Monday, June 09, 2008

Points A and B

You know what doesn't make sense? (pause so that everyone can take a minute for stupid "your mom" and "your face" jokes without missing any key blog plot). Download time predictions. You know when you're trying to download something and you see the little bar that says something like

"tiny fraction of huge file at way too slow KB/sec; slightly longer than your lifetime remaining"

Ok, well, it's something close to that. You know what I mean. Anyways, you know how the shiny progress bar clearly moves forward and the amount you've downloaded clearly increases, and yet somehow, your very advanced computer's prediction of long it will take increases the further along you progress? How does that make sense? When I started this download three hours ago and it was 0% done, you said it would take 9 hours. Now, at 40% done, it apparently will take 11 hours. What the fuck? How does it take longer to download less? Stop playing with my heart, download manager. Also, why is this only going at 6.8 KB/sec?!?!?! Fuck.

But wait, you say! Why, oh beloved author, are you downloading something that would take 9 hours (yeah, it's gone back down to 9, douchebag) you ask. Well, I find myself here with nothing to do and the seed of "I want to play turn based strategy games" planted somewhere deep inside. Recently, this seed has begun to sprout feelers of undeniable desire that have crept into the back of my mind and, now, the front of my mind and my gums. Before long, there was a full blown YOU MUST FUCKING PLAY SID MEIER'S CIVILIZATION IV flower blooming in my mind. I sprung into action and started downloading the demo, but, alas, it apparently will take forever. Desperately needing something to do, I leapt onto my bike and struck out for the nearest Best Buy with the words "the internet is too slow" on my lips.

The bike path was shady, the breeze was pleasant, and before I knew it, there I was. And there it was, Civilization IV, gleaming like a huge pile of heroin in a desert populated by sand-komodo dragons and heroin addicts. But wait! It was for PC. Fuck me and my love of the mac. I looked around desperately, even considered settling for Age of Empires or Caesar IV or, well, Settlers. Woe, if only I had gotten around to putting Windows on my laptop.

But I was undaunted, for it seemed like just the kind of quest I was looking for...a quest for Civilization! Full of optimism (and, it would seem, total ignorance of the 95 degree weather), I jumped on my bike and set out for the next town where, rumor had it, there was a store that might carry it. I arrived, still kind of fairly optimistic, looked around, asked around, but was thwarted by fate. I realized that I was, after all this effort, still without my gaming fix and had to bike another 8 miles in the sweltering heat.

That pretty much brings us to now, with me, still dehydrated, sitting in front of a fan wishing that the internet would speed up so I can play the Civilization demo. I bowed to delayed satisfaction and ordered it online, so in about 5 business days I will finally have my fix. I imagine that sometime around 1 o'clock this morning the shakes will set it...

2 comments:

Gavrich said...

And as soon as it arrives, you will no longer have the hankerin'.

I think you've had quite enough Civilization, but not nearly enough of what Mark Twain called "Sivilization." Read a non-fiction book (Geno Roddenberry's memoirs don't count, and, certainly, neither do L. Ron Hubbard's), start a business, hob-nob with the literati.

The weather's beautiful this time of year. I know how difficult it is to tear oneself away from the intoxicatingly efficient machine that is an Apple, but your eyes are going to bug out of your head, man! Save yourself!!!

The Juicy One said...

wow, that is possibly the first time ive seen the internet actually prompt someone towards physical exercise...and way for your college to have crap internet

And actually download predictions do make sense. I'm probabaly wrong, but I've always imagined the computer gets those numbers by doing a related rates type problem to give you the down load rate (dx) for what its currently tackling, and uses that to get time remaining. It repeats the problem over and over again to give you the most relevant answer (which is why the number changes so much). Because the calculation for Dx is being done repetitivly at different intervals, they dont bother factoring in a change in the second derivative (since redoing the problem under different circumstances accounts for that) so it actually gives you the time left if the computer were to continue downloading at the same rate (Dx) for the most recent calculation with no predicted change in d^2 x.

I apologize if I'm totally wrong or just totally explained the obvious...but it makes sense in my head.