and now… th….e…..nex….t big th….in……….g

1/27/09

Okay, this is infuriating. Here are some predictions of what will happen over the next few years:

1. Google will introduce the G-drive this year, which means terabytes and terabytes of storage for each and every one of you. With their software – versions of Word and Excel and Powerpoint and iTunes – your entire computer experience will take place in the “cloud” of information and you won’t even need a hard drive in your home, ever again.

2. Television is going to die, because we’ll be able to download anything we want and watch it on our computer. We’ll be able to stream HD movies straight onto our plasma screens, even the stolen ones.

3. Telephones will be all like Vonage, and exist entirely on our internet line, and the old way of making telephone calls will fossilize.

4. Our smartphones – Blackberries, iPhones, Palms, and even the cheaper brands – will connect to our “cloud” of information at all times, meaning we’ll never have to use a USB cord again (except to recharge the batteries, which may also become wireless).

5. It’s all going to work great.

To which I call BULLSHIT. You know why? Because I have rested my head in four different places over the last month: upstate New York, Washington DC, Denver and Los Angeles – and THE INTERNET FUCKING SUCKS.

I tested our download speeds in each place:

Upstate NY: 132K per second. Which, in the real world, means about 10K a second. We pay for the super-fast DSL, but they can’t seem to figure it out. Barely faster than dial-up. Downloading a song? I hope you have an hour.

Washington DC: Cable modem at an apartment complex. 8MB a second, then nothing for 30 seconds, Then 8MB a second, and then nothing for another 30 seconds. You had to reload a FUCKING WEB PAGE FIVE TIMES before you could read it.

Denver: “Broadband” wireless at a nice hotel. 300K download (aka 30K a second) – goddamn pathetic. Couldn’t talk with my daughter on the webcam – she wouldn’t be able to see us, we wouldn’t be able to see her. Sending email took two minutes each time.

Los Angeles: Now I’m back home, and some fucking squirrel has chewed through our internet line somewhere in Santa Monica, and we’re getting 232K per second download speeds, which means about 20K. Eerily similar to the internet we had at the Purple House in 1994. You know those links I put in above? I CAN’T EVEN CLICK ON THEM.

So, I put it to you, O Evolving World: how the MONKEY FUCK am I supposed to stream “The Dark Knight” in HD when I CAN’T EVEN CHECK MY EMAIL? How am I supposed to connect to my “cloud” of frickin’ Powerpoint presentations, when America’s internet is slower than a drunk carrier pigeon?

Take it from me: I’m pretty tech savvy. I know my way around the back of an Ethernet switcher, and I’ve wired many houses to peak performance. If I’m having problems, you can bet your sweet ass that 90% of Exhausted America is going to give up on this shit and go back to reading by the campfire. Most people just want to come home from a soul-crushing day at work and watch “30 Rock” on a machine that requires two buttons and a cold beer.

So stop telling me that the entire world is going virtual. Stop talking about the applications I’ll be manipulating from 3000 miles away. Fuck off with your streaming Web television. When I can reliably watch a YouTube video of some guy getting hit in the nuts with a football – without waiting 20 seconds for it to buffer – then we’ll talk.

0 thoughts on “and now… th….e…..nex….t big th….in……….g

  1. Schultz

    Best rant ever. Thank you Ian.
    Two years ago I threw my Treo in the trash. It was nice to be unchained but it didn’t last. I fell off the wagon and got another one. I even tried to get iPhones for Mary and I but AT&T has no service in central Virginia (MORE BARS IN MORE PLACES- try no bars. Check that- try NO CELL TOWERS WITHIN 100 miles).
    It’s all bullshit. Just say no and live a little.

    Reply
  2. ChrisM

    Yep. The bane of my digital existence: I have PCs at work and home so I use Internet Explorer. The f***er crashes multiple times a day and has been doing so for a couple of years now. What is the unfixable problem? WTF?!

    Reply
  3. Ehren

    Newspapers are already dead, CM. The Great Grey Lady is so in debt she probably won’t survive 2009 as a print rag, unless Rupert Murdoch decides he wants another NYC paper to play with.
    Ian, I totally agree with this. Also, when something breaks down, you basically need to take a two-week sabbatical just to wade through their various phone support systems. Very little makes me as angry as cable/phone support calls.

    Reply
  4. Ian

    Wow, never read Blog Maverick. Funny how we both (and everyone) always use “The Dark Knight” as an example of The Ultimate Dream Internet Video Stream.

    Reply
  5. Ehren

    kjf, it should be pointed out that movie theaters are, in fact, dying. Despite the box office returns, every year the audience shrinks.

    Reply
  6. Anne

    My daughter purchased last week’s episode of “House” (iTunes) for download on her computer at college. Download time for a one-hour show: 55 hours! I kid you not. Damn.

    Reply
  7. Alan

    Newspapers are not dead. They are transforming. Local is not going to die as people need local news and “citizen journalism” crapped the bed so far in terms of that. What is dead is “Media” companies, the corporate side of the false dream of convergence. Moving a professional news organization to the web is merely changing output media.
    We will still have text and audio and video. How we get it is sorta beside the point. Is there really anything integral about sitting in a room with 300 strangers and watching flicking images on the wall as we eat bad popcorn? Weren’t the playhouses to die, too? Grocery store beer hammmered taverns in the US between 1970 and 2000 (as well as the UK right now) but I can still go to a bar.

    Reply
  8. summer

    This past New Year’s eve, a friend called me at (his) midnight and (my) 10pm to say happy new year… but he couldn’t get through. Neither of us could get through for FOUR HOURS. Too many people calling at once.
    And television is going digital too? What if some shizz really hits the fan? That’s why I’m 1) jealous of Ian’s knowledge of morse code, 2) the proud owner of a marine radio, and 3) saving up for a ham radio and a CB.
    Nature bats last; Luddites always win.

    Reply
  9. jersey

    I’ve been lurking here for a couple of years now – and I think this is my favorite post. Thank you for the laugh, Ian.

    Reply

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