nettime's_turnabout on Tue, 18 Jun 2002 15:49:49 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> the download times they are a changin' digest [Cramer, plasmastudii, miles, morlockelloi]

   Re: <nettime> where has all the bandwith gone?                                  
     Florian Cramer <>                                     

   Re: <nettime> where has all the bandwith gone?                                                                                       

   Re: <nettime> where has all the bandwith gone?                                  
     Adrian Miles <>                                              

   Re: <nettime> the download times they are a changin' digest [tony|hwang|porculus
     Morlock Elloi <>                                          


Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2002 16:52:01 +0200
From: Florian Cramer <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> where has all the bandwith gone?

Am Sun, 16.Jun.2002 um 20:14:45 -0700x schrieb Morlock Elloi:
> Aside, there is no such thing as "social needs" - that is the phrase used
> to justify whatever needs to be justified at the moment (to paraphrase
> famous propagandist, "when I hear 'social needs' I go for my gun").
> The issue with bandwidth is really simple. There is no content (outside
> movie industry) to justify it. Average user has nothing to offer to
> average user. Zilch. Zero.

...which can change very quickly. Two examples:

- - Free Software (and software downloads in general). Much of the
  server/downlaod bandwidth for Free Software is provided by company
  servers like; many of them originate in the dotcom
  area and, producing no revenue for their operators, have a doubtful
  future. At the same time, less and less Free Software users install
  from CD sets they bought in stores, but over high-speed Internet
  connections. And as another detail, the BSD way of installing software
  and patching directly from its original sourcecode and server
  locations is currently coming to GNU/Linux in a big way (with
  distributions like Gentoo, Sorcerer and Rock Linux), resulting in even
  more potential stress to the servers hosting Free Software
  development. Non-commercial volunteer projects like and
  Debian already have to run FTP mirror farms all over the world; they
  and others would be much better off with distributing their software
  over user-run peer-to-peer networks. That would also be the easiest
  way for users to contribute to the community.

- - The trend towards mobile computing. The more both computing and
  networking become mobile and wireless, the higher will be the load of
  online data transfers, such as backups via software like rsync. 


- --
GnuPG/PGP public key ID 3200C7BA, finger


Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2002 17:22:10 -0400
Subject: Re: <nettime> where has all the bandwith gone?

i really liked your points (below).  here are some considerations to 
start with.

one is the "goldfish" phenomenon.  These fish grow in proportion to 
the size of their tank.  We do the the same with our desires. 
Bicycles that were originally invented to make getting across town 
faster, resulted in bigger towns.  No matter how much a person makes, 
they almost always say they should be making 23% more.

Bandwidth hasn't changed things very drastically.  The time it took 
to see a page with a 14.4 modem isn't really all that different than 
with a 56.  Maybe we are saving a split second here or there, but 
whereas all the files on a page usually totalled under 50k, now 
people put more elements on sites that waste hundreds of k out of 
lack of concern for resources.  Particularly funny are enormous 
downloads for flash that keep saying "loading... ".  Flash is a 
scheme for compacting media but only seems to have the effect that 
there is more to download from the web.

Likewise, as speed increases a few times every few years, the authors 
take advantage of their new enormous hard-drives and create files 
that have grown exponentially.  Before the 90s, books on programming 
(for example) were mostly devoted to memory conservation.  Now 
there's apparently no need to mention it.  Different mentality, 
different focus.

I don't think it's actually possible to create the ideally fast 
bandwidth.  Imagine if bandwidth on the net were as fast as the local 
bus speed on a machine, we'd still want it faster.  Computers got 
faster than people could type years ago, but they still increase well 
beyond a level anyone can detect.

So they create more elaborate uses, like editing video.  We could 
edit video just as easily and a lot more cheaply before.  There's 
really no end.  Faster will never be fast enough.  No one seems 
concerned that it serves no real purpose.

On another note, I may be the only one to cancel my DSL and go back 
to a 56.  Why?  Because I discovered that for a "dial up" account, 
where you are still connected to an intermediate server, the speed 
difference is actually not nearly as great as it's chalked up to be. 
At least nothing nearly comparable to the difference between a 28.8 
and a 56.  In what it does to my day, and screw stopwatches.

Sure you can download huge files faster.  But how files many are THAT 
huge?  Basically just video and shareware.  There is no point in 
video on the web.  VCRs do it much better anyway.  But if video just 
HAS TO be uploaded, there is no reason to sit there and watch the 
progress bar while you get it.  Get up and do some dishes, straighten 
the room.  The biggest effect of DSL was that once I reached my 
mailbox on the server, I could download email in under a minute 
(short enough where I just sat there though) as opposed to 3 minutes, 
where I go do something a lot more exciting than watching a the 
numbers on my screen.  Similarly, a faster processor (when I went 
from the first PPC ones to a g3) I could suddenly do more tasks, and 
at the same time, my apartment got a lot messier because of it. 
Faster machines = less quality of life.

