Monday 22 April 2019


When I was at the Business Expo 2019 on a pen and post-it gathering expedition, I was lapelled by a seller when I paused near Blacknight solutions an Irish web-hosting and support service. I boasted mentioned that I'd set up a web-server and written my first web-pages in 1994 . . . possibly before she was born. In those early web days, before Dreamweaver, you had to write the HTML by hand in a text-editor. Because the <paininthetits> tags </paininthetits> were awkward to write, and unforgiving of typos, my markup was very simple. The signal [text and diagrams and links] to noise [necessary HTML to split paras] was about 90% words vs 10% <tags>, so it was very efficient even it it looked a bit clunky.

Now the ratio is worse than reversed. Here on Blogspot a recent 775 word posting requires 120,000 bytes of bandwidth to be read in Ballyhaunis or Bangalore.
What Total Text Ratio
Words 10,500 775 7%
Chars 120,000 4450 3%
This problem magnifies if you have fat graphics, or widgets, or ads, or demography-capturing software installed. Why is this a problem? Because 10% [and rising] of the world's electricity is being consumed by internet servers and every extra superfluous redundant fat electron on some dipshit website requires another hydro-electric power station in the Rockies. The other side of the coin is the quixotic pursuit of rural fibre-to-the-farm broadband in Ireland. Why does Bob Bó, living up the remote bohereen in Co Carlow, need broadband? Because it takes 25Mb of HTML nonsense for him to access the Co-op website to order 10 sacks of Ewe and Lamb Muesli [mmmm good].

I tried to explain this to the Young Marketeer from Blacknight but I could see her eyes glaze over with here's-another-batshit-crazy-old-bloke frustration. Because she was convinced she had it all covered:
Blacknight's server is on the right with their huge bandwidth connexion to the Rest of the World. Their client is the Provider on the left. Blacknight want to design a really swish sexy clickable website for their client: all the client needs to do is provide Blacknight with some copy [mission statement; phone numbers; picture of the CEO; dreamy background of green fields and munching dairy cows [4096 x 2048 pixels = 4Mb] . . . and a loada money, of course. Their server serves the data out and the orders come surging in . . .

Except that Bob Bó, not to mention Bhavesh Bangalore, needs to find 10 minutes between milking the cows and breakfast to download the Home Page, let alone get down to the order form. For my money, ISPs and web-hosters could play their part in the band-width crisis. Like we could all play our part in the carbon wars - if we could hold back from consuming energy [wear a sweater inside in winter; don't drive to the shop twice a day; let the kids walk to school] then we wouldn't need another power-station. If clickers need to upload a huge JPG or a fat javascript before they can get down to business, then the designer is at fault. All those megabytes on Dropbox and Friendface - they count carbon too.

1 comment:

  1. hilarious and absolutely 'en point' - I hope Melissa Cristina Márquez (@mcmsharksxx) picks up and reTweets