Sunday, October 11, 2009

Run, Forrest, Run

Speed is a funny thing, isn't it? It's all relative, as one genealogist said to another. You can be barrelling along the motorway at a happy 70mph and not feel like it's very fast at all, but come off the slip road without breaking quite sufficiently, and you'll know all about it.

I've been much taxed by speed, or lack of it, with my broadband connection of late. It was crawling along at not quite twice the speed of dial-up at one point; not good. I finally had enough when it crawled to slightly less than twice the speed of dial-up, threw away any pretence at having anything else to do, tackled my ISP customer service and things have been done. As a result currently I rejoice in a speed of 1.8Mb - at least ten times faster than any speed I've enjoyed on this connection ever before. It's absolute surfing heaven. However, as I roamed across the face of the interweb in search of advice and information on the matter, I kept reading irate posts on fora from people bemoaning the lousy 4Mb speed (for example) they were suffering from. See? All relative.

I've noticed the same thing with hand tools. The power tool user will tend to feel someone's telling porkies if they describe such-and-such a hand tool as "fast"? Take forming a rebate. How can it possibly be as fast a router and a suitable bit? Putting aside set-up time, chances are it isn't, especially if you have a lot of them to do. But beating the power tool isn't what makes a hand tool feel fast; in some respects it's the fact it can do it at all. For the amount of input and functional simplicity, the output of a well set-up hand tool is breathtakingly fast. It's all relative.

And sometimes it really is faster than than the powered alternative too. Don't you love it when that happens...? ;)

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