Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The challenges of technology...

Well, I finally have my Telkom ADSL back. It only took a month to get it reinstalled and have several visits from the technicians to troubleshoot the installation to get it working right. Yesterday I had to call Telkom because I was hooked up to the ADSL line and the router was showing all lights green but I was getting no data transfer.

So, here is the comparison between Cell C and Telkom: when I had the exact same problem with my Cell C stick and I tried to call tech support it took 90 minutes of calls to finally reach one person who didn't know anything about the stick or the network and could not help me; whenever what was wrong with the network was eventually corrected, my data began to flow again (hours later). I called Telkom once, the second person I talked to was the right guy (who actually knew what was going on) who said "let me reset something..." As soon as he did that, it was fixed. The whole thing, from my realization that data was not flowing to the resumption of my data stream, took less than 15 minutes and only one telephone call.

I am not whitewashing Telkom. I've had my issues with them and some of their installation technicians are modern day incarnations of the Keystone Kops, but at least when I call with a problem I can 1) get through to them, usually on the first phone call; 2) get the ear of someone who at least has a clue about the technology that is not functioning; 3) has some reasonable idea as to what to do to remedy the problem. None of the three, in my experience, apply to Cell C when you are faced with a problem with those ridiculous whooshless sticks.

But my technology problems don't stop there. For the past week or so (today being a notable exception) my router has been going nutso. This is a wireless router and not only does internet reception to the laptops depend on it, we have wireless printers, so they depend on it too.

The router is usually left on all of the time. It kind of defeats the purpose of having laptops with batteries that can be used anywhere in the house or garden to have to hunt down a plugged-in device when you want to use the wireless one, so it stays plugged in. This has never been an issue in the past.

When we reinstalled the ADSL, the router had been in constant use during the ADSL hiatus since we needed it to print, no matter what our data source. But once the ADSL line was restored, the router started acting badly. On the off chance that it was a question of age (the router is at least 5 years old), Hubby updated the firmware. It solved the data drop out problem, but now a new problem has begun: it turns itself on and off.

Now this, I think, is absolutely bizarre! I go to bed at night and the router is plugged in and working. I get up in the morning, boot up the laptop, and it can't connect to the web. I go check the router and the lights tell me that it is turning itself on, booting up the in-house wireless, hooking up to the internet...and turning itself off and then after a second or two, turning itself on and starting the cycle all over again!! This will go on endlessly unless I unplug the beast and leave it alone for an hour or so before plugging it back in.

One might think it is an overheating problem, but I tried unplugging it at bedtime and plugging it in come morning and the problem returned. And it doesn't happen every morning...this morning it was just fine. And the problem isn't limited to morning (although it usually occurs then)...over the weekend Hubby had to reset the stupid thing several times in mid afternoon in order to get his internet connection.

I can't figure out if we have a hardware problem, an incoming line problem...or if the cosmos is trying to tell me I am spending too much time on the internet!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

April begins

Hubby's birthday has come and gone...we made a weekend of it, going out to eat, taking in a show, hitting a couple of casinos. It was a great, relaxing weekend.

April in South Africa is roughly equivalent to October in California. The weather is cooling, storms come and go...we've had two bang up rain storms in the last 3 days, one of which has revealed yet another roof leak...and even saturated my convertible sofa. When karma gets around to that lying, cheating, sneaking SOB we bought this house from, he is going to be in a world of serious hurt!!

It is almost too cold for me to go barefoot today, although I am still in sleeveless tops. But before long I will have to unearth my hoodies and long-sleeved Ts, maybe even find my clogs and put away my sandals. Haven't worn my coat in a couple of years now, the cold here is just not that cold, except at night.

The dogs, however, are a different story. Because of my allergies, we have dogs that are single-coated...they never get an insulating undercoat, which means they never shed...but without that undercoat they don't do winter well. The Maltese Mafia have a collection of fleece jerseys...time to take them out and wash and fluff them for the upcoming months...and the Yorkies have velour tracksuits and flannel jammies and nightgowns. Sounds silly, I know, and I'm not trying to fool anyone...my Yorkies wear clothes and I think they look adorable in them...but the winter wear, while undeniably cute, is actually necessary because their outer coat doesn't provide any insulation against the cold. So, they get clothes that go over that outer coat, which then becomes their insulating layer.

We cut a bunch of overgrown trees a couple of weeks ago and uncovered a spindly, sickly little lemon tree beneath the overgrowth, valiantly struggling to find sun. I took a couple of sick-looking leaves to a nursery this weekend and got advice on how to combat the pest infesting it. Just in the short time we've had it uncovered, the lemon tree has begun to thrive. Amazing what a little light and water will do for a plant! Imagine what some fertilizer and compost will do for it!

Little Lovey is growing into a lovely dog. She was five months old a couple of days ago and while she is still brimming over with exuberance and feistiness, she is beginning to "get" the potty pads and such commands as "sit" and "come." She also loves to hear "good girl!"...she gets all quivery and her tail wags like a snapping flag! But she is still a puppy and she is teething just now (time for the big girl teeth) and will chew on anything...last week I caught her chewing on a door!) so she still requires constant supervision (thank goodness for harnesses and long leashes!).

It is overcast today, so I suspect another wave of rain is on its way. I have moved the sofa away from the leaky place and am prepared with pots this time...and I think it is time to go find my slippers as my feet are freezing on this tile floor!

And so autumn comes to South Africa...with luck I'll be seeing a few orange pumpkins in the stores soon (rare here) and then I can make some pumpkin pie (unknown here)...YUM!