What is your Techno Patience Quotient?

I’ll admit, I just made up the term, but I think it is worth consideration. Are you the type of person who clicks many times when you don’t get an immediate response? (Let’s call this is a TPQ of 1.) Or will you wait hours before deciding the computer desktop isn’t coming back? (Let’s call this a TPQ of 10.) What are the benefits, or costs, of high, or low, TPQ? Can “being informed” avoid the problems of high or low TPQ?

First, what are the costs of a low TPQ? For the person, it can be anxiety and anger, which can result in anguish and high blood pressure. For the equipment, it can be increased demands right when it is working its hardest, but it can also result in damaged equipment from being overworked, or from the operator lashing out at it.

“What can the computer possibly be doing that is taking so long?” Well, it may be inefficient software running on old or overtaxed hardware … or the computer may be doing incredibly complex calculations based on data that is being retrieved from overseas servers on lines shared with your neighbours.

Being informed can really help those with a low TPQ. (But, believe me, it is still no panacea.)

It is good to know the relative speed of your computer (5 aspects), your local network (1 aspect), and your Internet connection (3 aspects) … so let’s look at these speed aspects.

Your computer speed can be broken down into its 5 resources: CPU (central processing unit), GPU (graphics processing unit), RAM (short-term storage), HDD (long term storage), LAN (local area network). All of these metrics are now viewable in Windows Task Manager under the Performance tab, and most of them can be monitored on other operating systems. Your LAN speed is typically measured by just one number in Mbps (≤100Mbps is OK, >100Mbps is better). Your Internet speed is often broken down into 3 numbers: ping time in milliseconds (10-20 ms is good), download speed in Mbps (10-1000 Mbps is good), upload speed, also in Mbps (0.5-15 Mbps is good). These LAN/Internet speeds can be checked using https://speedtest.net or similar. When things slow down, it’s good to monitor these aspects of your system that can affect the overall speed.

Having a high TPQ is generally a good thing, but your time is definitely worth something (if not money). Ignoring abnormally-long delays from your technology wastes your time, and doesn’t address the issues causing the delays.

Like anything, taking an informed and balanced approach is the best. Knowing the relative speed of your technology, and the nature of what you are asking of it, helps to identify what a reasonable response time is. If that response time is suddenly high, that can point to an issue that may have cropped up. Identified issues can usually be resolved.