But the time to connect, before the download begins, is still exactly 
the same.  I tried two DSLs with different servers (a big company and 
small one) and had the same result, so I suspect it's not even that 
they were using some sub-standard connection.  The results were 
negligibly different at about 6 times the cost.  That's just a plain 
scam.  (also the phone thing didn't work since this one actually does 
send those high frequency signal, too)

The speed of the modem (or DSL) is hardly crucial at this point. 
Things are plenty fast enough. Seems about half the folks who do 
nothing related to computers or the web have them in NY for no real 
reason but fashionableness.  If DSLs are still popular in 3 years, 
they will be considered pokey.  In the words of George Jetson...

"Jane, stop this crazy thing!"


>the broadband issue is of great interest for nettimers



223 E 10th Street
PMB 130
New York, NY  10003


Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 11:53:42 +1000
From: Adrian Miles <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> where has all the bandwith gone?

At 20:14 -0700 16/6/02, Morlock Elloi wrote:
>The issue with bandwidth is really simple. There is no content (outside
>movie industry) to justify it. Average user has nothing to offer to
>average user. Zilch. Zero. Average user is a dumb empty nitwit that may be
>able to create 0.5-1 kilobytes of original material per day. And outside
>his own house he can't really force his family videos onto anyone. The
>only other possible use would be videoconferencing, and guess what -
>people don't really like to videoconference.

except it isn't about original material. much like your comments 
about 'social need' that's just 'romantic ideal'. things like email, 
sms, and yes even napster demonstrate that even dumb empty nitwits 
can work out how to use the network for p2p.

the issue is not that it's a bad thing that i want my mum to see my 
home videos online. your argument would've also have never seen VHS 
happen (only for the movie industry, how much dumb empty nitwit home 
movie content is there out there on VHS). for goodness sake that is 
not the point. we probably need to put up with the noise for 
something relevant and appropriate to come out of it. but if we 
already judge it as noise and so stop the possibility, it's just 
cultural fascism.

adrian miles
- -- 
+  lecturer in new media and cinema studies 
+  interactive desktop video developer  []
+  hypertext rmit []
+ InterMedia:UiB. university of bergen []


Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2002 21:47:03 -0700 (PDT)
From: Morlock Elloi <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> the download times they are a changin' digest [tony|hwang|porculus]

> I'm talking about a democratized justice system where events are tracked 
> not by a single big brother owned camera, but by many little brothers 
> and sisters who have floating cams and can verify physical events with 

And this has to do with reality ... exactly what ?

> The spread of technology seems to have a bit of a rhythm to it, 
> tacking back and forth between innovation and capability. You need a 
> little of both. Napster would have been worthless if it'd been 
> invented 10 years ago: mp3-file-sharing is pretty much unusable at 
> anything less than a 56k modem at the minimum. But I wouldn't be 
> surprised if Napster encouraged some people to finally splurge on 
> home DSL.

There is a slow evolutionary and synergic development.

But the hard facts, that come from ISPs - anyone can check this - are:

After switching from analog modem to "broadband" (DSL/cablemodem/etc) the
bandwidth usage surges for the next 3-6 weeks. As one ISP exec said "they
download the whole internet". Then, the usage pattern reverts to guess what:
modem usage pattern. This is the big incentive for DSL and similar - people are
willing to pay more for (on the average) same bandwidth, via different-named

The moment someone starts to *use* DSL to the full extent and therefore raise
the bill that ISPs have to pay for the backbone, they get kicked off, by
various means: "no server" policy. Slowing down streaming downloads - among
ISPs boxes that detect such connections and drop packets to slow them down (to
essentially modem speeds) are very popular these days.

> it's not impossible to imagine in a future where Joe Average takes a 
> 2 gig of his family picnic and then emails it to his mom. I'd 

I covered the "home video" issue before.

> As for whether people don't like to videoconference, the jury's still 
> out on that one, isn't it? I mean, we know people don't like 
> videoconferencing on grainy two-inch windows, but videoconferencing

I don't know about jury, but I know that among people with symmetric,
guaranteed bandwidth 384 kb/sec DSL (not the weenie consumer-grade PacBell
kind) video-conferencing amusement is exhausted after few weeks. 

> itz cause average uzer keep her his sex partner for just oneselv what iz
> abzolutely bourgeois and conterproductiv in term ov sexpol..bezide average

Finally, a real argument !

I agree, when cybersex goes mainstream and starts to be treated as saying "Hi",
THERE WILL BE DEMAND FOR BANDWIDTH. Everyone will cyberfuck everyone.

- ----

Sad as it is, media/celebrity industry didn't get created from thin air and
forced onto masses; humans love unusual and rare. While we all struggle to
become unusual and rare, we consume the few that did it. One-to-many networking
will be with us for a long time.

(of original message)

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