Friday, September 08, 2006

Digitally Handicapped

NYT columnist Thoms L Friedman in his best selling work The Lexus and The Olive Tree remarked


While the defining measurement of the Cold War was weight - particularly the throw weight of missiles - the defining measurement of the globalization system is speed - speed of commerce, travel, communication and innovation. The Cold War was about Einstein's mass-energy equation, e = mc2 . Globalization tends to revolve around Moore's Law, which states that the computing power of silicon chips will double every eighteen to twenty-four months, while the price will halve. In the Cold War, the most frequently asked question was: "Whose side are you on?" In globalization, the most frequently asked question is: "To what extent are you connected to everyone?" In the Cold War, the second most frequently asked question was: "How big is your missile?" In globalization, the second most frequently asked question is: "How fast is your modem?"


Here in Freetown (Sierra Leon), waiting for 45 minutes, to get a crucial mail downloaded, I fully realized what it meant. My mail client is showing 'downloading 1 of 19 mails' and this message is being displayed since eons and the data transfer rate.. I am ashamed to reveal that its in bytes, around 8-10 bytes per second.  The mail in question is supposed to contain some key information for the meeting scheduled next hour. I cannot do anything, the person who sent me the mail is not available on phone as he is not in network area.


It make me in very precarious situation, I am accessing Internet through wi-fi network installed by the hotel (where i am staying) and there is no other way to access the net. But the speed of wi-fi is pathetic. No connectivity would have been better. At least, I could have been relying on age old alternatives. But here you know there are 19 mails waiting for, do not know what is in store in those mails.


Lets see, if I can overcome this digital handicap, going to find some alternatives, probably a cyber cafe nearby, and hope that it has data transfer speed at least in killobytes.


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