in Thoughts

The curse and blessing of a high bandwidth connection

A high bandwidth connection is seductive and can be useful.
There are various things to do in the net. I categorize a few and colored them with their “productivity factor” (green = good; red = bad).

Video streams
Youtube and there like are immense productivity killers. You’re maybe just watching an interesting video about quantum physics but then you see another one, and another one, and another one.

Social networking sites
I don’t think that I have to say much about them. Killers.

Mailing Lists
Oh yeah, that’s the social networking sites for nerds. “Oh, I must just read these 1932 mails then I continue working! I swear!”.

Information gathering
Hey, finally. This is a productivity pusher if you have a little bit discipline. Otherwise you can land in the endless browsing through wikipedia articles and board postings.

So, what has bandwidth to do with them? Let’s analyze.

Type Required amount of traffic typical amount for one session
video streams about 3 to 8 Megabytes per minute 36 Megabytes (3 videos a 4 minutes)
social networking sites (photos) about 80 to 300 Kilobytes per image 7 Megabytes (forty pictures and eight profiles)
mailing lists about 4 to 12 Kilobytes per mail 5 Megabytes (500 mails)
information gathering about 40 to 300 Kilobytes per site 2 Megabytes (ten sites)

Based on my personal experience you can construct a graph like this (for computer related work):

“Does this mean that I’m highly productive with a limited connection?” No. If you want to avoid work you’ll avoid it.

“So, why does it matter?” I saw a lot of people who are surfing here or there because they must see the latest video. If your connection is limited you are so annoyed that you rather do something else, often, more productive.

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