Missing Broadband

DSL at my new place is finally up and running. Just today - there was something wrong with the internal wires and they had to put a splitter outside to get the signal to work. I got home tonight and I'm flying. Thank goodness!

Dialing up at home made me feel like I was living in the 1990s again. If you haven't dialed in regularly for a few years like yours truly, you're really missing what it's like. It's an amazing step backwards. Well, in some ways. Many web sites that seem neat and useful, are insanely slow and essentially useless when using them via a dial-up connection (Flickr, Google Maps). But if you're just reading news on the web, have your mail open and connected to chat? It's amazing how you can forget sometimes that you're on a slow link.

The times when I would get annoyed is when I tried to open up a bunch of tabs at once in Firefox. Tabs are definitely a broadband innovation. I go through my Bloglines feeds hundreds at a time all opening up in one long window, then I scroll through and middle-click, middle-click, middle-click in Firefox to open up a bunch of stuff in the background. Once I'm done zipping through the long list, I go back and read the news stories that caught my eye more in depth later. This whole process *seems* like it would work fine on a dial up, since the tabs are being loaded in the background, but more times than not, I would arrive to the full-stories later and it just still hadn't loaded, the browser waiting for more info and the server having cut off the connection. I learned quickly to read my news in much smaller bites when dialing up.

The other annoyance was when I would read about a cool new Podcast that I wanted to download and listen to. Podcasting is definitely fully dependent on broadband. I had actually forgotten this part of the revolution. Obviously the extensions to RSS and prevalence of iPods helped, but really the key to Podcasting is the fact that you can download 40MB audio files in just a couple minutes. This is an impossiblity on dial up. So is iTunes in fact.

My TiVo is also connected wirelessly to my wireless router which is on broadband as well. I didn't feel like stringing a telephone wire over to the back of the TiVo, so even though I got cable up a couple days ago, I haven't had TiVo for a few days. And when I did connect? It downloaded another service update in just a few minutes. This would've taken a loooong time over the phone. Usually it happens overnight.

What else? Well, just the "instant on" quality that broadband gives you. Having to click to dial and and wait for the long connection cycle was a definite blast from the past (and not a good one). I really had forgotten how integrated into my life constant, always on, WiFi connectivity is like!

Ahh, connectivity.


Update: Good morning! I just woke up and checked my email and remembered another reason to love broadband: Thunderbird and email via IMAP. If you get tons of spam which passes SpamAssassin like I do, then I rely on Thunderbird to catch the rest of it with its spam filters. Well, in order to do that, it needs to examine each piece of mail and using IMAP that can take a *long* time over a dial-up if you get a bazillion pieces of crap in your inbox every day like yours truly.

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