater - rural Australia...

    So, I live in the country. Stereotyped Australian Bush - Kanagaroo's on our orchard site, Possums eating from the chock pen, gum trees, black sky smudged by the the milky way...my boys love it.

    But...

    Best I can get is an ADSL connection - 1.5mbps...and after it maks it's way through all those wires bst downloads I can get are 100kbps.

    My experience of the internet is therefore different to others.

    For example - I can't watch a YouTube or flv file straight off the desktop - either have to use an flv downloader or wait for the thing to download before pressing play.

    My access to large files and bg time information/data exchange just can't happen and at times I feel constrained by it.

    Similar to the new iPhone craze - in australia to get adequate bandwidth quotas you need to pay a small fortune...and it seems to me that the future is all about connectivity - how fast is your bandwidth and how much can you download at what price...

    It seems to me that infrastructure will play a big role (as I'm experience) and also cost will play a big part.

    Could it be if information isn't really going to be the new currency, or if it is, the people who can afford to access it quicker, and acces more of it than others will have greater power and influence?

    We all want to think the internet and new media is this democratising force, but it seems that in its own way it excludes a whole bunch of people, in exactly te same way exisiting systems do.

    A friend doing a PhD on International Development loves to tell me "It is all about the land" - meaning, control of the land means control of where you can sleep, what you can grow to eat - land ownership provides stability to do other things...to form a base, a commnity etc...

    It seems to me that "bandwidth" is the "land" of cyberspace...

    thoughts?
    • CommentAuthormlpeters
    • CommentTimeJul 30th 2008
     (3145.2)
    Hmm. Rural Australia has a better connection than rural America? Interesting.

    I know what you mean though - -if you're stuck in a rural area the promises of the web ring a little hollow.
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      CommentAuthordaniel
    • CommentTimeJul 30th 2008
     (3145.3)
    well. there you go. making my assumpions again...you means in america the ground isn't made of fibre optic cable?

    but yeah. it is a case of "connected to the world"....but really "lagging" behind...literally.

    and...i think the cost thing will become more significant for urban dwellers too...not to mention the impact of national invesements in infrastructure and the impact on some countries.
    • CommentAuthormlpeters
    • CommentTimeJul 30th 2008 edited
     (3145.4)
    Nope -- streets in the US aren't paved with gold either (or I'd be out creating some potholes with a knife).

    My connection says it can do 26.4Kbs, but I think that's modem speed or something... When I'm actually downloading anything, it's more like 3.17kbs.

    Though cost would be an issue -- I'd pay more than I do for a better connection. My ISP, AT&T and another major provider all confirmed there isn't anything better than standard dial-up available out here. I was told I'm to far away from a hub for any sort of high-speed connection through telephone lines. Cable TV doesn't reach out here either, sop that possibility is out. I even checked out that radio/cell phone internet card thing that, you know, what folks vacationing in mountains and explorers use -- "not available in your area". I'm in Michigan -- only 7 miles from Reed City - -not exactly outer Mongolia! It's insane.

    The only high-speed option is satellite, which doesn't work on my currently frugal budget and would necessitate chopping down a few dozen trees blocking southern exposure (which, I was told you needed in this area, for a satellite connection).

    I'm glad to have the internet and appreciate the link to the outside world, but as more and more sites are built or updated with high-speed in mind, I see a lot of "Internet Explorer could not connect..."
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      CommentAuthorrickiep00h
    • CommentTimeJul 30th 2008
     (3145.5)
    @mlpeters

    My parents live about 10 miles out of Fargo, ND, and they, too cannot get any higher than dialup. And the dialup that they DO get is pretty choppy in quality. The middle U.S. is a vast wasteland of fields and ranches, and farmers don't seem to think that the internet is that big of a deal. And providers aren't willing to put in the infrastructure for something that people don't "want."

    On topic:

    Information and access to it already are important currencies. People selling medical information, personal usage statistics, cell phone companies with call logs, credit card statements, and all other manner of personal information are worth a lot to people that would have use for such information. Access to the internet (good, fast access) may not be a top priority for millions of people--think of the vast undeveloped parts of Africa, Asia, etc.--but for people wishing to sell something, buy something, or control something, it means very definitely that who has control has power.

    One could say that many societies will be just fine without major high-speed access, and therefore won't have to pay for it, but they likely aren't paying for it now. If/when we ever get to the point that every single person in the world needs access 24/7 at ridiculously fast rates, then I can forsee some major issues. In fact, there's issues of throttling bandwidth now, and it's not even a MAJOR issue yet. The ability to restrict both access and content can make for a major headache, but I don't know that it will necessarily be the biggest issue facing ISPs or users in the next decade. In order to really abuse that power, I think there needs to be a consolidation of corporate power/influence/size, and an expansion in reach to get to previously inaccessible areas.

