“Unit on and functioning! Do not hit. I am delicate.”

Wampler Hall Computer LabIf only computers could talk, we’d certainly be a lot nicer to them. In the case of the quote, it’s from Today’s Special, where Sam was rapping on one of TXL’s keys to see if she was on or not. Turns out she was on, and properly admonished Sam for being rough on her keyboard. At JMU, I’m sure that the Internet routers for the campus would be screaming this same thing, provided they could speak. So many students at JMU are upset about the Internet connection speed, which has been absolutely horrendous lately. People have been known to reload multiple times, curse at their machines, some even so far as to hit their computers. The problem with it, though, is that it’s not “normal” network traffic that’s causing the slowdown. It’s all those file sharing systems like Kazaa that are causing the slowdown. People share their files and then leave the file sharing program running all the time, allowing random people to start downloading files from their computers at all hours of the day and night. Personally, I have a thing about bandwidth. That thing is that I paid for it (well, actually, my parents paid for it, but for the sake of the argument…), and so it belongs to me 100%. I don’t like to share my bandwidth. I share no files over Kazaa, and disabled the ability to act as a Supernode over Kazaa’s system. JMU has proposed a number of solutions to the bandwidth issue, each of them varying in impact to its users. The easiest, they say, is for the students to self-regulate, that being to un-share files, and close the blasted program when they’re not around. Up from that is to restrict the big offenders to modem speed, freeing up the bandwidth for the better-behaved users (like myself). And also, my personal viewpoint is that I’m not totally opposed to shutting off access to the file swapping services altogether (note: JMU did not propose blocking file-swapping services). I was pleased that JMU didn’t ban Napster when so many other schools did during my freshman year, but now it’s reached a critical point, where said services are clogging the network to make it a waste of time. But then you also get into another sticky matter… there are times when people have needed the systems to pull files for legitimate academic reasons, like for PowerPoint presentations and such. What do I think about it all? Of the solutions JMU has proposed, being self-regulation and slowing down the big offenders, I really think that self-regulation wouldn’t work, with the thought being that otherwise, we wouldn’t have the problem to begin with. So drop the little oink-oinks that are eating up most of the bandwidth down to modem speed! Maybe I’ll be able to get some legitimate traffic through…

Date posted: September 23, 2002

Notes: JMU ultimately resolved the problem by setting up a system that prioritized the use of Internet traffic based, I believe, on the protocols being used.