For want of a bandwidth

One Day. Back to gym. Strange podcast. Had to do with what aliens would look like on different planets. About half sciencey and half fictioney. Barely diverting.

But I did get to cogitate on the question of national bandwidth. As such things go, Amerika is a third world country. The only places worse are the ones solely dependent on cellular. 

This is one of the differences between hinterland and cities. By and large the cities have more bandwidth than the boonies. Not enough, but better. Otherwise why would Chattanooga be trying to install city broadband?

It occurred to me that this has an enormous social/cultural influence. I have abysmal bandwidth. Scant choices in Greater Metropolitan Arab and the town conscript parents are oblivious. Or in denial. Not sure which.

But because of that trickle I have to do things differently than if I had plenty. Most internet things take a bit of planning. Like when to do updates. But perhaps more important is that I tend to use stand-along clients rather than web applications.

Take email. I log on to web mail once a day, just to prune the SPAM filter. The rest of the time I use an email client. That stutters a lot because of the shallow bandwidth. I can see the SPAM folder with it, but the email provider only pays attention if I go on web to prune the filter. And since their SPAM filter is rather too enthusiastic, with an 0.8+ false positive fraction, I am encouraged thereby to go on web.

I keep hearing noise about the wonders of the internet. Access to lots of (mostly false or inaccurate) information. No need for any sophisticated OS or clients, just browser access. …

But not in the hinterland. That’s not possible. Because of the bandwidth. Instead we have to basically act like we did in the old days of 300 baud modems.

No wonder our politics is whacked.

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