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Author Topic: Myopia and the Outside World  (Read 5876 times)
chris Johnston
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« on: July 30, 2007, 08:50:06 AM »
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Hey here’s a news flash, for most of the world big downloads and overblown flash sites are clicked out as soon as they start. Contrary to opinion most of the world does not have access to high speed downloads.

4 thumbs down to LL and crew for deciding not to make “The Craft of Fine Art Printing “available on DVD. 7 hours at 64kb connect speed = 37.5 hours to download. When I queried MR on this I was told.

I'd like to meet the needs of everyone. But, the reality is that the DVD business no longer makes economic sense for us, and most people now have fast enough connections to allow for downloads (75%+ in Europe, North America, most of Asia, Australia etc). Of course there will always be places without broadband connectivity, but they are in decline.

Interesting in that I have posted my complaint on a couple of Yahoo groups and Fred Miranda and far more people seem to suffer with low speed connections then seem to have them at least those that are motivated to reply to my rant.

In that part of the money from this video is to go towards funding  the endowment, logic suggests that it would be prudent to offer it up in as many formats as necessary to acquire as much lucre as possible.

My suspicions are that many of the applicants for funding under the endowment will want to go photograph in the third world, it’s too bad that at the outset the third world is frozen out of the process.

Chris@johnston.com.na
Omaruru Namibia
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michael
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2007, 09:31:48 AM »
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Chris,

Though there are vocal people on discussion forums, the stats I gave you are from industry surveys, not anecdotal responses.

Though it's been discussed here before, I'll repeat it again. The business of mailing plastic (DVDs) has become uneconomical. Postage rates for media have gone through the roof over the past year or so. It can now cost 2X to 3X the cost to mail a disk as to manufacture it.

Since 9/11, mail, especially into the US, has become very slow. It is not uncommon for packages to take 2-3 weeks in the mail. People complain, we send a replacement and then a few days later the first one arrives. When shipped in bulk to local zones bags of mail will often languish for days before being distributed. Disks arrive damaged, no matter how we package them. Disks go missing, being stolen from mailboxes.

Duplication of small product runs, warehousing and fulfillment, are costly, especially in small volumes. When it was the bulk of our business that was one thing. Now that it is only a small percentage of ort business it's another. The smaller it gets, the more expensive it gets, the less business of this sort we have, etc, etc.

When we started video publishing 6 years ago we asked if people would prefer VHS tape or DVD. The vast majority said DVD, and that's the business we went into. Those that wanted VHS (about 20% at the time) were pissed and moaned and groaned. But, I wonder how many today, just 6 years later, would ask for VHS. (Then, a DVD player cost $500. Today they cost under $50).

I don't mean to diminish the needs of those people who live in parts of the world that don't have broadband. It's a real issue. Up until last September I spent 4 months a year at my place in the country (northern Ontario) with only 24K dialup. Try running a web site that way. Not fun.

The bottom line is that though we sympathize with those without broadband, it does not make business sense for us to provide DVDs for this deminishing segment of the market.

Here's my suggestion. Since the files are not in any way copy protected, they can be burned to a DVD. Have someone who you know do this, and then mail the disk to you.

Of course we would expect that you would also then purchase the tutorial through our store, even though you were unable to actually download it.

Hope this makes sense, and maybe there will be some members here who would volenteer to do this.

Michael
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2007, 10:18:37 AM »
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I have broadband (DSL, which admittedly isn't as fast as FIOS). My system can usually download files from anywhere in the world at decent download speeds. But here is a list of the speeds I have been getting from Luminous Landscape in my attempts to get the Camera-to-Print tutorial (all in KB/sec):

47.9 (succeeded),
46.1 (succeeded),
44.9 (succeeded),
128.8 (failed),
23.2 (failed),
23.7 (failed),
24.9 (failed),
12.0, <unknown> (failed before it downloaded anything at all),
0.6 (failed within a couple of minutes),
24.9 (succeeded),
98.6 (failed).

Another file has been downloading for over two hours now, starting at slightly over 103 MB/sec, but currently making only about 77 MB/sec.

The first three successful downloads (at fairly sluggish rates) occurred before the general announcement. Since then there have been hours at a time when I haven't been able to connect to LL at all. So far today the situation is slightly better, but I have had one successful download and two failures today.

I can only conclude that LL still isn't equipped to offer downloads.
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francois
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« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2007, 02:35:01 AM »
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I downloaded all the segments without any problem and all at ~380kb/s. The tutorial wasn't announced yet. I was looking for something else in the store and noticed the tutorial...

I was lucky, indeed!

