Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Adventures in Technology

Well! I've been gone for a few days. Where did I go you ask? Short jaunt through the Third World. :-)

Saturday night we lost our internet connection. This afternoon (Wednesday) we got it back. In between we did a lot of useless things starting with switching the modem off and on, calling the ISP who told us to switch the modem off and on, and then calling the ISP back, at which time they stopped answering the phone.

Monday, from the office, Ted emailed the ISP. No response. Tuesday he got cranky and managed to get some personal cell phone numbers of the people we needed to talk to. Then he passed the potato to me since I'm here with the equipment, and I called the technician who had originally hooked up our connection. He told me to turn the modem off and on. I did. He checked our connection from his end, told me I didn't have one, and asked if he might come to the house and fix it.


Oh well, what's one more day?

So today they came. And now we are fixed.

For the time being.

Actually, we really like our ISP- they are called Third Rail (most Twi speakers in Ghana are unable to pronounce the 'th' dipthong, so they substitute 't'- so Theodore becomes Tee-odore, Earth becomes Ert, etc. Imagine our childish glee when they first answered their telephones "Hello, Turd Rail!"), and they are very up to date and knowledgeable, but they are stretched so thin for staff that you could read a newspaper through them, and they are on the go all day every day. Our original hookup came when the technician showed up at our house at 9:30PM on a Friday night. Our first hiccup was fixed on a Sunday. So when they don't answer our calls, we don't take it personally.

In order to provide us with broadband internet, they erected a mast with some tile thingies on our roof and pointed it at the University of Ghana which is just across the hilltop from us. This mast sways alarmingly in the wind, but it is bolted to the house in three places and cabled to the roof in two more. We'll see what happens when the seasonal winds (the Harmattan from North Africa) kick up in December, January, and February. So we have the fastest connection available in Accra- seriously faster than other ISP's dial up here- on good days (and at 3AM- that's when I download pictures!) we manage about 256kps, but still not the screaming DSL we had in Houston. So we just pretend it's 1991 and we are back in California when we marveled at our 28.8kps dial up connection.

Bottom line, if I disappear like I did the last few days- never fear! We are probably just in the middle of another trek through the Turd World. I mean Third World. :-)