Tuesday, November 21, 2006

He's Murdering Time! Off With His Head!

The Mad Hatter once admonished the young Alice, "If you knew Time as well as I do, you wouldn't talk about wasting him." The poor fellow must have been under a curse quite terrible; it is always time for tea.

Every one of us has most probably suffered such a curse, at one point or another. I'm sure there'd be those of you who might be complaining that for them, it is always "time to hurry" because there is "not much time," which is probably why greetings have evolved from "Hello," or "Good day," into, "Bah! It's about Time!" Surely, more than one person wishes that Time would turn back its hands, reverse its sands or, at the very least, stop in its tracks.

We are all victims of time, that much we can be sure of, and, until we figure out a way to slow down the progress of time without involving near-light speeds, we just pretty much have to surrender ourselves to our fate. The only thing we can do to alleviate our sufferings is figure out a way to speed things up, while we still can't slow down time.

All in all, our efforts were not all that bad. After all, our microwaves can zap meals in an alarming fraction of the time it took our ancestors to boil water in a log fire. Our SMS messages, IM's and emails reach their destination in a matter of seconds, or minutes, at most, when the fastest our predecessors had took hours using the Pony Express or even days, by carrier pigeons. Maglev trains, light rail and jets have rendered wagon trains a thing of the past, if not completely obsolete.

Not all of humanity, however, had been able to benefit from this evolution of technology. While I am also tempted to share my opinions concerning the more traditional methods of cooking employed by our unfortunate brethren in impoverished areas, allow me to be selfish enough to rant about dialup connections.

In my world, before there was WiFi, there was DSL and before there was DSL, there was dialup. Sad to say, I am still on dialup, which probably means I live in an uncomfortably small world after all. True, broadband Internet connections have been available to a wide range of users but, for us who live in the periphery known as the suburban, we often suffer the lack of these tempting services.

A local mobile phone carrier once advertised on TV that its WiFi has the "nationwidest" coverage. I am not inclined to agree or disagree, however, I would like to point out that they have failed to add the "unfeasible in certain areas" clause. We attempted to avail of this service, unfortunately, we had too much taller structures nearby so we'd only get the same connection speed as dialup, if not slower. The technician had kindly explained that their antenna needed a line of sight with their "cell sites" in order to provide us the speed promised by their advert. Up 'til now, though, I was wondering why they placed our nearest cell site on lower ground.

We would have gladly welcomed a DSL connection but it was not offered in our area. Augh! The price we had to pay for a relatively quiet, peaceful and serene environment: longer and more tiring travel time, frequent disruption in phone services and now, lack of access to certain "luxuries".

Nonetheless, I am more than content with my dialup connection. They say you only know how much something is worth when it is taken away from you. Considering the fact that unscrupulous individuals pilfer great lengths of phone cable ever and anon, suffice to say that I am constantly reminded that a slow connection is better than no connection at all. Besides, it is also probably a wiser choice. See, my parents did not subscribe for cable TV, in order to limit the shows available to us. In effect, it also limits the amount of time we spend in front of the TV: a decision I am thankful to my parents for. Analogously, dialup also restricts my access to sites whose content I don't really need.

The angst, however, kicks in when the sites whose contents I do need, consume high bandwidth. It appears that ever since Web 2.0, almost all the sites people go to cater only to users with broadband access. It does irk me when a close acquaintance asks me to visit a page, which, more of than not, is a large page in YouTube. I have nothing against YouTube, except for the fact that it caters to broadband users. I often find myself rolling my eyes at sites that are flashy enough to be attractive yet also large enough that I'd have to wait more than 30 seconds for the page to load. Most of the time, I find myself clicking the Stop button.

Really, it's as though the whole world is comprised only of broadband users. We, dialup users, have been forgotten as a minority. Large file sizes, tons of graphics and fancy animation do not necessarily make good sites.

Here in the Philippines, we have a saying, "Ang di lumingon sa pinanggalingan, di rin makararating sa paroroonan." (He/she who fails to look back from whence he/she came shall also fail to reach wherever he/she would go) I would be sure to remember that saying when developing web pages. I would never forget that there once was a time in my life, when I had a slow Internet connection.

Might I add, that time is now.

The young hare zooms to the buffet
and returns more than thrice a day.
The aged turtle takes steps so slow,
and so do I, that much I know.

1 comment:

mbacarra said...

however, I would like to point out that they have failed to add the "unfeasible in certain areas" clause.
-- of course they won't say that on advertisements. consumers would probably be confused and not buy the service anymore.

well, if it helps, some users start off from dial-up. and whenever some annoying person steals the dsl connection and uses it for himself for almost the entire day, i could still come back to dial-up. the speed isn't really an issue for me. after all, i only surf on a limited number of websites, dial-up or dsl. the only difference is i'm able to download faster on dsl.

See, my parents did not subscribe for cable TV, in order to limit the shows available to us. In effect, it also limits the amount of time we spend in front of the TV...
----which is true. our cable connection got disconnected some time ago, and despite me missing my favorite cooking shows on lifestyle network, i could still live on local networks. there's still some "decent" shows that could be found on local stations, so watching during primetime isn't really a problem.