Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Damn It Feels Good to be a Gangsta

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Just hanging out on Facebook this morning reading friend's updates, when I came across Chuck's latest posting regarding how much he likes Michael Bolton. Well... knowing Chuck as I do, that can only be a reference to "Office Space", one of my favorite movie, which leads to multiple riffs on the Michael Bolton joke, plus the music in the movie. 

None of which has anything to do with this post.  In fact, this post is about Cisco and their revolutionary new router, which will allow us to download the entire library of Congress in just seconds.  Or maybe it was minutes or something, but it was a ridiculously short period of time.  Quicker then a fart disappears in a hurricane would be adequate to describe it.

You see, the real bottleneck on your computer is not usually your computer (unless it's more then a couple years old).  It's not usually your network card (if you use dial up, it definitely IS your damn modem).  It's not your house wiring (assuming you used modern Cat-5 cable and not something cheap and older, like Cat-3... meow!).  It's the equipment used to route the signal to various locations, and the wiring that leads into your home from the outside, which is still usually copper.  Verizon FIOS is one of the first big roll outs of fiber optics direct to your home, which is why its so much faster then cable.  But it's still not as fast as it could be, because the routers and switches used to relay all that data around have not been fast enough to do so.  Until now.

It's hard to image we'd be reaching this point so soon.  Just twenty years ago I still listened to the whiney, screechy sound of the modem as it would connect to my service provider, and there was no web at all to browse around in.  Now more then half of all American households have broadband, the web is an integral part of our daily lives, and we are constantly striving for more, more, more.  The pipeline has to evolve to keep up with our growing and rapacious hunger for more content, more information, more entertainment.  Cisco just took one big leap in making that happen.

None of which means those people who run the routers - cable companies, telephone companies, etc. - will get around to upgrading to these wonderful new machines anytime soon.  And when they do... what cost to us will this incur?  How much more will we need to pay for the fatter pipeline, the heavier chrome of our shiny new services?  Makes me think the real gangsta's are going to be the companies who will make a killing off the fattened hog of an internet pipeline Cisco just tossed them.

Damn... it really DO feel good....
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