 
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2007, 05:55:23 AM »
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I can only conclude that LL still isn't equipped to offer downloads.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=130646\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The Internet has too many and varied 'bottlenecks' for everyone to have the same experience all the time. Since Michael's servers obviously can, and do, serve the files at the correct rate, anyone experiencing slower speeds would do well to remember this. No server yet built can serve an unlimited number of files concurrently.

I am in Australia on a very standard 1.5m ADSL connection and all the files came in at 160kbps which is as fast as I have ever had from any source.
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Nick Rains
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2007, 09:30:07 AM »
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The Internet has too many and varied 'bottlenecks' for everyone to have the same experience all the time. Since Michael's servers obviously can, and do, serve the files at the correct rate, anyone experiencing slower speeds would do well to remember this. No server yet built can serve an unlimited number of files concurrently.

I am in Australia on a very standard 1.5m ADSL connection and all the files came in at 160kbps which is as fast as I have ever had from any source.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=130812\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I will modify my comment to state that I feel that LL certainly wasn't equipped to handle the number of downloads requested this past weekend. That number may have been large, but it wasn't "unlimited."

In between attempts to download from LL, I successfully downloaded files from other sites at about 150 KB/s, which is pretty normal for my system.

Since it is quite likely that in the future we will have other, equally desirable projects from Michael, Jeff, and Chris, I do hope the server will be upgraded to one that would, indeed, have handled the workload experienced this past weekend. There were numerous times over the weekend when I could not connect to LL at all, while other sites (many more distant) came up virtually instantly.

I'm curious as to just when you were doing 160 kbps downloads?
« Last Edit: July 31, 2007, 09:31:26 AM by EricM » Logged

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michael
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« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2007, 10:21:23 AM »
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I really wish people would have all the facts before making catagorical statements.

I've commented on the facts elsewhere already, but I'll do so again here for clarity.

We have 1MB/s bandwidth availability on our server. That allows 100 simultaneous video downloads at 100k/bs, which under any normal circumstance is more than enough.

The first two days of the print tutorial availability saw as many as 200 – 250 simultaneous downloads requests. This was caused in large part by people trying to download multiple files at the same time, even as many as 10.

To prevent the server from crashing we throttled each download channel to 50 k/bs and sometimes even lower when the traffic really got congested. This was unsatisfactory for everyone, but necessary to keep the server up. Unfortunately it meant that some downloads timed out, or the zips got corrupted.

For the past 18 hours or so, with the initial rush over, the server is very stable, and we have  each download channel set to to 100k/bs. This is not as fast as it could be, but fast enough for most people. It means though that 100 people can be downloading at the same time, which is more than currently needed, but accommodates busy periods nicely.

I have been monitoring download speeds almost every hour for the past 24, and no one is getting less than 100k/bs. If they are, it's almost certainly congestion somewhere else in the network, not from our server.

We are also differentiating between high capacity demands, like downloads over 200MB and other server requests. Bandwidth for normal site transactions are unthrottled and therefore should be as fast as ever.

When we see traffic subsiding we will increase download speeds again, or remove throttling completely.

We regret any inconvenience and frustration that the past few days have caused, and thank everyone for their support. I'd also like to add than since we launched over the weekend we have been able to put nearly $7,000 into the Endowment Fund, which is very gratifying. I'd like to see at least $50,000 in it before we issue our first grants in about 6 months.

Michael


Michael
« Last Edit: July 31, 2007, 10:26:21 AM by michael » Logged
BlasR
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« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2007, 12:49:18 PM »
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First I was one of those the download all files at once ,sorry for that.

Second, Omaruru, if you pay for the files, I can make a copy & send it to you.
just let me know in I will ship it, on friday..(Sorry is the only time my wife let me go out).
You pay LL and I pay for shipping how it sound?

Now $50,00.00?  uff I like to be part of the money,,How I can get some cash from those $ 50,000.00 ?  Oh god I just say $50,000.00.?

That is alot of money,,I need some.

Now lets me continuos enjoying my files.

Poor Eric.

 Eric if I get some of those $50,000.00 ( woww Just saying $50,000.00 it's bring me smile in my face  ) I can pay for you to came to my house and copy the files,in then  you going to be able to enjoy again.


Omaruru, Please let me know.

BlasR
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mikealex
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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2007, 05:04:37 PM »
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I really wish people would have all the facts before making catagorical statements.
So do I.

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We have 1MB/s bandwidth availability on our server. That allows 100 simultaneous video downloads at 100k/bs, which under any normal circumstance is more than enough.
That is not even close to being true. I'll remind you that I have several years of practical experience designing and implementing protocols, servers, and clients to perform high volume data transfers, including servers that could efficiently handle large numbers of clients (in the thousands).

