Stoking the Unknown Wants

My internet is slow:

It also has 14% packet loss, for those what care about such things, so it is slow, and it stutters.

I didn’t know that my internet was slow until the recent foofaraw over internet caps in Canada. But now that I know that my internet is slow, I kind of want faster internet.

I have “high-speed” internet, DSL, provided by my local phone company. It costs me $40 per month, and has no caps on use. It’s bundled with my phone and includes a 5-cents-a-minute long distance rate. Pretty good deal, I guess. My phone bill never fluctuates by more than about $10 in a month, and is under $90 for phone, long distance and internet for our entire household of 9 people. It’s good enough, but the picture flickers on YouTube, and sometimes stalls for several minutes at a time, and I generally can’t watch a Vimeo video of any variety. (Does anybody know why that would be, BTW?) I assumed that this was par for the course, because I’m still caught up in the miracle of being able to access the data of the world through the skill of Google-fu: “Our movie is skipping? No problem, kids. I’m sure that somebody has uploaded that section of the movie… just let me check…” (Copyright infringement be damned. I paid for the thing, and now I want to see how it ends!) I didn’t know I’d been left in the dust, because a) whoa! I can watch streaming news out of Egypt! and b) I still optimize my web images for 56 k. Old habits die hard.

But now that I know that there is something “better” (or at least faster) out there, I have this nagging feeling that I’m missing out. I don’t know that my life would be materially improved by faster internet at the increased expense of $50, with caps, so I’ll live without Vimeo for a while yet. The problem is, every time I find a part of the internet which doesn’t work on my slow connection, I will know that other people get to look at those. On the other hand, I can access the accumulated knowledge of the world from this shed that doesn’t even have wires for less than what I spend on coffee in a month. Maybe that is good enough.

Note that the laptop is plugged into an inverter. You can see the battery under the desk. I should probably make that a little more sophisticated.

Footnote on “Unknown Wants”
Another stop on my odd “career” path (and I use the term extremely advisedly) was a 4-month stint selling knives. It was kind of like door-to-door, but you would get referrals to the next person, so you weren’t quite cold-calling. You would make an appointment, and bring your knives to somebody’s house, and demonstrate them, and then “offer people the chance to purchase them.” They were very nice knives, and they were extremely easy to sell, because they so clearly outperformed whatever people had in their kitchen, even the newly sharpened high-end Henkels. They triggered the “unknown wants” reaction. People were generally perfectly happy with whatever they had been working with; there is a small fraction of serious cooks that are working with crappy knives, but for the most part, your average kitchen has an average cook using merely mediocre knives. They are not sitting at home pining for new knives, but when somebody brings a clearly superior knife into their kitchen, they really don’t want you to leave again. Certainly not without leaving them an equally good knife. Easy sale. No high pressure tactics. That was quite explicit in the training. Let the knives sell themselves, because as soon as people see them, they will want them. Which is why I know the phrase “unknown wants.” Not from all my complex academic training, but from selling knives door-to-door.



2 responses to “Stoking the Unknown Wants”

  1. 14% packet loss? TCP dies at around 1% – it’s no wonder you can’t watch streaming video.

    There’s another reason to move into town … better Internet! 🙂