Monday, 3 November 2008

Faster,smaller, better!

Perhaps the main reason we chose Mario's Marina in the Rio Dulce as a place to wait out the hurricane season was it's excellent internet facility. With TBH developing his software,the challenges of marketing his book and our usual email use it was very important to us.

Unfortunately the market value of the copper wire for the DSL lines proved irresistible to local 'entrepreneurs'! After replacing the 25k of landline 4 times the Guatemalan provider declined to do it once again and the Marina was left dependent on a satellite system for internet connection.

This provided about 1.5 gigabytes of bandwidth a day which should have been more than enough for the liveaboard boats that were using it. However something TBH calls 'the tragedy of the commons' entered the equation. That is the incentive for selfish people to grab more than their share of a common resource. That's what happened here. Consequently the internet was overloaded and everyone had to wait a whole day for it to reset. Bloody irritating.

Reminds me of the current economic meltdown where we are all going to have to pay for the greed of a few. The'solution' is to limit everybody's internet access to a 40mb download per day after which each individual maxes out.

Certain steps have helped us make use of our limited megabytes such as steering clear of Youtube and installing the flashblock add in to Firefox, our browser.

But far and away the most successful remedy has been to use Propel Accelerator. Occasionally we come across a bit of software that works like magic (I would put Skype and Paypal in this category) and this accelerator is one of those.

It costs less than $5 a month, speeds up page loading by 5x or so and reduces the bytes downloaded by blocking adds and banners and degrading photo quality(you can always increase the quality by right clicking on it).

And as a result our 40mb has given us 4-5 times as much surfing. For those on wifi with bandwidth limited locations I cannot recommend it highly enough.A very satisfactory solution.

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