An Informal Poll

I am unsure how much more of this I can take: dial-up internet is the worst thing to happen to this decade, and I am stuck on what seems to be the last copper-line connection to the internet out of anyone I know. I recently read that over one half of the people who use the internet are not using dial-up. And don’t get me wrong - the internet is something I rely on to do my job - I’m not complaining because I can’t watch streaming video on MTV’s website when I spend hours mindlessly surfing. In fact, dial-up works quite well for the surfing I do - generally reading longer articles, allowing things to load in the background.

It’s when I try to be productive that I get eff’ed.

The size of files I am shuffling around for work drive me absolutely batty. In the middle of some pieces of work, I’ve actually considered driving 20 minutes to the University just so I could do what I had to do and be done with it. You know things are bad when, no matter how long you stare at the blue horizontal progress bar, it never progresses towards 100%. You just have to walk away and let the files molasses’ize their way through the Cu world of 19th century communication.

I know one man who has survived on dial-up: Justin. And talk about survive: he administers an entire online business via this dial-up connection. I have frequently hypothesized that his access to a dedicated T1 line is the only thing that keeps him sane.

So, what is your current online experience? And what was it like to make the switch to high speed?

5 comments left


Justin Michael

Wow, dial-up. That takes me back. I haven’t been on a dial-up connection for more than a few minutes at a time for years and years. I’m trying to remember the day (or at least the month or year) I switched to cable but, alas, I cannot. I want to say late 90’s, which was about one-hundred-seventy-six years ago, Internet Time.

Back then broadband was relatively new and I was considered an early adopter in my area. Even so, the install was mostly painless and I was online in no time. Since then I’ve helped with installs for my friends and clients, and transferred my connection as I moved. Everything was, For the most part, trouble free, quick and painless. Everything is even more streamlined and refined than it was a decade ago, but I’ve dealt primarily with cable; DSL is a little more touchy due to distance and line conditions.

If I were you I would switch to some sort of broadband sooner rather than later. At this point I can’t imagine being stuck on such a slow connection. Movie trailers, podcasts, updating your apps in seconds or minutes instead of overnight… it’s wonderful. You don’t have to strategically plan your page loads, preload pages in the background, etc. But most of all, you can get your work done; your connection becomes a transparent part of the work flow, one less thing to worry about.

If you’ve been using dial-up all this time and you do upgrade to broadband, please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their upright positions, and fasten your seatbelt; you’re in for one hell of a ride.


Alex. I live five minutes from your house. Throw it on a jump drive and bring it over. That simple.


Hmmm, I think I made the jump to broadband back in….10th grade, which would be in 2001. That was also the first time we got cable TV. Needless to say, I was blown away by a technology overload. The internet was the best though. Instead of downloading one song every other day or so, I was suddenly downloading 5, 10, then 20 a day until I couldn’t think of any other songs I wanted.

Then I was downloading full length films, and video games in only minutes (it would have otherwise taken days into weeks). Emails became a breeze, and I could take my sweet time knowing that I wasn’t holding up the phone line. It was awesome, until the excitement of it wore off.

Now it’s just something I don’t even think about. It’s there but I don’t notice it, just like we all forget to think about breathing, we just do it. If broadband was suddenly taken away, it would suck ass, but that doesn’t stop me from taking it for granted.

It’s funny how once we have things we want, we stop wanting them and move on to wanting bigger and better things. Blame it on society and/or culture, but I guess there is always something to want or “need”. Is anyone ever fully satisfied?


I have to tell you something… Justin is only dating me because I have cable internet! Okay, just kidding!

But it was amazingly wonderful to switch to cable from dial-up, and I do not know what I would do without it!

Alexander Micek

A surprisingly philosophical discussion, all. I am definitely motivated to pursue the highest of speeds in internet as a result of the responses.

However, as noted by Nils, I will temper my search with an acknowledgement that material goods and services are nothing and the pursuit of them to the exclusion of all else can be downright damaging.

So I guess it’s “I will pursue cable internet and do good with it.”

Essays Nearby