Judging by the number of responses I got to yesterday’s blog, both in comments left and e-mails, apparently Sunday the entire internet was suffering from a massive slowdown.
I heard from people from Florida to Texas and California, and north to Maine, and they all reported problems accessing the internet for several hours Sunday. These were not all Verizon air card users either. It seems like folks who use AT&T and Sprint air cards were having the same problems.
But I have to remember that technology has come light years in a pretty short period of time, and we’ve got it really good today. When Terry and I started fulltiming ten years ago, we had to lug our laptop computer up to the campground office, often pay a buck or two, and then we could plug into a telephone line and download our e-mail. We’d sign off, read it offline, write our replies, and then sign back on to send them.
Then they came up with a card that linked a cell phone to the computer, and if you held your head at just the right angle, didn’t sneeze, and the gods were in a good mood, you could get online at speeds that were just a little slower than driving across the country and delivering the message in person.
Mobile rooftop mounted internet dishes, as well as their tripod mounted counterparts, were a huge advancement in connectivity on the road, and for us, they revolutionized the way we did business. I would have never considered starting a website or selling our books, CDs, and subscriptions online before that. But being able to get online just about anywhere we could get a clear line of sight to the sky, and at reasonably high speeds, was the ultimate in luxury for us.
Back in the early days of the dish systems, there was a real battle between the people who advocated the automatic rooftop systems and those of us who had tripod models. There were rumors and wild tales about FCC and FBI agents driving through RV parks and rallies looking for the supposedly “illegal” tripod systems, and if you had one you could have your RV confiscated.
We also heard dire warnings about how dangerous an improperly aligned dish could be. At one Escapees rally, a vendor selling the automatic systems told a story about someone who walked in front of a tripod dish just when the owner transmitted an e-mail, and the “rays” drove an ink pen in the poor pedestrian’s shirt pocket through his heart.
Another dealer claimed that if I pointed my dish the wrong way, I would jam an airliner’s navigation system and blow it out of the sky. I responded in the Gypsy Journal that if that were true, every maladjusted high school geek and homegrown terrorist would be out in their back yards shooting down airplanes. Ahh, those were the good old days!
So overall, I guess we can’t complain if the internet has an occasional brain fart and slows down on us once in a while. We’ve still come a long way, baby!
Thought For The Day – Society often forgives the criminal; it never forgives the dreamer.