Waiting for software to download is the online equivalent of standing in line at the checkout counter. But there are a few things you can do to reduce the frustration.
Good things come to those who wait.
There's no way around it — downloading takes time. Here's a handy rule of thumb. With a 28.8 Kbps modem, it takes about 10 minutes to download a 1 megabyte file. Netscape Communicator Professional, the latest version of the popular Web browser, is almost 12 megabytes in size. You do the math.
Where you shop matters.
Geography is irrelevant on the Net, right? Wrong. Whenever a software directory lists more than one download site, always choose the site closest to you. It speeds up the transfer.
When you shop matters too.
Like almost everything on the Net, online stores are busiest between 5 PM and midnight. If you want to avoid the crowds — and download faster — visit in the morning.
You can't use what you can't find.
There's nothing worse than spending 45 minutes on a download, only to spend another 20 minutes searching your hard drive for the new program. To avoid confusion, create a separate download folder before you shop and always download to that folder.
A version of this article appeared in the June/July 1997 issue of Fast Company magazine.