    Really, I don't think it's a new concept. The CIA and NSA and all the various intel agencies for the governments of the world have been dealing in informational currency for decades. It's just that now there's so much more information of every kind, and accessible in so many ways. The internet hasn't necessarily introduced new information to the system, but it made it a whole lot easier to access. For most people.
    • CommentAuthormlpeters
    • CommentTimeJul 30th 2008
     (3145.6)
    I WANT faster internet - -so do plenty of other people around here... the rest just want more beer and guns.

    I don't agree that it's a question of, "providers aren't willing to put in the infrastructure for something that people don't "want."' so much as they don't want the expense for the small return such sparsely populated areas would bring. Rural areas didn't get mail delivery, electricity or telephones without government investment -- I doubt universally available high-speed internet is any different in what it would require, but the times are very different.

    Michigan is sort of like your folks' ND place, except instead of fields and ranches we have trees, old rusted-out autos and house trailers:) ... and more trees. Did I mention the trees?
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      CommentAuthordaniel
    • CommentTimeJul 30th 2008
     (3145.7)
    A certain Dr Louis Arnoux has always interested me...he went through his "peak oil and over consumption" phase in the late 70s and has since modelled a whole range of "possible futures" -in doing so, he is right into wireless - see: http://www.indranet.co.nz/technology/
    • CommentAuthorKradlum
    • CommentTimeJul 31st 2008
     (3145.8)
    A certain Dr Louis Arnoux has always interested me...he went through his "peak oil and over consumption" phase in the late 70s and has since modelled a whole range of "possible futures" -in doing so, he is right into wireless - see: http://www.indranet.co.nz/technology/


    Hmmm... The hazards of putting stuff on the internet without a date: "Real broadband begins at 2Mb/s [...] at a cost only a few can afford (typically over $500/month". I get (nominally) 4Mb/s for (nominally) free here in London as it is bundled in my TV/phone package. I don't pay any extra for internet, and I wouldn't pay any less if I wasn't using it.

    Is there a law for the internet that says content expands to fill the bandwidth available to it? If not there should be. Far too many sites rely on flash nowadays where simple HTML (via whatever back end you like) would suffice and far too many designers forget that a lot of the world is still on dial up and don't include the "skip [stupid flash] intro" and "text only" options on their sites.
    • CommentAuthortmofee
    • CommentTimeJul 31st 2008
     (3145.9)
    In Australia there was a law passed a while back that every person should have the ability to have access to high speed broadband. at the time, "high speed" meant 512 k from a satellite connection if you were rural, but the prices were lower for these people who couldn't get traditional adsl as well. These days with the 3G modems it's getting easier, as long as you're in a reception zone.

    My town (Mildura) is still not on the ADSL +2 list yet, though they've been promising it for god knows how long now. I've got 1.5 - Internode says I can go a little faster with ADSL "plus", but I don't really know how well it would work in Mildura anyway. Besides, I have no problem with youtube, Hulu is a pain, but that's the software proxy I use.
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      CommentAuthorWillow Bl00
    • CommentTimeJul 31st 2008 edited
     (3145.10)
    When talking about overcoming the current status quo, access and ability are the two main issues when it comes to The Future (at least so far as I can tell). Because it costs money to gain both of these, we're just recreating the socioeconomic heirarchy we had before. Except that some of the rich don't care, and some of the poor figure out how to hack in.

    I agree that broadband is the new 'land' .. it's less finite than physical space, however, and more adaptable (if we don't put arbitrary, money-making contraints on it).


    And now to go on a bit of a tangent. I like the idea of speed being the issue. (Well, it doesn't make my heart warm and fuzzy, but it does give me a stable point to start off of. You know what I mean). They've done studies with people who do graphic design where the response time and accuracy of the program was directly corrolated to creativity levels. Which is to say, if the program you're using does exactly what you want as you do it, you're much more capable creatively. Chalk it up to not having to deal with the delay or readjusting to where you want things.
    So if we extrapolate this idea to other types of creativity: writing, animating, etc... even researching (you have to be creative to research well), the faster your connection the better off you are because it's closer to moving at the same rate your brain is.


    ..oh man, I'm so glad these discussions have started back up. Brain juices flowing!
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      CommentAuthordaniel
    • CommentTimeJul 31st 2008 edited
     (3145.11)
    And now to go on a bit of a tangent. I like the idea of speed being the issue. (Well, it doesn't make my heart warm and fuzzy, but it does give me a stable point to start off of. You know what I mean). They've done studies with people who do graphic design where the response time and accuracy of the program was directly corrolated to creativity levels. Which is to say, if the program you're using does exactly what you want as you do it, you're much more capable creatively. Chalk it up to not having to deal with the delay or readjusting to where you want things.


    Do you have a link to that research? Sounds great. That is exactly what I mean by bandwidth...the speed at which you can function is important...especially in regards to creative processes actually taking place in an online environment. For example, I have not explored the potential of narrative in Second Life because of the lag - no point - but I am fascinated with the idea ever since I heard about it (i write...hence narrative and story obsession).

