Survey: Internet Connection

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I've been in the process of do a complete redesign of my website and I'm always trying to balance using tons of graphics with the fact that some people might get frustrated with download times if they have a slower connection. I'm just curious to know what type of connection most of you have to the internet. Personally, I'm on cable. It's pricey but I'll never go back. How about all of you?
--
Jeff P.

"A new study shows that licking the sweat off a frog
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Jeff P. asks:

DIal up. I've had cable and miss it. I can miss it until my hair falls out and it makes NO difference. It isn't available this far from town.
Charlie Self "They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it's some kind of federal program." George W. Bush, St. Charles, Missouri, November 2, 2000
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Jeff P. asks:

I have DSL.
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Home: DSL Work: DSL
I'd estimate at least 40% of my friends with computers have broadband. One still has a 28.8 modem.
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Ed Pawlowski responds:

Hell, I've got a 56K modem, but I've got a 28K phone line.
Charlie Self "They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it's some kind of federal program." George W. Bush, St. Charles, Missouri, November 2, 2000
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Charlie Self wrote:

You've *got* to try this modem I have sitting here. Fastest modem I ever used.
Since I'm probably not going to manage the drive all the way to Bedford anytime soon, maybe I can mail it to you if you email me your snail addy.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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Silvan notes:

It's on the way, or will be in a few minutes. But, hey, the roads are clear. Take a two hour break and make the round trip...but don't try to get a semi down my drive. Getting down is OK. Getting out is a bitch. No turnaround, steep 90 deg. turn about 20 feet from the top with a 7' deep ditch on one side.
Charlie Self "They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it's some kind of federal program." George W. Bush, St. Charles, Missouri, November 2, 2000
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Charlie Self wrote:

More like three or four once I go through all 14,967 stoplights, Charlie. :)
I've only driven to Roanoke once in the last couple of years on my own dime. I hate the trip to Roanoke. Too damn much traffic. Being in all that traffic when I'm only 2" off the ground in a little piece of aluminum foil with only four wheels makes me uneasy, I guess.
Plus I'm just a home body. I drive for a living, but if there's no living at stake, I don't go further than the shopping mecca/cesspool just over the hill from here. I have gas, food, Lowe's, Wal-Mart all within a mile, and SWMBO does 99% of that shopping too, so I rarely go even that far. Once or twice a year I make the big trek all the way into town to go to the lumber store.
I'm just saying it's nothing personal. I just don't get out much unless I have to. Bedford might as well be in British Columbia for all the likelihood that I will find myself in that corner of the world anytime soon.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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Silvan writes:

Screw Roanoke, though it can be a problem--I came around and out 460 into Bedford itself today, and you may be right about the number of lights.
Up 581/220 to 24. Stay on 24 until you get to 43 and turn right. I'm not sure how many lights there are, maybe a half dozen in Roanoke, but on 24 there's only one, where it crosses 122 something like five miles from here.
Ah well. Some day you'll come get that fence. Before I cut it down and install it on a bandsaw. :)
Charlie Self "They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it's some kind of federal program." George W. Bush, St. Charles, Missouri, November 2, 2000
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Charlie Self wrote:

I'll have to remember that. Back roads are good. I tend to forget I can run back roads in the little thing with only four wheels. (Back roads are not so good in the big thing with 14 wheels.)

:)
I do want to come up and let my boy see a real shop too. One Of These Days(tm)
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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On 30 Jan 2005 19:55:14 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote:

