After years of living as veritable savages, The Queen and I finally got high-speed Internet access. Yes, this is a stark break from my usual neoluddist tendencies, such as preferring board to computer games, my steadfast refusal to acquire a cell phone, and my frequent visits to ASCII porn sites. (Warning: Last link is NSFW if your monitor’s resolution is set to 1680×12550 and your manager is standing exactly seven feet behind you.)
Frankly, I was quite happy with dial-up (except when I was actually using it, when I was typically ENRAGED). But if video killed the radio star, Web 2.0 killed the 56K modem. When Gmail launched I quickly adopted it as my primary email account, but since then they have larded the joint up with so much AJAX that I was urging friends to print hard copies of messages they had written me and send them via the postal service, as that would often reach me quicker. Ditto for Flickr. Nothing like having a repository of 100 photos that you can view at a rate of four per hour.
Anyhow, long story short, we got ourselves cable. We asked around and finally settled on Comcast as our Internet provider, which was akin to asking around about which gas we should use to respirate and then settling upon oxygen. Comcast, you see, holds a local monopoly on the Seattle high-speed Internet market. Oh sure, we could have opted for DSL, but, as near as I can tell, DSL compares to cable in being just as obscenely expensive and half as good. Perhaps is recognition of this, Qwest (the biggest local DSL provider) is trying to entice new customers by offering bundle deals. They have, for instance, teamed up with America Online to offer substandard broadband and AOL in one package. Maybe the two companies realized that they were both essentially targeting the same set of victims and decided to join forces, Legion Of Doom style.
Not that I’m Comcast’s biggest fan either. I just cannot trust the business acumen of a company that uses a flash-intensive website to sell a service to folks on dial-up. Dude, I wouldn’t need cable if it took less than a fortnight for your home page to load. It’s like a billboard campaign for the blind.