Friday, 19 February 2010

I miss my internet

On the plus side, South Africa makes communications far more accessible than the UK. Mobile phones are obtainable, affordable and have a lot of extra services for everyone, including those users that can't afford contracts. Mobile phones are a hugely popular accessory here, even more than in the UK, and people who can't afford houses and live in informal settlements all have phones none the less. Prepaid and value options you can't fault.

In the same vein, the telecoms companies have made mobile internet just as accessible and you can get on the internet using 3G with very little layout. Prepaid topup vouchers can be converted to data bundles with ridiculous ease and used for mobile surfing, 3G using a 3G dongle/modem, or even to use on your PC using your internet enabled phone as a modem.

BUT IT IS SOOOO SLOW, and so expensive (compared to the bandwidth and uncapped services I'm used to in the UK)!!

I've now bought a prepaid 3G SIM card. Steve has a 3G dongle he uses for working from home but doesn't need during the day so I will be able to get on the internet from home that way (as soon as I return from my parents on Tuesday). It's slow and expensive per MB so I won't be uploading photos, video chatting or catching up on xkcd, Girl Genius or Gunnerkrigg Court, but I will be able to have voice conversations over Skype, update the blog a bit more regularly and get on Instant Messenger (as soon as I figure out why my Pidgin won't connect to MSN Live).

As mentioned before, I have requested the landline at the house be reactivated but goodness knows when Telkom will actually come to do it, or when having a landline will graduate to having ADSL.

In the meantime, I am visiting my folks and using up my mom's internet. I still haven't figured out how I'm going to chat without installing Windows Live on her machine - I tried browser based IM but Meebo seems to be buggy as all heck and KoolIM crashed after about 5 minutes.

I guess it's back to good, old-fashioned emails for now!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Vroom, vroom!

If you're not South African, you may not appreciate how vital it is to have a car here to get around. Public transport is eratic, unsafe, overcrowded and unreliable.

After spending a week or two staying at Leighs with no car and just some downloaded series' for company, what was left of my mind went on a little bit of a wander.

We're still waiting to START shipping over GIR (the Ford Focus), so we need a car until then, but we would have needed two eventually anyway.

Steve had had his heart set on a roadster like the Mazda MX5 but we could only afford a second hand car and all the MX5's were really old and a lot of money for what you got. I was very aware that he'd be mostly driving to and from work in city traffic and wanted something fuel efficient that would be cheaper to run and also not help kill the planet quicker.

After test driving a few small cars (Toyota Yaris, Honda Jazz), that we quite liked, we eventually settled on the perfect combination of what both of us were looking for in a car.

Introducing: Roy!

The Smart Roadster Coupe has a retractable (cloth) roof, 700cc engine and a 35l tank. I don't know details like horsepower or torque but I can tell you, it drives like WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

I have only put in petrol once but when I've done a few tanks I'll let you know what kind of usage I get.

It's got enough boot (or, froot, as Steve calls it, because it's at the front) space for about 3 plastic bags of shopping, but who needs practicality when you've got WHEEEEE!!! factor?

Now only to master the art of getting in and out of it gracefully...

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Long awaited update

So, we're well and truly settled in. We have a house. We have a car. We have some furniture. We are blessed and happy.

Unfortunately Steve needs his work laptop back (grrr) so more details will have to wait. What an update, huh? Sorry!

I'll post pictures of the car when I next get a chance to blog, and rest assured the next thing to do is DEFINITELY contact Telkom about getting a landline and ADSL.

Hope you're all doing well, my friends, take care.