My first whole month on SLGo, the wonderful service https://slgo.onlive.com/ that allows those of us with iPads, Android phones and laptops that sell for US$50 on eBay to enjoy Ultra resolution Second Lives at very high (for old computers) frame rates was rapturous. I became a respected artist on Flickr for the very first time, mostly from candid shots. I actually went whole days without crashing on Second Life – even when dancing in crowded clubs which are prodigies of lagginess.
Until five days from the end of the month, when I got that phone call from my Internet provider Comcast (otherwise known as the Antichrist of Electronic Media) warning me that I was this close to exceeding my alloted 300 gigabytes of downloaded content (before SLGo, I was downloading an average of 47Gb/month, most of that YouTube video). Under most Comcast Internet plans, that involves three “courtesy” months where they shrug and let you graze for another 50 gigs.
Then (after you’ve gone over 300Gb a total of three months), Comcast decides they’ve been nice enough to you and “upgrade” you to another 50 gigs for US$10 more on your Comcast bill every time you download over 300Gb a month, and another US$10 for every subsequent 50 gigs over 300 gigabytes of content you download.
I think at this point I’m allowed to lapse and whisper “What the f–k?” I realize that this fate also befalls video addicts who overdo Netflix and other Internet streaming video sites. I realize that ten bucks isn’t a big thing to most of us. It happens to be a big thing to me – I’m a cancer patient on a sharply limited income.
This isn’t the lead-in to a crowdfunding site for Patty’s Second Life. It’s a warning to other Second Lifers who watch their pennies that while the US$9.95/month fee for SLGo access is indeed cheap for what it is, there be dragons on your Internet or cell phone bill.
My final question is: How do people actually manage to use SLGo on their phones for more than a few hours a month? Those few hours blow out the bandwidth allotment on the cell phone plans I see advertised on local television.
While those few hours a month are probably cool beans for those of us who commute once or twice and have wi-fi access on the commute (an increasing number of airline passengers, for example – though you get to contribute to their income stream for that privilege with a US$10 contribution on a one-hour flight), people who tether their PCs on their cell phones are due for a rude awakening.