Monday, August 20, 2007

No one would riot for less

I am getting frustrated. Seriously frustrated.

Still no delivery of Bad Monkeys from Amazon. It's been stuck in limbo (or "Transit" as UPS calls it) between Guam and Yap for two weeks. All due to Continental Airlines showing their muscles by delaying delivery.

Also - the skies are gray...

I don't mind the lack of sunshine - we do get enough of that here - but really cloudy skies means bad communications. It messes with the satellite signals that carries all our telephony and internet traffic.

And believe me, our internet connections are real bad even at their best.

We have a 64 kbit up and 64 kbit down connection at the hotel. Some of you who have been around since the modem era might think "Hey, that's not too bad". But: First - this connection is shared between a number of hotel staff and hotel guests; Second - we pay 400 dollars per month for it; Third, and most importantly - this is 64 kbit going over satellite. Twice.

To reach any continent, all our communications have to first go by satellite to Pohnpei, the central island/state in Micronesia, and then by another satellite hop to the US or Asia and only then it starts hopping it's way to the rest of the world.

For those of you that understand latency, I'll just say that average ping times to any server in the US or Europe is 1.2 seconds... For those of you that don't, I'll just put it like this - not only is our internet connection slow, anything going over it also has to travel about 10 times farther than what you are used to. We are virtually halfway to the moon here.

Not that I should complain. I recently met a guy who was teaching people in the Yap outer islands to use IT. They have to use a shared unreliable 2.4 kbit radio connection to the main island before even getting on our dual satellite hop super highway...

I'll get back to that subject - how different islands in the Pacific will suffer or prosper depending on how far from the bitpipe they are - in a later post.

Meanwhile, the good news - apparently it was not an isolated incident that the first episodes of the new season of Weeds showed up on the net weeks before the official season kickoff. The first episodes of Dexter are also available, even though the season premiere isn't until September.

Has Showtime eventually realized that using the net is better than refusing the net?

The bad news - that internet connection I was talking about... downloading 300 MB TV series episodes as torrents over it... not a good idea. The actual downloading is not too bad, it just takes a few days, but during those days it almost kills the internet connection for everyone else sharing that 64 kbit...

That said... the first seasonal episodes of Weeds are great!

Oh, and as I am already whining - yesterday I bit half a tooth off. Or rather - yesterday I bit off the filling that I got the last time I bit half a tooth off...

While your dentist might not be at the top of your list of things you think you will miss on a Pacific Island, it sure is on mine now...

Patrik

3 comments:

Niklas said...

That's really an interesting subject. Prosperity measured by proximity to bandwidth. On the other hand this begs the question "What the hell is prosperity". Before I start on a rant that makes me sound like a descendant to the asshole Rosseau (never could stand the bastard and his Theory of the Natural Man which has done more harm to the part of the world formerly known as the third than a whole regiment of drunken british redcoats could manage in an eternal afternoon with no breaks for tea. Ever.) I would just like to note that perhaps increasing distance from the bitpipe is something that signifies something else, something that is a valuable resource if (and only if) you can monetize it properly. Oh well, interesting subject nevertheless. Go on and write it diveboy.

Patrik Nilsson said...

You can not monetize it properly. No more than you can monetize distance from food or distance from air properly. Even people who are willing to pay to "get away from it all" do realize that there are some obvious exclusions to "all". And access to the bitpipe is quickly becoming one of them. And even if they did not, the people making sure that they are comfortable "away from it all" increasingly depend on the bitpipe to do their jobs well.

Filtering the bitpipe to keep it to a minimum is a different thing though...

Niklas said...

This is, I think, a temporary situation. Perhaps more temporary than we think. Even though we tend to think in terms of 6 months and 2 years it's hard for us to envision what will happen from a global infrastructure perspective on a longer timescale. Seriously, just look at our own personal connectivity requirements as they have evolved from 1994 and onwards. From 9.6 modems to (soon) FTH. All this is in 13 years. Distance to bitpipe will, I fear, become a non-issue for even the most remote places fairly soon I think. It may not be the most efficient bitpipe. But it will be there and it will get better. (If someone could just sort out causal channels really quickly that would certainly resolve any stupid issues related to geographical distance. Related to that I got an interesting idea re causal channels but we can cover that elsewhere)