I'm on cable, but I know a lot of people on dial-up. Also keep in mind those throughput numbers are theoretical maximums. Real world performance is a lot less.
If you feel you need a lot of graphics you may want to provide an alternate layout for people with slower connections. You can do a text-only version of your page or you can use thumbnails the reader has to click on to enlarge. Also keep in mind that some folks are visually impaired and some people run with graphics turned off to speed loading.
Now, to the real point. "Tons of graphics" is a lousy design standard, no matter how fast the link. Newspaper people have a term for that kind of layout: "Full French circus". That is _not_ a compliment. Too many graphics make a site harder to read, slow comprehension and make the reader lose interest faster. (How do I know? Because there have been a ton of studies done on readability over the last century. We've learned a lot about how people absorb and interpret visual information.)
The Japanese aesthetic of sparseness is much more likely to be effective than a whole bunch of graphics.
Think first in terms of content, breaking it down into closely related elements on different pages. Next think in terms of the design and layout that will support your content. Finally, think in terms of the graphic elements that will be part of that design and content.
So how much graphics is too much graphics? That depends first on your audience, second on what you're trying to communicate and third on what kind of meta-message you're trying to send your readers.
Think those things through, sketch out some site maps and basic page layouts and see how you'll tie it all together.
This is at the top of my mind right now because I'm designing a semi-personal Web page that has to bridge contrasting -- and sometimes conflicting -- areas of interest for rather different audiences.
--RC "Sometimes history doesn't repeat itself. It just yells 'can't you remember anything I've told you?' and lets fly with a club. -- John W. Cambell Jr.
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Dialup with such rotten phone lines that I've never been able to get better than 28.8 on a very good day. Typically it come in at 26.4.
If they ever get cable (or DSL capability) out to our neck of the boondocks, I'll abandon this dialup so fast it'll make you dizzy.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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Have you complained to the phone company about that? If so and to no avail, have you contacted your PUC (state regulator)? Your state rep/senator? In some states the "standard" has been simply clear voice service, modems be damned. (Even in upscale, close-in suburban areas telcos would spli the bandwidth on copper wires to serve two homes rather than run new wires, thereby capping dial-up speeds.) But that has been changing as Internet service is coming to be considered as a "basic" service. By federal mandate a lot of money is collected from telephone users around the country to subsidize local phone facilities in rural areas. If this were just 2-3 years ago, things might be different, but by now I think your telco could do better on dial-up speeds.
Certainly there are only so many hours in the day and a list of things to be done, but it could be worth the effort of a few phone calls and/or letters.
While I have not investigated the particulars, there are some ISPs (local to your area?) that enhance effective speeds by compressing data at their end before sending it down the local wires to you and then your computer expands them so they can be displayed. Whether that is available and effective at 28.8, I don't know.
Good luck. -- Igor
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All the telephone company is required to provide is voice-quality communications. There is no requirement for any minimum data transfer rate. I work for a state utility commission and hear folks complain bout this quite a bit. You can call all you want; we don't have the authority to require more. The only thing that is going to make the telephone companies provide better internet service is for competition to force it to do so.
Dick Durbin
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At this point in time, it probably doesn't make sense for your ILEC to do anything about data transfer speed. It's just not in their interest to do so. They would just as soon you get tired of dialup and move to DSL. Why should they make an investment in improving data on the phone lines when they see the direction broadband is going? In 10 years, I suspect there will be maybe 10% of internet users in the US on dialup. I just wish the satellite internet service would get to be usable so I would be free to move out to the country.
todd
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Thanks for the comments. As you know, it is state-by-state. Maybe you've seen a NARUC survey or just know that most/all states still only require voice quality. I have not been in that "business" for a few years and was extrapolating as to what I thought may have happened since then with the regulators, w/ or w/o a state legislative push. Gore tax and all those charges to support universal service. I figured by now that some state governments, in order to support "economic development", etc. would have required basic data quality at some level. Seems my thinking was too wishful. Anyway, that is why I suggested going up the chain if the PUC/PSC didn't/couldn't help. Could a state impose a data standard - directly OR indirectly - that would effectively require 54K (versus 56K) connections? Or, would that be considered something off-limits to state regulators under the 1996 act or some FCC rule? Not a biggie; just wonderin' -- Igor
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If FAX, at 14,400 (possibly even only 9600) will connect, *NO* public-utility commission in the U.S. will take your complaint. Some won't take a complaint if you can get a 1200 baud data connection.
Over POTS (analog) phone lines, _ALL_ speeds above 14,400 require end-to-end circuit connections that are 'higher quality' (higher bandwidth, less distort- ion, lower noise) than voice circuit specifications require. Even 14.4k is running 'right at the limits' of the specifications.
Some limits are _inherent_physical_characteristics_ of the length of wire between the customer premises and the telephone company switching equipment. Needless to say, you _cannot_ legislate around the laws of physics. <grin>
(BTW, this is also the reason that you *cannot* get DSL 'out in the country'.)
Other -legal-restrictions- arise from the need not to interfere with 'adjacent' phone circuits. This is why you -cannot_ get a true '56k' connection (only 54k max.) *anywhere* in the U.S., today. the actual 56k rate signalling puts "too much" energy on the wire pair; over the limit established to prevent interference (e.g. 'cross-talk') with adjacent circuits in the multi-pair cable.
THEN you get into the situation, on "longer" phone lines, where there are things that are needed to make voice work 'well', which are detrimental to high-speed data. If the phone line is _tariffed_ as a "voice circuit", guess which kind of things are *required* to be done to that line?
Alternatively, you can pay the -higher- tariff for a dedicated "data circuit", and the telco _will_ 'remove" those 'things' from that wire-pair. One of the things that you, the 'data circuit' customer _pay_extra_ for, however, is the cost for a technician to _physically_ go out to the various points on the line where those 'things' are installed, and disconnect them, *AND* the cost of his time for the 'return trip' _after_ you're through with the circuit, to *RE-CONNECT* them -- so the line can be used for "normal" voice service again.
Any change in the 'technical requirements' for phone service would simply _have_ to "grandfather" in any _pre-existing_ 'physical plant'. If it wasn't, considering that the ILEC _is_ a 'regulated' service, with rates set by the government -- at a level that *guarantees* that the company can/will make a 'reasonable' profit -- then the ILEC would immediately file for a tariff increase to 'pay for' those required upgrades. Base phone rates would probably climb somewhere between 500% and 5000% percent.
Oddly enough, _voice_ customer's aren't willing to pay *that* kind of money for an 'upgrade' that *they* don't need. <wry grin>
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We are on Direcway 6000 and could not be happier. It's a bit pricey for the first 15 months but the 1100 bps or so is sure nice.
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Which plan are you on, and how much is it after the first 15 months? I will be moving to a non-cable area later this year, and in order to keep my business running smoothly, I need to put in a satellite dish for internet. I have looked at DirecWay but not found a lot of third-party comments on it.
Jon E
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Man, that sucks. I remember getting my first real PC and thinking that the 14.4 modem was "smokin".
--
Jeff P.

"A new study shows that licking the sweat off a frog
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