Speed and technology

About 3 years ago, in 2013, I tried changing my harddrive to a much smaller SSD. I was hoping the speed would overrule any worries about free space on my computer. I ended up going back to my HDD because I found that what I needed access to was more important than the speed. This was before the cloud services became everyday use for everyone, not just businesses. Today, I have everything in Dropbox, and my tiny travel laptop has selective sync so that I only store a folder or two with the files I need. It’s brilliant of course. In fact, some files, like large image-files from my DVD-collection I have synced “up” to Dropbox but I am actually not syncing them down anywhere. I’m merely using it as backup. It’s up there, somewhere.

A known problem with motherboards is that the bus capacity might become a bottleneck when the speed and performances are greatly enhancing. It’s kind of the same with network problems. In Norway, fibre optic internet is becoming more common. However, the speed goes both ways, obviously. Sometimes we end up waiting for the server to return information to *us*, not the other way around.

You might have a super-fast car in order to drive to the grocery store, but if there is a long queue at the cash register and there’s a little old lady counting her pennies, then it doesn’t help you all that much. I might get home quicker if I walk over to the local store with no customers.

Speaking of which, there is an apparently quite a large amount of sales revenue lost because of slow company websites. As Weinberg so brilliantly puts it: “Unfortunately, a significant proportion of e-commerce potential on the World Wide Web is being held hostage by a world wide wait.” (Weinberg, 2000, pp.30-39)

In fact, psychology has a factor in this waiting time. Websites performing queries, such as travel websites – ever noticed how they have animated search icons while you wait for the results? A study from 2013 showed that the feeling of the user’s waiting is often perceived as more than the time it actually takes. Not only that, for short waiting times there should not be extra visual stimulation – this added to the time. For longer waits, there should be stimuli; otherwise, it felt even longer (Hong, Hess and Hardin, 2013). It’s not supposed to be easy.

Will there be a time when all the hardware is fast, but the internet is simply too slow? Will the network, specifically the internet, be a bottleneck?



Hong, W. Y., Hess, T. J. and Hardin, A. (2013) ‘When Filling the Wait Makes it Feel Longer: a Paradigm Shift Perspective for Managing Online Delay’ EBSCO. 37 (2), ID: 000329754600005. pp.383-U93.

Weinberg, B. D. (2000) ‘Don’t keep your Internet customers waiting too long at the (virtual) front door’, Journal of Interactive Marketing, 14 pp.30-9.

Image source:  Zdenko Zivkovic, Flickr, CC generic licence. No amendment done to image. https://flic.kr/p/9UWPD1