Not today, Josephine

As the rain falls over Cape Town again this evening, and we take time out to thank those who eventually got around to praying for it, I am writing this and then getting back off the internet, pronto.

See, when “big things” occur overseas, the internet – most especially the rage-first-(maybe)-think-later little bit of the internet called Twitter, which is where I spend most of my internet time – becomes an extremely unpleasant place to be.

There are always people out there who think that they know better than you. The ‘thought-leaders’, the self-appointed ‘Twitterati’.
And look, in some cases, maybe they do.
But the thing is that these people are of a mind that they always know better than you. They’ll go out of their way to remind you of that, and tell you what you should be thinking, feeling, saying or doing. I don’t like these people at the best of times, but at the worst of times (like when a “big thing” happens overseas), these individuals step up their obnoxious campaigns a hundred fold. We are policed, we are told that we must use this word and never use that word. And, again, I’ll happily say that if once you had evaluated their plentiful demands, and found that in some instances you were left wanting, well, fair enough. But in these cases, that doesn’t happen, because there are no right or wrong answers in these cases; only the dictionaries favoured by one political movement or ideology – theirs.

They get their kicks and their pleasure by preying on people, most especially after these “big things” happen. Of course, I don’t ever give in to this thought-policing, but that wholly justified resistance has, in itself, implications. And what I should be doing is sticking my head above the parapet and telling them to pipe down a bit and refrain from getting their knickers in a knot. But when you do that, well, then come the smears, the labels, the faux outrage, the anger (and that’s the only fun bit, really).

And why on earth would I, a mere microbiologist and reluctant beagle owner, want to get involved in that sort of crap? Sure, I’ll happily fight my own battles, but when it comes to repeatedly shouting at the abyss that is their collective beliefs, I’d rather save my time. But remember:

Withdrawing in disgust is not the same as apathy

Because while these people are thankfully free to air their feelings across the internet and beyond, I am equally free to take note of who is saying what and pass my own mental judgement on them. So that next time, when they proffer an opinion or point of view – even on something wholly unconnected with any “big thing” – for me, it will come served with a side salad of pre-warning and prior knowledge.
If it sounds like I’m talking about you, I probably am.

And that’s why once I’ve hit the publish button on this, I’m going to switch off the internet and try to take a second-tier Danish side to the UEFA Champions League Final on FIFA 17.

You should try it – it’s much nicer than the real world.

Not a big problem

There are many good things about where I am right now. Geographically, I mean. (Mentally, things aren’t too bad, but it’s still a bit busy up there.)

But I digress. Often. (That’s one of the symptoms.)

One thing that is a bit sketchy here is the internet. It’s not fast and it doesn’t always work. That might not seem like a big problem, and that’s because it’s not a big problem, but for me, internet access is important because I read the internet like other people read books around the pool.
(Obviously, also, there’s blogging to be done.)

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And when I’m not around the pool, I’m on the beach (above) or snorkeling on the reef or getting better at archery (admittedly from a rather low starting point) or something else.

But it’s nice to have the internet to fall back on when you want to catch up or share photos with friends and family. When it’s not available, I have to occupy my hands with holding a beer.

Like I said, it’s not a big problem.

4K ISS TV

This looks good:

NASA TV is launching a dedicated 4K channel

Here’s the skinner:

NASA has announced that it will launch a new 4K television channel dedicated to showing UHD footage on November 1st.

The space agency is working with a company called Harmonic, a video delivery infrastructure company, to launch the channel. NASA is calling it “the first ever non-commercial consumer ultra-high definition channel in North America.” Harmonic is providing NASA Television with the ability to deliver the 4K (2160p at 60 frames per second) video. NASA’s 4K channel will primarily feature the UHD footage that the agency has been filming on the International Space Station over the past few months, as well as 4K time-lapses created from images taken aboard the ISS.

Which sounds like something that would be right up my street. And super educational for the kids as well. Also, can you imaging one of those 4K time-lapses on the big screen at a party or something? Magic. But hang on…

You will be able to access it on the internet on most devices, provided you have access to a connection of 13 Mbps or higher.

And that’s going to instantly rule out 99.9% of South Africa. Even if you’re going to use your 3G HSDPA or LTE mobile connection (which would easily be fast enough), with that sort of download, you’re going to chow your monthly bandwidth allowance in about 1.4 seconds.

Not great.

On EDGE

Towards the end of last year, Vodacom upgraded the internet service in Suiderstrand from EDGE to HSDPA. That was great, although quite why they didn’t go all the way and make put an LTE connection in, I don’t know. But perhaps that’s because I’m not a mobile telecommunications expert. Maybe there’s more to it than just plugging in one ‘magic box’ instead of another. Who knows?
(Obviously, mobile telecommunications experts know, but I’m not one of them.)
(I may have already mentioned this.)

The whole HSDPA thing is great. It allows Skyping, blogging and Flickring without the constant frustration of waiting. For.

Things.

To happen.

But sadly, today, it’s gone away again. And we’re back to EDGE. Once more, I don’t really understand how this can happen. Surely you either have a connection or you don’t?
The strength of the signal remains solid – it’s the speed that isn’t there. S’odd.

Still, recognising the need of my readers, I did manage to upload some pictures to flickr. <~ That’s the link, right there.

17015976046Of course, it hasn’t cost any more to upload all those photos, since we’re charged by MB and not by time for our internet these days. It did take nearly two hours though. And that’s easily enough time to get through a nice bottle of red wine, I have discovered.

Out in the sticks

Thankfully, we have enough food and water, but there are always other essentials that aren’t so readily available:
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Obviously, there’s some Internet connection or other though, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this.