Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life

By , on April 4, 2010

Miscellaneous Comment


Describing the impact of the Internet combined with broadband in the home presents a challenge because the effects are transitory and increasing. One commentator noted that connecting virtually all Americans is the imperative of the current century, just as laying rail and telegraph lines were in the nineteenth, and developing telephone, radio, television, aviation and motor cars were in the twentieth. Most of the technologies that require government intervention and the work of Americans as a collective (or the community at large in the parlance of my more liberal friends – indeed I have some of those) relate to transportation, shipping and communications. I am intrigued by what is and what is coming. Aside from providing a ready vehicle for research, reading news, allowing distributed publication, making travel arrangements, sharing images, listening to broadcasts that we missed, watching video, the Internet’s impact to us as consumers of goods remains fascinating.

I received parts yesterday for a pressure washer. They were back-ordered since December; this is our longest wait for an order on the Internet. But the parts were not available locally. Repairing the machine at a local repair shop would have cost half as much as a new machine. Buying a whole new pump would have cost more at Northern Supply than a new pressure washer at Costco.

But why the long wait? Admittedly, I had no idea what I faced when I placed the order. My only thought was I wanted the parts before I needed the pressure washer in the spring. My wife ordered the parts from an American company, which then ordered them from the German manufacturer. My parts probably did not exist when I ordered them and I had to wait until enough orders accumulated to do the setup for the fabrication. That is cool. My purchase was similar to many Internet deals. There is an electronic order, an electronic payment, and the goods are then shipped by common carrier, or the services are available such as with airfare. However, my parts order was a subset of these in that the parts were not readily available locally. Items demanded in quantities too small for your local retail establishments to hold in inventory but now available to you is covered in eloquent detail by Chris Anderson in “The Long Tail,” first edition published by Hyperion in 2006. Check out www.thelongtail.com

By the way, we have had cable in this rural area for a couple of years but made our connection last summer. I know we are behind the majority of you in this endeavor, but I still find the speed of our access an absolute thrill. We are running an old PC with a cable connection to our Linksys router, a HP wireless printer, a netbook that Comcast gave us for signing a two-year service contract, a laptop, and guest devices.



1 Comment to “Broadband”

  1. Tim Tracy says:

    I appreciate the info. This will be very helpful for anybody looking for advice on pressure washers.

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