Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Internet 101

I hope I'm not putting my proverbial foot in my mouth @ 1 a.m., but here goes nothin' . . . as far as the $/byte, I'm not exactly sure what we're talking about? I'm not computer illiterate, but I also don't have very much background (and I also use a Mac, which presents its own unique problems--and pleasures) in cybertechnology. For example, I never used Napster. I love iTunes, but don't really know how to use all its features, and btw, what the hell is a podcast???

Here's how I see the situation from my own (strictly consumer) perspective: I was a chump who paid $20-23/mo. for AOL dial-up service from 1998 until probably 2000, when I was offered DSL through my local phone co. for a free trial. After the free trial I was hooked like a crackhead, and there was no way I was going back to dial-up (especially when DSL was only about $10 more!). My DSL service, however, was unreliable, which led me to cancel it (they can never hold you to those contracts). I went back to dial-up, but did most of my online chores from my office at Rutgers, where they had some kind of ridiculously hi-speed connection (T1 maybe?) This is the part where I get confused.

Fast forward to THE CABLE MODEM. I was told that Road Runner was the fastest connection you could ever have at home--bulls**t! I only went for it because I thought it would be simple, and Time Warner made me a really sweet deal to bundle everything with my cable bill (can't miss the Soprano's--if they're ever on). Long story short, Road Runner sucked, it was slow and unreliable. When I moved, I disconnected it, and for some reason Time Warner is claiming I still owe a bunch of money (for an unreturned disposable modem that I sent them a receipt for). They won't go away!

Now I'm back to DSL because I have DirecTV (which requires a land line), for which I pay about $30/mo. Supposedly I have the "pro" package, and the service is decent, but it's not real fast. I have no clue how many bytes/second I get, etc. Apparently one of my neighbors has a wireless network, and I'd like to just tap into theirs, but then I would be dependent on them anytime I need to get online. I really can't afford this crap, but I can't spend every hour down @ the law school either. Any ideas?

I can add this regarding ISP's around the globe: In Egypt Internet access is free. They post access numbers on billboards, and people use 'em to get online. And they're free. But they're slow, and oftentimes you can't even get online because the lines are busy. Granted that's Egypt, but if they're getting access for free, why can't the U.S.?


Blogger Edward Lee said...

I'm not an expert on this, although I've had plenty of problems of my own. If you are using a wireless modem at home, that could be a source of the problem as opposed to the DSL connection itself. I'm not sure what glitches you are referring to, though.

Also, you should know that Mac laptops are typically a tad slower in Internet browsing to begin with. The new Mac laptops with Intel chips may help out, but I haven't tested them yet.

9:03 AM  
Blogger ed said...

Also there are some things on your computer (at least on IBMs, not a clue about the mac realm) you can do to optimize your DSL speed, by tweaking certain settings.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "method of service" dilemma is something sweeping across the county as computer speeds increase. There are positives and negatives to all methods of service, but each has its merits as well.

Dial-Up: Sure, its by far the slowest of the options available nowadays, but this is the only option that allows universal access. Any phone line, any place, any time, will get you to the internet.

Cable: Although this can be an extremely fast connection (up to 500kb/sec), it is at the mercy of your neighborhood's cable grid. If bandwidth is a pie, and every user is guaranteed a slice, the more users, the smaller the slice. Thus, slower connectivity is common in highly populated areas, or those likely to have more people online (campus, etc.)

DSL: Ever since AT&T got rid of party-lines back in the 50s-60s, we all have a dedicated phone line. This means your bandwidth is not dependent on your neighbors, only on your wallet. Although this has the possibility of being faster than cable, ISPs have a business model that makes them more expensive than cable for the same speed, although this is a guaranteed speed.

As far as Macs go, I doubt that you actually are experiencing any difference from a PC. Unless the computer is extremely outdated, Macs are known for efficiency and speed.

Also, I just wanted to note that although I can't find any information on Egypt in particular, Africa has about 23 mil internet users, where US has approx 180-200 mil, depending on the source. With almost 10 times the usage, I can see it being cost prohibitive, although I definitely like the idea of community networking.

9:55 PM  
Blogger jeonghowi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:47 AM  
Blogger jeonghowi said...

I would like to add my experience on the internet service.

I used DSL when I was in South Korea. Although it was somewhat fast and its price was reasonable (about $25-30/month) compared to dial-up, the most serious problem was its unstability of connection. I had a number of times of disconnection while I was surfing the Interenet. Further, I had to click the icon to have my computer connected. Sometimes I had to tried several time to conncect. It was annoying! Athough I am not sure whether its quality has improved, as I know, DSL is still prevails over cable in Korea.

When I came in the States, I chose Road Runner and have used it so far. I have been pretty much satisfied with the cable internet, except its price, since I don't need to click the icon to connect and its service is stable.

But, I am just wondering whether there is someone in the class who used both and makes some comments?

10:49 AM  

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