Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Archive for May 2013

Absence/little blogging II: Where have I been?

with 3 comments

My last post read:

As the recurring reader may have noticed, I have not spent much time on my blog lately. This is due to a mixture of work and travel, me partially moving to Düsseldorf with my computer still in Cologne, preparations for my main move, etc. Seeing that the Internet provider for my new apartment has so far failed to activate my connection, there may even be a complete break for some weeks after the move.

It has, in fact, been some years… (OK, exaggeration, but the two year mark is not that far away.)

Unfortunately, the ISP never managed to do its job at all—a common problem in Germany, with Deutsche Telekom (German “AT & T” ) being less than cooperative with the competition, to the point that its negligence seems to border on sabotage. (By means of explanation: Deutsche Telekom owns a disproportionate part of the actual, physical wiring from its monopoly days. They are required to give the competition fair access “from the street” to the telephone socket. However, the work that needs to be done to accomplish this is done by technicians in their employ. For some reason, these technicians often do not show up for the appointments, customers of the competition have to wait longer for an appointment than customers of Deutsche Telekom, and so on.)

Seeing that I tend to spend too much time on the Internet, I decided to let the matter rest for some time, removing myself from temptation. The planned several months came and went, and the topic increasingly slipped of my radar.

Late 2012, starting to get a bad conscience about e.g. unread emails on my main private account, I bought a smart-phone, intending to by-pass the problems by using it as a modem. This did not work (although I could do some minor surfing on the phone itself) and yet more time passed. (No, reading emails this way was not an option, seeing that it was infested with bloatware, which I a) did not trust, b) was prevented from de-installing by the idiotic restrictions of Android. For similar reasons, Internet cafes have not been option either. A strong argument could be made, however, that I should have risked an access from a company computer, despite their using various versions of Windows—as I had with some less important accounts. Then again, here the lesser security risk compared to an Internet Cafe collides with the ethical issue of using employer property for non-trivial private purposes.)

About a month ago, I tried yet another road: A web-stick from pre-paid provider Fonic. I easily managed to get it working with a company laptop, and was content with that for a week or two. However, as I then tried to move on to using my actual computer, an entirely unwarranted blocking of my SIM-card put in a delay of yet another week. (Some weird claims about my needing to prove my identity were raised and it took several emails to clear this up. Notably, I received no notification or explanation for the block before I wrote to complain…) About a week later, I decided to try again. I spent some time downloading extra programs on the notebook one day, and transferred and installed them on my (Linux) computer the next. Everything was set to go, I pressed “connect”, a connection took place, and … nothing worked. Moving back to the notebook, a tentative explanation seemed to offer it self: Poor timing had lead to my pre-paid account being emptied the day before. Now, starting to feel cursed, I tried to send the special text messages that would upload another ten Euro from my bank account—and nothing happened.

In particular, the confirmation that was promised to arrive within minutes was replaced by a declination—more than eight hours later. This message claimed that I had to make an additional registration on the website of Fonic in order to use this payment mechanism. Funny: Not only had I already done this shortly after buying the stick, but I had also already used the very same payment mechanism on at least two occasions with Fonic…

Having no intention to remain with such abysmal service, I did some additional research, eventually settling for a second try with provider Aldi (actually a chain of low-price grocery stores, cooperating with E-Plus for its own pre-paid brand). Earlier this week, I bought a corresponding SIM-Card, fortunately compatible with the previous stick, and could go online on the same day. The prep-work already being done, it was more or less plug-and-play even with Linux.

Assuming that there are no further interruptions and disturbances, I plan to slowly get back to being active on the Internet. However, the exact forms and proportions are still unclear. Importantly, I currently have an enormous back-log to deal with, including dozens upon dozens of articles for my website in various stages of work (from ready-to-publish to first-draft-half-done) and some fourteen hundred emails (most of which, admittedly, are just comment notifications from blogs were I have a subscription on some post).

There have been a few comments on this blog in the mean time; however, fortunately, not very many: This has never been a comment-attracting blog and without new posts…

To the authors: I am sorry for the delay in moderating your comments. It is poor style of a blogger to wait for half-an-eternity—and something that has often annoyed me when on the receiving end. I will try to get them all done in the course of the evening.

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Written by michaeleriksson

May 24, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized