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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Starting a New Chapter of "Luddites я Us"

Pining for rural life Yeh, I made a big deal when I started this blog about explaining the "Third World County" title. When we moved here 9.5 years ago, there wasn't a single solitary traffic light in the county. Nowhere was there a four-laned road, let alone a divided highway. And chain stores were unheard of. Sure, people knew there were such things as computers, even computers networked and connected to the internet, even. But the only ISPs were not only out of town, they were out of the county. My first ISP when we moved here was back in OK via an 800 number. Later, local number dialups were made available... by a company two counties away. Today, even though the infrastructure is primitive by most city folks' reckoning, we have, IIRC, eleven traffic lights in the county. Eleven! And three of those traffic lights are in lil old Jane, MO, population of just a couple of hundred souls, if that (Jane hasn't even had a post office for more than 30 years). Chain stores? Dogone it of Dollar General didn't make a move on the county four years ago. And today, Walmart opened a brand new supercenter... in Jane, Missouri (now you know why there are three traffic lights in Jane, eh?) And computers and related technologies? Well, we have a lot of shade tree "computer techs" who put together $300 trash boxes and sell them for $1,000. And a few years ago (along about the year before the millennium turned, you know, the year before 2001) the local telephone company decided to get into "that interned net thingy" in a bigish sort of way offering a local dialup service. Of course, since it was over their phone lines and their servers seemed at times to have been put together with chewing gum and baling wire, that was a lot of fun. So, when they offered "broadband" ASDL, I ran as fast as I could for the cable company's nearly simultaneous offer of cable internet service. So here I sit at my computer, connected (in America's Third World County, no less) at about 2 megabits upload speeds and considerably faster download speeds than the local telco's fastest "broadband" download speeds, griping about how the county's going to hell in a handbasket, because... well, because Walmart has opened a superstore in America's Third World County. (I laugh at irony!) If ever there were a "last straw" that would be it.