Silversuit

The web in my part of the world

Take a look at this screenshot.

Screenshot of OpenSignal show 98% connection in last month

That is taken from the OpenSignal app running on my phone. It shows that, in the last month, I've been connected to either 3G or 4G a staggering 98% of the time. I've travelled quite a bit (driven over 500 miles) and into rural areas, so the figure is even more remarkable. What's more, I'm on a package with Three that provides all-you-can-eat data. With my phone in my pocket I am literally almost never offline and have unlimited access.

Meanwhile at home I've just had my fibre connection go live, giving me 40Mbps download and 10Mbps upload.

When I first got online I was using a 28.8kbps dial-up modem attached to a hulking PC at my parents house where you had to pay by the minute for internet access.

My point here is to remind myself how incredibly lucky and privileged we are in this part of the world to have such tremendous connectivity. And also to marvel at how far we've come in terms of connection speed: my fibre connection today is ~1388x faster than that first modem with which I first connected to the web. What other technology remains workable on such wildly incomparable technology?

The vast majority of my time online is spent using web technologies, whether directly in the browser or indirectly via, for example, my RSS reader app.

Today alone I have spent just shy of 7 hours in Chrome for work and entertainment. That's pretty typical - I am a web developer, after all. But a third of the day, at least, on the web? That's an astonishing thought.

I'm participating in the University of Southampton's Web Science course on FutureLearn. This post is one of the assignments.