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Wednesday, 8 November 2017

'Copper Cage' is not always a prison

One of the joys of ISPs here is that they provide high-speed unlimited volume 3G / 4G net access for around €1 a day. One of the miseries is that, the cities apart, it's all delivered over the mobile network and is susceptible to weather events. So whilst the UK is still debating how to lay cables with enough bandwidth to allow people to download .jpgs in under a minute, they're rolling out 4G here even to the most remote and sparsely inhabited parts. Austria, about a third as densely populated as the UK, has used the mobile network to escape the copper cage to the extent that the domestic landline has become a thing of the past - even the oldies have dumped them in favour of 'handys'.  

However, our first 8" of snow of the year combined with trees that have not yet shed their brilliant autumn foliage has left us with no web for the past two days. The network crawled back into life this morning and my little Huawei cube is now glowing away wirelessly. Just a reminder that the copper cage is not always a prison - it can confer resilience. 

I am of an age that simply finds alternatives when the web is down. A dvd or cd, a pile of Christmas cards and a fountain pen are useful. Not storing anything digital you own on someone else's server is also a plus. However, the pub yesterday evening was a scene of demented and addicted compulsive phone users checking their dead  devices every few seconds, becoming tangibly angry and frustrated into drinking out of nihilism rather than conviviality, so dependent are they on continuous 3G access.

Is this the way of the future? Will they grow out of it? Can they learn from us before they implode? I have a feeling that as the webwar hots up such outages will become more and more frequent, and Russia and China will throw resources at trying to secure cyberdominance. If the phone-addicks don't learn to live with it they have a lot of suffering to endure.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember when we were assured by company IT head that the new 10 Megabyte hard drive would solve the email problem.
Years later I was amazed at the quantity of 'data' that a client wanted to archive, most of it single-page text-only stuff. Turns out that he had incorporated the highest resolution version of the organisations logo into every letter, making every one at least 10 meg!

We are so wastful of data capacity now and it all needs a significant amount of electricity to support it.

Dave_G said...


Internet access will go via satellite before too long and be global in every sense.

Contrariwise, the countries that develop the technologies tend to be the countries that fall behind the fastest (eventually) - the POTS (plain old telephone system) being a prime example of a communications system that the UK used 'to the death' whilst countries that didn't even have such simple systems bypassed the technology in favour of more modern wireless systems from the off.

As much as I enjoy the advantages of a digital world I am still rooted in hard copy and keep printed versions of knowledge (in many subjects) in my library. The well-touted EOTW scenario (a pessimistic viewpoint I'm loathed to acknowledge as a potential threat) may not come about but I know that a printed book will outlive a digital copy by centuries.

Where I live now we have seen car loads of youngsters stopping to ask us where they can go 'to get an internet signal'...... and are shocked speechless when I point and say '40 minutes in that direction' (as I'm too mean to share an open wi-fi network!)

Such are today's youth.... (and I confess to having the same type of attitude myself at that age - albeit for different technical reasons).

visc said...

3G / 4G has enough question marks over long term health effects, the rollout of 5G and its implications for health are completely untested. The brave new world techies (and govt who love the surveillance too) will blithey tell you the ICNIRP guidelines are safe(*) when they only look to see if you are being cooked as if in a microwave oven. Of course with higher power, lack of standards and different bandwidths 5G has this potential.

And thats before we look at the fact that many are unable to hold a conversation outside of a phone screen.

(*) whom ironically they have admitted the guidelines are not safety standards...

English Pensioner said...

What it does show is yet another reason for not storing your documents in the cloud or relying on programs like Google Docs.

Moose said...

I have missed your daily postings and was wondering WTF was going on...... phew! I never thought it might be that you were without internet. Soz.

My internet in rural France goes down on a regular basis, which is when I turn to a good book! But I do feel awfully cut off from the world..... and from my 2 daughters. As a fairly recent widow, I do NEED to feel in touch with them!

Gardener Fisher said...

I retirednto somerset 2 years ago and the mobiles do not work at home, which is bliss. I love no longer having to deal with clients who called at any time of the day or night demanding instant solutions. I no longer have urgent businessmso I scan what comes in on an iPad and then deal with it properly once a week on a laptop. It’s very like the old days when someone posted you a letter and then you answered it, I do mot re,ever the world being the worse for it. I used to do two week tours of the far east with no mobile or laptop, that did mean lugging a lot of paper so the data storage part of the modern world I do like.

The only problem with all,the profiles I have online is remembering all the different dates of birth and mothers maiden names that I have out there, truly my name is legion....