IP protocols have an inherently high overhead, mostly in the form of packet headers, but other forms as well. HTTP, not being designed for large data transfers, is among the most inefficient protocols used for downloading files. FTP is better, but still not good.

On top of that, IP networks also have a large overhead associated with them, particularly when run over ethernet (which is likely the connection between your server and the gateway to your service provider). Ethernet networks are based on collision detection and recovery. They do not look to see if there is traffic on the network before blasting their packets out. If there is traffic already on the wire, the traffic from both machines is corrupted, which will be detected, and the machines will retransmit after a random timeout. Using switches in place of hubs helps reduce these collisions, but does not prevent them.

On a moderate sized network, ethernet reaches about a 40% efficiency (meaning a 1MB/s connection becomes 400KB/s). When you remove the 20% typical overhead of an IP network, your 400KB/s becomes 320KB/s.  From this, you can now deduct the overhead of the HTTP protocol (which I unfortunately don't remember off the top of my head, but it is fairly high). From this, you should be able to see that your 1MB/s is nowhere near what you actually deliver to your customers.

This is a worst case scenario (well, not really, but probably worse than your situation). Your server is probably (hopefully) on a relatively small network, such that the network efficiency will be more in the 60-70% range. But, even if you were to connect two machines to a private network by themselves, and transfer a large file between them, you would still not get near the full bandwidth of your network connection, more likely 80-85%.

Quote
The first two days of the print tutorial availability saw as many as 200 – 250 simultaneous downloads requests. This was caused in large part by people trying to download multiple files at the same time, even as many as 10.

To prevent the server from crashing we throttled each download channel to 50 k/bs and sometimes even lower when the traffic really got congested. This was unsatisfactory for everyone, but necessary to keep the server up. Unfortunately it meant that some downloads timed out, or the zips got corrupted.
This would be largely ineffective for at least two reasons. The first, all the timeouts are going to result in your customers retrying, creating even more traffic on your server. Secondly, bandwidth is only part of the problem.

Virtually all HTTP and FTP servers spawn off child processes to handle the clients, resulting in a very large number of processes running on your server. This creates a situation of CPU thrashing, where the processor is spending more time switching between all these processes than it does actually executing them. It also causes process starvation, which means the amount of time between when a processor is kicked off the CPU and when it gets to run again is too long. Starvation leads to buffer overruns, and other such nasty problems, since buffers are not being serviced by the owning process.

Large numbers of processes running also results in thrashing of you I/O resources (primarily, your hard drive). All of these running processes are all trying to access different areas of your hard drive, causing your disk heads to be thrashing all over the place. If you look at your server state, you'll likely see a very large amount of I/O grid lock, as the hard drive attempts to service all the read requests coming from all these different processes. (This will also lead to premature failure of your hard drive, BTW).

When you first announced the move to downloads instead of DVD, I remember asking if your server could handle it. You assured me it had been upgraded, and would not be a problem. I thought you were mistaken then; I know you were mistaken now.

I know you're wishing you had heard the last from me, and with this, you have. It's obvious now that your infrastructure is not capable of handling the demand of download video, as I suspected all along. You are pushing your problems and frustrations of delivering your product onto your customers, and IMO, that is not good business.

...Mike
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« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2007, 05:27:09 PM »
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You are pushing your problems and frustrations of delivering your product onto your customers, and IMO, that is not good business.

...Mike
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=130900\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

So shop elsewhere...
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Nick Rains
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mikealex
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« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2007, 05:37:26 PM »
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So shop elsewhere...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=130905\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I do. I canceled my LLVJ subscription a few weeks ago.

I admit, I purchased and downloaded the printing tutorial, since I had been looking forward to it before deciding to cancel my LLVJ subscription. I was fortunate enough to see the posting to the forum early, and downloaded before the rush. But it is likely my last purchase from LL.

I appreciate the work that goes into these productions, and I value the material. But I don't appreciate Michael's attitude towards his customers, and this whole download mess is not the first issue I think he has mishandled.

I have been dealing with Chris on several issues through e-mail, and he has been very helpful and cordial. Michael could learn something about dealing with customers from him.

Oh, and if you read my entire post above, you'd see that I've actually attempted to give Michael some information to better understand the nature of download servers, which could help him improve his own servers. Admittedly, it was written in a bit of an "I told you so" way.

...Mike
« Last Edit: July 31, 2007, 05:56:48 PM by mikealex » Logged

...Mike
michael
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« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2007, 06:11:04 PM »
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Nothing technical in your email surprises me. Our network tech has explained this all to me. But, just as when teaching someone how to use Photoshop I wouldn't jump in and explain layer masks, neither am I interested in providing laymen (like me) with detailed explanations of why their downloads are slow, with network bullshit-baffles-brains. The real issue is, are people getting their files?

