Not for me (yet), although there have been some worrying developments.
Firstly, this one:
which is not great when everyone is stuck at home and needs to use the internet. It also almost crashed the blog, which would really not have been good. Although 6000.co.za is hosted locally, when I tried to update a plugin – a process that usually takes a few seconds – it went to get the update from overseas, got stuck and for a while, I was only able to see:
Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.
on any blog page or post I tried to access. For several or more minutes.
Fortunately, the blog obviously realised that something wasn’t quite right and reset itself before I went to work with a large virtual hammer in the the back end (careful now).
The update will now wait until there is a decent connection to America (or wherever) again.
Then: the neighbourhood group has been alive with fake news on the current situation. Was that Whatsapp voicenote real (no, it wasn’t), should we clean our bin handles (yes, we should), is that man allowed to walk his dog on the school field (no, he’s not). And then in the middle of it all, this gem:
I have just microwaved our newspaper. ( Saturday one is only one we haven’t cancelled because of poor quality even though quality of Sat is not good either)
For the record, microwaving may or may not kill coronavirus. It may or may not burn your house down as well. Do not microwave your newspaper. Just no.
Finally (for the moment, at least): As promised, I have set up an album called The Lockdown Diaries on Flickr. One photo a day during the lockdown. Don’t expect magnificence: this is just giving me something to do while I’m stuck at home, and I’m not going to get images of mountain ranges, racing cars or herds of wildebees being stalked by lions. My scope is a bit limited, which is why it will be a challenge.
This being South Africa, we don’t have the creature comforts of speedy internet at reasonable prices. Sure, could have speedy internet at extortionate prices, but then we wouldn’t have money for other essentials like food and Castle Milk Stout.
Still, the balance that we have found between internet speed and beer money should result in us getting speeds over twenty times as fast as we’re seeing this morning.
Remember my old adage:
Things go wrong. It’s how you put them right that makes the difference.
Our ISP offers help via live chat, whatsapp, email, phone and social media. But they have been conspicuous by their absence from every single one of these: crickets, rien, dololo, niks. South African customer service on point, once again.
And thus we are still in the dark about whether this is our problem (well, I mean, clearly it is our problem, but you know what I mean), their problem or some upstream component that has gone awry. Not that it really matters which of these it is because whichever one it might be, the internet isn’t working. Again.
There was a time when we first came down here to the Southern Tip, that there was no MTN signal and only GPRS internet on Vodacom. Things have moved on since those positively medieval times though, and now there is 3G internet and Vodacom (and still not MTN signal). One can, should one be sufficiently bothered, stream football matches in (almost) HD quality.
But not this week.
I’m no expert on how cellphone transmitters work, but I’d imagine that some have more capacity than others. And it stands to reason that if this is the case, then the ones with smaller capacities will be cheaper than the ones with the larger capacities. So why put in an expensive mast to serve the sleepy villages of L’Agulhas (population: 548) and Suiderstrand (population: er… 44)? Rather save your cash and make your shareholders a little happier.
The trouble is that for a couple of weeks every year, the population of these places is temporarily swelled by several thousand Vaalies who also can like to use the cellphone network and wash their double cab bakkies with the precious local water twice a day.
Our little transmitter wasn’t built for this sort of thing.
And thus, while the MTN consumers in the village are wholly unaffected, because half zero is still zero, I’m completely unable to connect to the internet with any reasonable consistency or speed because everyone else wants to do it too. I started uploading this post three months ago. Even trying to keep up with Sheffield United’s demolition of Blackburn Rovers yesterday was extremely difficult.
Blogging will continue though. No matter what it takes*.