It’s back

After 11½ days, our phone line and internet have been restored.

All hail the technicians who slaved for literally minutes outside our property to make this happen. It’s taken so many “escalations” through various agencies that our connection must be so high that it’s in danger of getting taken out by passing aircraft.

It’s been an irritating, frustrating and eye-opening experience. I’ve learned a few things. Here they are, in no particular order.

We use the internet a lot at home. A lot.

Are we dependent on it? No, not quite. We survived, but only really because we knew that it would come back at some stage. And only then because emails could be written at home and then sent at work. If there had been no outlet like this, it would have been very difficult.

This goes for the kids too. Their school (correctly) assumes that its students will have access to the internet at home. Homework is set appropriately. And so last night, after her music lesson, my daughter sat in the school car park doing her (online) maths homework via their wifi.

It’s simply too expensive to operate on mobile data for any prolonged length of time. Look, mobile is fine for the little things, but then the little things lead to bigger things and suddenly, you’re R200 down after 30 minutes and that’s before you’ve even thought about music or video downloads or streaming. Or blogging.

I know a lot of people, especially in South Africa, don’t have the luxury of the internet at home. Much like electricity and running water (for the moment anyway), I do recognise how privileged we are. But as I mentioned somewhere when we were going through loadshedding – you adapt your life to having these things. When you suddenly don’t have them, you are far less able to cope than those who didn’t have them in the first place. As Phil Collins once quoth:

We had a life, we had a love 
But you don’t know what you’ve got ’til you lose it

I have a lot of catching up to do. Mainly music to download, videos to catch up on, but also pictures to upload, articles to read. Updates to update.

According to one source (because there were differing accounts as to what went wrong), our outage was due to copper theft. I was therefore looking forward to getting our fibre connection sorted. That was until I found that the copper thieves often nick that too, not realising that it’s not copper. Ugh.

I’m disappointed that it took so long to fix. And I do wonder how much longer it would have taken if I hadn’t chased and harried and generally badgered Afrihost and Telkom. It’s been a pain. I’ve been a pain.

I’m not home just yet (writing this during an incubation period on my experiment). But I can hardly wait until I am.

Fair Play: Afrihost sorted my internet problem

You may have read that I had issues connecting to my blog from home and from the lab yesterday. There was plenty of to’ing and fro’ing with Afrihost (who are both my ISP and hosting provider) on email and twitter, but nothing got sorted.
Many kind people made suggestions here and on twitter, but I had floppy beagle issues last night (Colin got snipped and chipped), so I didn’t get chance to do a lot of exploration.

Then, this morning, incoming email from ‘Critical Care’ at Afrihost. I had no idea I was in such a perilous state. And here’s what they had discovered:

As suspected from my side, the Netstat rules for your IPs on your public connection were on the temporary prohibit list which I have now removed and you will be able access the website from all devices from your home network.
I have investigated the reasoning behind the listing and the reason seems to be that the website was attempting to be accessed from these IPs during an update – when security becomes most strict – and rather to be safe than sorry they were listed.
These updates only happen once a year so the likely hood of this happening again is extremely minimal 🙂

Thanks, Michael.

I don’t really understand what went wrong, but to find some sort of analogy, it seems that my home and work network were being tjatjarag and the website felt threatened, probably remarked something along the lines of “So you think you are a king?”, pushed them to the floor and barred them from entering the metaphorical building.

All is sorted now.

Oh, and Colin is much recovered this morning too. Thanks for your concern.

Weird Internet Problem and a Manx Lighthouse

I’m having a weird internet problem. I thought it was due to my ADSL connection at home, but now I’m having the same issue at work as well. I can’t look at my blog. “Lucky Bastard!” I hear you cry. And you could well be right, but it’s also a bit annoying.
Afrihost don’t seem to be able to explain it, so just in case you’re a internet whizz, here’s the info:

When connecting via my Afrihost ADSL, I get a connection timeout error if I try to look at 6000.co.za, or any of the back end. I noticed this yesterday evening. This was across multiple devices: 2 PCs, an iPad, an Android tablet and my Android phone. As soon as I hopped off the wifi and used my Vodacom cell connection, things were fine.
And it wasn’t just on Chrome or any other browser: the WordPress app didn’t connect either.

I could seemingly access every other site (.co.za’s, .co.uk’s and .com’s) with no problem. And other people (including those with Afrihost ADSL in Cape Town) could access 6000.co.za.

So it looked like an issue with my home ADSL, but then exactly the same thing is happening at work as well (where we also have Afrihost ADSL). I’m using TunnelBear to connect via a proxy in Sweden to write this, and that seems to be working just fine.

So, my Einsteiny little friends, what’s going on here? I’m really hoping that someone will turn round and go: “Well, obviously, that’s your QBR settings; go here and click this and it’ll all be fine,” and I will go there and click that and it will all be fine.

Anyway, if you’re still here after that admin and gobbledygook, you’re probably a dies hard reader and you know that I light lighthouses. Here’s one just down the road from us in the Isle of Man: Langness. It’s a great photo, but it was emailed to me so I don’t know who took it, but give that man (or otherwise) a Bell’s. Or even some decent whisky.

langness

And now things are slowing up, presumably because my bear is growing tired of tunneling under Stockholm or Malmö or wherever in Sweden he is (EDIT: Just checked – he’s in Borlänge), so I’m going to end this. Hopefully by tomorrow, I’ll have some answers and will be able to give my ursine assistant some well-deserved time off.

Monday morning

The first day back after the long weekend, and the first day of an almost full week. Finally!
The kids were looking forward to school and I had a definite spring of productivity in my step as I headed into work. Even the traffic wasn’t too bad.

But that was then.

Now – two failed laptops, a broken centrifuge, a promised delivery that hasn’t been delivered, Afrihost’s DSL authentication issue and a kettle that needed a(nother) punch to get it working,  later – any remaining glimmer of positivity has been firmly extinguished. It’s not even ten o’clock and I’m effectively functionally stranded as everything around me falls to pieces.

This obviously isn’t your problem, and I very much doubt you even want to hear about it, but paradoxically, with so much to do, I need a few minutes away from everything just to get my head together. And I need to stay away from equipment and stuff before anything else breaks.

*deep breath*

Right. And now, with a clearer mind, it’s once more unto the breach (although I’d still much rather once more onto the beach).
Have a special day.

Mended…

Sterling work by Charl from Telkom and Aldo from Afrihost has re-established the internet connection at 6000 Towers and, in addition, re-established it at some decent speed.

Suddenly:

datt

Now all I have to do is decide if we can actually afford and justify the hefty price for reasonably quick, reasonably stable internet in South Africa.