Struggling with speed

Here’s the situation Chez 6000 this morning:

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.

I’m very irritated. Again.

Time travel

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*.

 

* terms and conditions apply.

 

Take Down Notice

Here’s an interesting one.

I was contacted by my hosting provider this morning about an ISPA Take-Down Notice (TDN) regarding a post from 2009 on 6000 miles…

Now, first off, let me say that I fully understand that my hosting provider has signed up to the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) of South Africa, and as part of that, they are obliged to follow the rules of that organisation. Those rules state that when a TDN is issued against a site that they host, they must ask that site to remove (take down) the content, and in the event of the site not doing so, “disable the whole site”.

I mean, it’s completely over the top, but that’s what they agreed to, and (presumably) that’s what I agreed to when I signed up with them.

What alarms me is the way in which the ISPA handles these requests: basically, you can force removal of any content on any South African hosted website simply by filling in a form. No evidence required.
Literally, all that the ISPA will do with that form is to check that you filled in all the fields, make sure that the ISP involved is in their association and decide whether the remedial action requested is feasible (e.g. “take down a post” vs. “set light to all the servers in Johannesburg”).

They will then pass it on to the ISP concerned, who are bound by the terms of their ISPA membership to act upon it, and that’s how anyone can fill in an online form and have the content of any SA-hosted  website without question.

The ISPA even boast about how successful their policy is:

In approximately 95% of all cases, lodging a valid take-down notice results in the removal of that content.

“Valid” in this case meaning that you fulfilled those three criteria above, not that the reasons for your request have any veracity or are in any way reasonable.

Of course, as the website owner, you can contest the notice, but notably only after you have taken down the content in question:

If you wish to contest this take-down, you will first need to comply with it and then take this up with the complainant, who’s [sic] information is supplied below, should they not be compliant in finding an amicable solution you then will need to make this a legal matter and address it in court.

Given that the post in question here is about a guy whose company tried to rip me (and it would seem, plenty of other people as well) off for (in some cases) several tens of thousands of Rands (and is apparently still at it), I can’t see this “amicable solution” happening.
And is the legal thing really worth it? Only if it’s sponsored by someone with a lot of time and money, I suppose. Does anyone have any experience of fighting these sort of cases – please get in touch (Email: 6…@6…o.za).

Looks like the only way immediate way around this is to host the “offending” content somewhere away from the unreasonably draconian paws of the South African ISPA then.

Like… I dunno… Google Drive for example.
MAYBE I WAS A BIT TOO SUBTLE HERE.
CLICK THE GOOGLE DRIVE LINK TO SEE THE DELETED POST!

Conn ctiv y prob ems

I’m having a few connectivity problems today. They’re preventing me from uploading a few of the photos I took over the weekend, and which were to be the basis for today’s blog post.

It’s a weird thing that’s happening. The (new) laptop tells me that it is happily and securely connected to any given wifi (I’m having the same issue on 4 different networks I have tried, so I’m guessing it’s the laptop that’s somehow at fault here), but then I can’t do stuff on various programs.

Lightroom can’t connect to Flickr. The connection to Gmail keeps dropping on Chrome (it’s ok for 30 seconds or so, then dies), but Facebook is fine and Twitter seems unaffected too. Uploading anything to anywhere sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t. But mostly doesn’t.
A quick ping of the ISP was faultless. I’ve lowered Firewalls and run troubleshooters.

Nothing so far has worked. I’m now in the process of resetting all my network adaptors. All of them.

If you see a photo on Flickr or on here later, something might have worked.
If not, you’ll just have to follow me on Instagram.

All about today

The difficulties in accessing the back end of the blog continue, and the worst bit is that there doesn’t seem to be any pattern to them. Once there’s a pattern, you can start working out the problem, but at the moment, one device will work on one network, but not another, while another device will work on the the second network but not the first. And then, suddenly, it all changes around.

This post is being written on gmail on a computer that won’t connect to the blog, and then I’m going to cut and paste it into 6000 miles… from my phone, which is connected to the same network but which can see the blog and I don’t know how or why or even who.

Caches have been refreshed, blog plugins have been poked, help has been sought.
It hasn’t made a lot of difference.

Tonight, having enjoyed a lot of football since I arrived, I’m going to watch some football. It’s my daughter’s first ever footy match and it’s a big one. I’m guessing/hoping that we’ll see close on 30,000 at Beautiful Downtown Bramall Lane for the visit of Wolves. A far cry from the 105 who turned up at Sandygate last night to see some woeful refereeing and a 0-2 defeat for The Countrymen, then.
With a late night on the cards, we’ve been taking it easy today, helping Granddad out in the garden and sorting out some shopping, but I still feel like I’m ready for bed. Is there time for a pre-dinner nap? Hmm… possibly.

Oh, and I’ve also tried to upload some photos, but I’m of the mind to do a HUGE upload once I’m back in Cape Town, with LightRoom at my disposal.
There’s some stuff happening on Instagram if you don’t feel that you can wait for my return.