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Friday, May 27, 2011

Remember Dial-Up Internet?

I first started using the Internet back in 1997. I was 13. It was a miraculous experience, to be able to exchange emails with people, chat to people from all around the world in chatrooms, visiting websites of things that I am interested in. Those early pleasures of the Internet, like ICQ, Geocities websites, IRC chatrooms... they were so fresh to me back then.

I miss this sound.

For every beautiful nostalgia of the dial-up internet, there are also some agony. Like how it would take so long to just load images. I was downloading wallpapers for my desktop and I stare blankly at the computer screen for almost 15 minutes, waiting for something to load.

Are you old enough to remember that? Remember how old Dial-Up Internet was?

I can say without any hesitation that the current (STREAMYX) broadband connection in my house is even SLOWER.

Websites need constant refreshing to... load half-way. Images taking almost 20 minutes to load. A 2-minute clip video on Youtube? Even longer.

Imagine having to constantly switch off your modem, and switch it on again, 2-3 times in an hour, hoping that everything would become marginally better. Imagine looking at numbers like '0.7 - 0.9 kb/s' when you're downloading something. I'm lucky if I can complete the download, but half of the time, it gets broken off.

Fine, so living in Tokyo for the past 3 years have pampered me, I'm so used to NOT having to wait at all for anything to load that every single time I return for a break, it's a rude (re)awakening.

I don't blame Streamyx. I know that my house's connection is an isolated incident. Sometimes... I can't even load GMAIL.

The recent correspondences with film festivals in the past few weeks since I got back here are soul-sapping.

Film Festival: "Mr. Yeo, can you please send us a couple of Hi-Res stills of your film and also your own photo to us?"

Me: "Okay. Here are the links to these images on Flickr."

Film Festival: "Sorry, we can't open Flickr." (They're in China, Great Firewall had blocked Flickr too) "Do you mind attaching them on email and just send us? It's easier this way."


I ended up spending nearly an hour uploading the images for them.

Another Festival: Mr Yeo, can you upload a trailer of your film for us as well? You can use filesharing websites. Doesn't need it to be of high quality, maybe around 1GB?

(It takes an entire night for me to upload 100MB worth of data, and only when I'm lucky, most usually, it breaks down halfway)

Things I could have done in 15-20 minutes when I was in Tokyo became impossible here.

It's almost amusing.

It's almost amusing how helpless I can be in situations like these.

So, folks, do you remember Dial-Up Internet?

My current Internet connection is slower than that. Cherish what you have.

(We are installing UNIFI in early July, but considering how freakishly bad the Internet connection had been at my home. I don't have any high hopes at all)