Embracing the Slower Side of Life

In the spirit of expanding my writing style and audience, I recently wrote this piece for the Summer issue of Mountaineer Magazine. It’s provided in full here, but is also available on their blog at https://www.mountaineers.org/blog/embracing-the-slower-side-of-life.

There’s something truly wonderful about not knowing what lies over the next ridge, or how to get there. If I climb down into the creek bed, will it connect? And if so, will I be able to climb back out? Or is it better to scramble up the talus and hope things aren’t too steep on the other side?

Every Mountaineer knows this process well: evaluate the terrain, make a decision, and hope it works out. The uncertainty drives excitement; the unknown creates the heart of the adventure. Seeking out this unknown used to be the primary way I related to the outdoors, but lately, I’ve discovered that nature has so much more to offer.

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Page-Load-Time and Page Utility

In the Web business world, it’s well understood that page-load metrics (e.g. time-to-paint, time-to-responsiveness, etc.) drive engagement. Multiple studies (internal and external) show that even slight increases in load-time can turn off a large percent of eyeballs, and contribute to users exiting a page or even just failing to check-out after filling their cart at a web store. As a result, it should come as no surprise that these metrics are studied to death and obsessed over by COOs trying to keep their business in the green.

Off the cuff, I always found these metrics to be somewhat unbelievable, and had never personally experienced this effect… until I spent time in Papua, doing my Internet browsing behind a 3 Mbps satellite link. Ever since, I’ve been wanting to write an article to summarize some of my main takeaways and musings on what this means for the Internet back home.

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Import, Registration, and Initial Logistics

In my previous post, I mentioned that I had bought my trailer in Vancouver. Only after purchasing it did I realize that I might hit some challenges around importing it into the States. I’m not the best at planning these kinds of things… but it all worked out in the end!

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A New Project…

And now, for something completely unrelated to networking:

In August 2019, I bought a 16 foot fiberglass trailer – a 1977 Boler, to be specific – with the idea of fixing it up and living out of it for a big part of 2020. I’m hoping to use this blog to chronicle the entire build/remodel process, and then cover my adventures in it.

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What Can You Do With 1 Mbps?

The Internet connection in Bokondini is a 1 Mbps satellite connection with a 10:1 contention ratio, which means that actual speeds can get as low as 100 Kbps. We haven’t been to Bok since we turned on the network, but when we were there, we had pretty much unlimited access for the three of us, with a request to use it lightly during school-hours. Even though the connection was a wee bit slower than our 100 Mbps line back home, I grew to really, really appreciate it, and am half inclined to think it’s the perfect amount of Internet. When I talk about our work in Bokondini I often get the question of “what can you do with 1 Mbps today anyways?” so I figured I’d write a post explicitly talking about some of our network experiences.

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Bokondini Initial Roll-Out

All right! Where I left off last time, we had just built the network, turned it off, and headed back to the States (just in time for another round of pitches and conferences). Once back in Seattle, we expected a relatively quick roll-out, but ended up having to pump the brakes while some regulatory questions got sorted out (and David returned to Papua from the States).

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Our Time In Bokondini

First and foremost: a sincere apology to everyone following along! After we left for Papua, everything picked up a lot of steam and was a bit uncertain, and the pace didn’t let up until the end of the year. It’s really a shame I didn’t live-blog the process, but in the next posts I’ll try to re-cap the back half of the year. In 2019, I’m hoping to do better, especially since so many people have reached out to me about the blog asking to know how it went!

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Guest Post on the Internet Society Blog

My colleague Matt Johnson and I got featured on the Internet Society Blog for our work in Bokondini! Reprinted in full below, but you can access the original copy here: https://www.internetsociety.org/blog/2018/09/building-a-community-lte-network-in-bokondini-indonesia/

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CoLTE Won Third Place In The Mozilla WINS Challenge!

I’m thrilled to announce that CoLTE received third place in the Mozilla Wireless Innovations for a Networked Society challenge! The finalist competition was a super fun science-fair-esque bake off, full of different projects and working on bridging the digital divide and helping expand connectivity.

https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/telecom/wireless/mozilla-and-nsf-hand-out-16-million-to-wireless-challenge-winners