Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Don't Forget Dial-Up

In this modern era, the days of dial-up internet are fading fast for most people. It seems that almost everyone has the high-speed these days, which lets them do incredible things online. It is a useful tool, and something I would like to get someday, but at present it is beyond my reach.

Yes, I still use dial-up. I expect that puts me in the minority (at least in the industrialized world), but there are several factors that keep me tied to the antiquated form of internet access.

The first issue is my location. There are no lines capable of delivering high-speed to my home, or my town. We are somewhat behind the times in sleepy little Robbinston. The cable lines end at the town line on either side, so we are a dead zone. That's not the worst of it. Even if someday this town gets high-speed lines, I'm half a mile off the main highway, so I suspect the company running the upgraded lines would skip me. It wouldn't be financially sound for them to run half a mile of line just for me.

There is satellite internet service, which gets me to my second factor: cost. Yes, it might be possible for me to have a satellite internet connection, but to do that I'd need to spend money, and at present I have limited funds. Not only would I need to upgrade my computer equipment, I would end up spending more than twice what I currently pay for the monthly service. If some book publisher showed up on my doorstep to hand me a nice, fat advance, I'd be able to upgrade. Or maybe some studio would like to turn The Rogue Investigations into a television series? Nah, I don't see that happening anytime soon. So, I'm stuck.

The third factor ties both of my first two factors together, and it's something I can't even know for certain until the day I spring for satellite internet. There are a lot of "dead zones" around here, where a connection to the satellite is impossible. There could be a hill or a patch of trees in the way that would block my ability to get high-speed. This possibility is another thing which dampens my eagerness to invest in new equipment. I might spend a bunch of money and find out it's of no use, after all.

Dial up is my gift and my curse. On the plus side, my system seems to be too slow to catch most of the modern viruses (or maybe I'm just lucky). On the downside, there are a lot of things I can't do. Downloads take forever, and don't even think about watching media. Youtube is impossible to access, and even audio stuff is tricky. Sites with a lot of graphics take a long time to load, and there are some I simply don't visit because of the insane amount of time it takes to view them. Even Facebook is trouble now and then.

Someday I will be liberated from the sluggishness of my internet connection, but not today. I hope somebody remembers those of us who have fallen through the cracks on the internet superhighway.

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