    I think it also limits the evolution of the internet as a whole. In Australia there are lots of debates going on about technology and education...the new government is offering laptops to be used in classrooms to all senior high school students...this of course brings out the old "technology vs human" interaction debate - and very few are considering that the two are mutually exclusive. We need to get the kids using and engage with these tools and with the best tools so they can progress all this tech stuff further. It is really in its infancy. I mean, in 5-10 years social networking as we know it now will look archaic, I'm sure - I don't care what the next Facebook, MySpace or Twitter is - I want to know what the one is 10 versions down the track. We can't even imagine it - that is up to kids who are in primary school now - and if we give them the tools and the right knowledge and skills - we can turn the interwebnet thing into something more than just another place to sell stuff!
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      CommentAuthorthom_wong
    • CommentTimeJul 31st 2008
     (3145.12)
    Apparently connections in Japan are 10x as fast for half the price over North American ones. Anyone in Japan can confirm this?
    • CommentAuthormlpeters
    • CommentTimeJul 31st 2008
     (3145.13)
    What I worry about is that in 5-10 years time, I'll still be stuck with the same crummy dial-up and... my home computer will only be useful for non-internet applications (scanning art, typing scripts, etc.) and I'll be having to drive 7 miles to the library (something I already do on occasion, for sites that aren't dial-up friendly, like myspace) for an internet connection that has any practical application.

    Whatever happened to the idea that with the internet you can live anywhere and stay as connected as anyone else? I guess it got shelved with all the other idealistic egalitarian ideas that weren't deemed profitable enough.
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      CommentAuthordaniel
    • CommentTimeJul 31st 2008
     (3145.14)
    What I worry about is that in 5-10 years time, I'll still be stuck with the same crummy dial-up


    Yeah...but what if a whole bunch of people embraced this concept...started layering the whole thing - so you get a whole layer of the web that is driven by gif images, small file sizes and the like...you don't need HD video and crazy big apps to be creative and provide people with what they need - which is connection to information...

    Now - there is the seed for a story idea...digital revolutionaries - leading the charge with their 56K modems...creating some grand virus that corrupts the upper layers, high end, high speed internet - while maintaining their own simplified coding and ifnromation exchange models...

    We have the slow food movement, maybe all those people preserving C64s and creating emulators are part of the "slow tech" movement...maybe there is a place for slower bandwith...it makes us appreciate it more...forces us to be creative with what we have - though this doesn't correlate with the research mentioned earlier in the thread.

    Interesting ideas. Plus, driving to the library? Or riding a horse given peak oil?
    • CommentAuthormlpeters
    • CommentTimeJul 31st 2008
     (3145.15)
    @daniel
    People aren't building websites in tiers and are unlikely to start. Hell, as an artist, I'd wait a half hour for a good scan of a truly wonderful work of art - - just not for some stupid flash ad also on the site...


    "Plus, driving to the library? Or riding a horse given peak oil? "

    Heh... well, if you rode a horse, you'd still have to bring in the grain -- and if you went from tractors back to mule driven contraptions for that... hay and grain would be impossibly expensive, unles the global economy completely disappeared.

    Horses and other farm animals take a lot more effort to care for in real life than they do in the movies. I find nothing quaintly cool or romantic about mucking out a barn.
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      CommentAuthorJehrot
    • CommentTimeJul 31st 2008
     (3145.16)
    Perhaps a piece of software that intelligently downscales bandwidth hungry sites on the fly could be useful?
    • CommentAuthormlpeters
    • CommentTimeJul 31st 2008
     (3145.17)
    @Jehrot

    I dunno -- would you want or trust your ISP to employ such software? ...And if you're looking for photo reference (if you're an artist), or porn (if you're human), would you want tiny jpegs all the time -- sometimes a wait is worth it.

    Still, if you're on dial-up, you're left completely out of the youtube streaming video (and even a lot of audio, since, assuming everyone has broadband, many sites have upgraded their stream - - can't listen to NPR programs online like I used to).

    The point is about some people getting left behind, or kicked to the curb, as technology advances. I don't see how a special scaled down internet is anything but a poor substitute.
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      CommentAuthorallana
    • CommentTimeJul 31st 2008
     (3145.18)
    @ Jehrot, that idea could definitely be developed. you could always build in options to enlarge/redefine certain data by request, contrary to what mlpeters says. the real issue is reformatting flash/shockwave content - splash pages can be skipped entirely but sites built entirely in it are usually just flat pages and links anyways, which could pretty easily be reformatted into html if they didn't want all that stupid dynamic-button-transition-animation shit (though automatically recognizing that might take some work). (and anything you can do with that is about to be replaced by clever CSS and a bit of javascript, anyways.) the point is, do it.

    @daniel, that movement exists still, in IRC. low-tech information available to everyone smart enough to find it! omg!
    but if you can find me some C64 monitors cheap, i'd appreciate it....


    half-aside: my father's been bugging the chamber of commerce of my hometown to put in fibre-optic cable pipes (not even the cables, just a channel for them to eventually be fed through) when we dig up the main street (yes, there's only one) for sewer repairs this year. they refused, even though the government will probably pay for the pipes as part of a grant program. wouldn't even apply. even places that COULD have decent connections, and cheap, don't yet understand the significance.