Technical Difficulties from on Top of the Mountain
  Pushing the universe through a tiny straw.
Back in November I was thinking about getting a new distro for replacing my way aging linux box with something more modern (upgrading from a P2 333 to a P3 800 — very exciting), so I went hunting for new distros. I downloaded Ubuntu, the new Fedora Core 6, and a couple others. Actually I torrented the distributions which is a great way to push around large 5GB files like this, and since FC6 was just out there was a lot of demand for seeders, so I started seeding. (There was also people sending out corrupt packets trying to disrupt downloads. Who does that to alinux distro? Microsoft?)

At first I just seeded until I had pushed up the same amount of data as I had downloaded, because that's just good manners. But then I got to wondering how long it would take to push up a truly large amount of data, so I kept it going on and off for the next couple of weeks; then the next month; then the month after that.

Well, almost 3 months later; I finally hit my original target: 100 GB. I'm sure my ISP is really happy with me now.

But it really demonstrates a problem with internet service: there really isn't sufficient bandwidth out there to do interesting things. Like if I created a HDDVD master, it just wouldn't make any sense to spend 1-2 months trying to upload it to the pressing house. You'd use fedex overnight (or fedex ground if you weren't in a hurry, but who are we kidding, the client always wants it tomorrow) and you'd have it there 40 times faster.

Another impossibility still is backing up your computer over the internet. You might backup a few files to a network repository, or maybe some photos to Flickr, but by and large, the files on your computer will die with your computer. Its not for a lack of want either. There are a hundred post bubble companies that would love to backup your harddrive over the internet if there was enough bandwidth. Heck, even I started a network storage company and we wanted to do the same thing. Individuals, small businesses, big businesses; it didn't matter; we'd take the files if we could get them. At the end of the day, though, about the only thing we could make work was to put big clusters of boxes at datacenters and sell near-line services to other tenants in the same center. There you could get a 1Gbit link for free, just run the wire across. On the network? Forgetaboutit.

And that was before Terabyte drives. I don't have one of those yet, but I do have two 300s and a 500. By the time I got those backed up over the net, I'd probably have 2TB more. Gads.

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