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September 2015 Newsletter Bookmark

Cloudy Weather

Around here over the past year there has been a lot of thick, orange cable getting placed in the ground. I watched as it was laid alongside the roads by digging ditches and unreeling it or by a DitchWitch horizontal boring machine would do about 250 feet underground without any ditch at all. It was fiber optic cable with 192 strands of glass and I’ve been lusting after the possibility of getting just one tiny fiber to my computer.

I was just a half mile away from the glassy paradise, but it might as well have been a hundred miles. That’s called the Last Mile problem in the industry. It was being laid to supply high speed internet to a string of hotels and motels along the road, but that Last Mile was only going away from me.

I’ve got pretty good internet now over wireless and 10 megabits up and down is something I’ve come to rely on. That used to be what we had to and from a server inside our office using an old Ethernet cable and now it’s just there, in the air. But, as is always the case in the computer business, I would like to have more.

The problem is “The Cloud”. For the last year or so, I’ve been hooked on storing all my ‘stuff’ in the cloud. I’ve uploaded almost three terra bytes to some unknown place in the Cloud. I really don’t care where, all I care about is that the Cloud promises to keep it safe and secure and backed up as long as I pay for my service. So it’s always there, someplace safe, in the Cloud.

It took me several months to transmit all that data to the Cloud, but over time I slowly got it uploaded and I came to really appreciate how much data there is in three terabytes. I was actually lucky because my wireless internet provider lets me use all the bandwidth there is when I’m uploading and since most internet data is downloaded, I had lots of 30 megabits per second uploads to the cloud. That’s fast.

Of course, data in the Cloud is useless unless you can get to it. And there’s the rub. My download speed is pretty good and I get a consistent 6 to 10 megabits a second, but when I need something it’s usually in 10 or 30 gigabyte chunks and that can be 10 hours to download. And it’s even longer in practice because the downloads are stopped and started between each file and that cuts my speed by about a third. So my 30 gigabyte download will take more than 13 hours.

I’m reminded of the old joke about a write only storage device for backup. I was just a brick. You could quickly write anything to it, but it was “write only” so you couldn’t read it. With the Cloud, I can read it but it’s as slow as a brick. I know that analogy doesn’t really work but it’s just so slow when I need gigabytes and I want them now!

So that’s why I want just one tiny, little fiber of glass coming into my computer. Maybe if I moved into one of those hotels? I wouldn’t have to mow the lawn either!



Read Full September 2015 Newsletter

Cloudy Weather

Around here over the past year there has been a lot of thick, orange cable getting placed in the ground. I watched as it was laid alongside the roads by digging ditches and unreeling it or by a DitchWitch horizontal boring machine would do about 250 feet underground without any ditch at all. It was fiber optic cable with 192 strands of glass and I’ve been lusting after the possibility of getting just one tiny fiber to my computer.

I was just a half mile away from the glassy paradise, but it might as well have been a hundred miles. That’s called the Last Mile problem in the industry. It was being laid to supply high speed internet to a string of hotels and motels along the road, but that Last Mile was only going away from me.

I’ve got pretty good internet now over wireless and 10 megabits up and down is something I’ve come to rely on. That used to be what we had to and from a server inside our office using an old Ethernet cable and now it’s just there, in the air. But, as is always the case in the computer business, I would like to have more.

The problem is “The Cloud”. For the last year or so, I’ve been hooked on storing all my ‘stuff’ in the cloud. I’ve uploaded almost three terra bytes to some unknown place in the Cloud. I really don’t care where, all I care about is that the Cloud promises to keep it safe and secure and backed up as long as I pay for my service. So it’s always there, someplace safe, in the Cloud.

It took me several months to transmit all that data to the Cloud, but over time I slowly got it uploaded and I came to really appreciate how much data there is in three terabytes. I was actually lucky because my wireless internet provider lets me use all the bandwidth there is when I’m uploading and since most internet data is downloaded, I had lots of 30 megabits per second uploads to the cloud. That’s fast.

Of course, data in the Cloud is useless unless you can get to it. And there’s the rub. My download speed is pretty good and I get a consistent 6 to 10 megabits a second, but when I need something it’s usually in 10 or 30 gigabyte chunks and that can be 10 hours to download. And it’s even longer in practice because the downloads are stopped and started between each file and that cuts my speed by about a third. So my 30 gigabyte download will take more than 13 hours.

I’m reminded of the old joke about a write only storage device for backup. I was just a brick. You could quickly write anything to it, but it was “write only” so you couldn’t read it. With the Cloud, I can read it but it’s as slow as a brick. I know that analogy doesn’t really work but it’s just so slow when I need gigabytes and I want them now!

So that’s why I want just one tiny, little fiber of glass coming into my computer. Maybe if I moved into one of those hotels? I wouldn’t have to mow the lawn either!



Read Full September 2015 Newsletter



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