For the first 48 hours there were problems and our server was under-resourced for the demand. On the other hand I've been in the telecom business long enough (20 years, though not as a provisioning engineer) to know that one doesn't provision for extremes, particularly when those extremes are unquantifiable. That makes no business sense.

You are likely absolutely correct in your explanations. I defer to your superior knowledge in this area. On the other hand, since the bubble of the first 48 hours has passed we are now nicely coping with server demands, and so the debate is somewhat moot.

Chris is a much more patient person that I am.

Michael
« Last Edit: July 31, 2007, 06:12:40 PM by michael » Logged
frankric
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« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2007, 08:20:08 PM »
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I've been a little surprised at some of the strident critcism of the inability of the LL server to cope with the heavy initial demand for this tutorial. Surely waiting a few days for the initial rush to subside is not too painful? Still *much* quicker than waiting for a DVD to be mastered, duplicated and shipped......

Three days after the announcement I have downloaded six of the files so far at a consistent speed of very close to 100 kb/s. I have an ADSL connection.

I do understand the frustration of those on slow connections and if you live in Australia and are in that position I'b be happy to burn a DVD and post it to you after you have purchased the tutorial as Michael has suggested elsewhere.

So far I've only watched the first two segments. Looking forward to the rest.

Regards

Frank
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shootergirl
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« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2007, 07:46:43 AM »
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I've been a little surprised at some of the strident critcism of the inability of the LL server to cope with the heavy initial demand for this tutorial. Surely waiting a few days for the initial rush to subside is not too painful? Still *much* quicker than waiting for a DVD to be mastered, duplicated and shipped......[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=130940\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I completely agree. I'm on a super fast connection here at work. It was a slow download. I coped by letting it run while I did my work. Yes, it was frustrating at first because I kept losing the connection. I simply waited a while, then tried again. And all of it was much much much faster than waiting weeks and weeks for my DVD.

I'm one of those people who only has dial-up available at home. If I wasn't able to use my work connection, I would go to town to the library or the local restaurant where they have free wi-fi and park myself in a booth with a tasty chocolate malt (okay, any excuse for a chocolate malt!) and download them there.

So at least for me, a person that lives in Farm Country, Wisconsin, there are ways to get access to download these files. However, I can't speak for others who might not have free, fast access available anywhere nearby.

And, I must say, they were well worth it! I'm amazed at the information packed into the segments! I love, too, that I can pause on a CLEAR, close-up screen shot that shows settings and jot them down for later or easily rewind and go over something again that I didn't quite catch. The humor between Michael and Jeff is quite welcome, too. It adds life to what could have been very boring (but informative) video. Thanks to all involved! Well done!

Donna
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2007, 12:08:11 PM »
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Now if I could have downloaded a Chocolate Malt while waiting for the LL server, I would have been much less grumpy.  
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michael
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« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2007, 02:13:37 PM »
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Chocolate malts are fattening. Our tutorial isn't, and also has no trans fats or artificial additives.

Michael
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shootergirl
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« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2007, 03:29:37 PM »
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Chocolate malts are fattening. Our tutorial isn't, and also has no trans fats or artificial additives.

Michael
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=131058\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Wow, who would've ever thought the tutorial was not just good for your brain, but also good for your body?  

I think, though, that I'll still sneak in an occasional chocolate malt. If I could download them on dial-up, I'd probably never leave home.    

Donna
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2007, 03:38:22 PM »
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Chocolate malts are fattening. Our tutorial isn't, and also has no trans fats or artificial additives.

Michael
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=131058\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I'm tempted to suggest an "overall satisfaction"  shoot-out between the tutorial and the Chocolate Malt, except I think I can predict the results: The Chocolate Malt may have a slight edge in the "instant gratification" department, but the Tutorial will be a hands-down winner in the "long-term satisfaction" category.

But still: the combination could be heavenly . . .  
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« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2007, 04:28:08 PM »
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At the end of the day, if I were in Michael's position I'd choose which path I wished to take (which obviously isn't DVD media) and stick to it.

Nobody's arm is being twisted - nobody is made to buy LL's products, they're invited to buy and do so of their own choosing.

If you've bought and are unhappy with the quality of the product then it's only right you air your views, but it's nigh on pointless harking back to a decision which has been made, and is likely to be kept to.

So long as the downloads are of good quality (as good, if not better than the DVD's), and can be downloaded in a reasonable time, then personally speaking I'm happy.
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