Thursday, January 28, 2010

Technology: Is Your Site DDUD Friendly?

For those like myself that suffer from DDUD (Degenerative Dial Up Disorder), life in our high-speed, high-tech world can be a real frustrating experience (and you may nominate that for the understatement of the decade, if you like). Folks who left the world of DDUD years ago, honestly have no idea what it's like, and can't understand why you can't just download a 958 mega-snazillion-byte file in 90 seconds, the way they do. Back in the day when everyone was a DUD (before it became degenerative), it was just about the same for everyone but it's become much, much worse since virtually NO ONE remembers us DDUDs, when preparing files, creating sites, or using internet technology in general. To add insult to injury, it becomes worse all the time as more and more sites out there completely neglect sufferers of DDUD.

The closest comparison I can think of to help non-sufferers understand, would be picking up your phone to make an important phone call, and not getting a dial tone. So you hang up, pick it up again hoping this time for a tone. Repeat that process 50-100 times, and eventually you might get a dial tone, and the connection might even hold long enough to make the call. Or, it might not (in which case you repeat the 50-100 efforts all over again, or just give up and send smoke signals).

People who do not have DDUD seem to think the solutions are simple. Why not just get DSL? Why not just move? Have you considered satellite internet? Are you kidding me? If DSL were available in 100% of geographical areas, DDUDs would no longer exist. Move? ROFLOL, that's the funny one. Sure, all DDUDs everywhere can afford to just pack up their homes and move to another place where DDUDhood isn't a factor. Satellite internet? Oh sure that's the simple solution, for a mere $399 install + $399 equipment (on a 24 month term) you too can have satellite internet! I don't know about you, but I know lots of people that have 800 bucks laying around.

No, none of the solutions are simple or inexpensive. So I have a suggestion for those who own websites and prepare files for download by the general public.

Please, please PLEASE remember us DDUDs. There are actually still quite a few of us left, and we're essentially locked out of your sites. We can't see your graphics, we can't watch your videos, we can't download your audio files and we can't interact on your sites if you're using the flashy bells and whistles type applications. Those things just do not work with DDUD. If at all possible, please make your sites DDUD friendly! Specifically, if you have audio for download, in addition to your super-duper high quality file, you might want to consider creating a secondary file at a lower rate (trust me, it sounds fine - us DDUDs are quite accustomed to lower rate audio) that is much smaller in size and much more reasonable to download. Us DDUDs cannot download 40mg audio files, unless we want to lock up our entire system and tie up the phone line for the hours it will take to download it. A 15mg file on the other hand, is a fairly reasonable file size and doesn't take all day to download. A DDUD's time is just as valuable as anyone else's, amen?

Just a thought for your consideration.

(I have to give a tremendously large hat tip to brothers James and Rich with Alpha and Omega Ministries who do realize not everyone is enjoying highspeed internet)

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