Sun 12 December 2010

One of the many good things about my guesthouse was the free wifi. No such luck at my apartment.

The Zoom USB modem I bought at home doesn't work with the SIM cards here. Newbie that I am, I didn't understand that the manufacturer has to have a relationship with local cell companies. It has joined the suitcase under the bed, along with the sweater, quarters, and stamps that I won't need until I get home.

Several cell companies are trying to gain market share in Cambodia, so there were lots of choices. My coworkers said Metphone has the best service right now, and one brought me to a Metphone stand to get hooked up. You don't have to go too far to find one. They often have sidewalk booths with loud rock music.

I bought a USB modem for $40, plus $5 for connection time, and a free 500MB to start. Data costs seven cents per 100MB. Pretty cheap, but it goes quickly. It's made me parsimonious. Photo uploads and Kindle books wait until I'm back in WiFi range. I'm back to plain-text email with SSH and Pine.

( I'll post photos from last week's wedding as soon as I check some facts.)

I set my Firefox preferences for no images, no Flash, no Quicktime, and I use the mobile version of websites when possible. I don't notice the difference until I open Facebook with images on again. Suddenly everyone is more vivid and interesting.

Download speeds are slow even with wifi. It takes about an hour to download 100MB. This is sometimes confounding. More sites are using videos for tutorials and documentation. They might be easier to follow, but it's not worth the wait. A conference panel I wanted to watch is out of the question, at 850MB. That 4.7GB Linux distribution is a weekend job on the server.

I've been slowly downloading the tools to jailbreak and unlock my iPhone. The first one took three and a half hours. The second will be an overnight server job. Once my phone is unlocked I can use a local SIM card. Then I can ask a friend how he set his phone up to be a wireless router, and skip the USB modem. The modem is holding up well, but some nights it's unreliable.

My Australian coworker tells me that Internet connectivity is slow and expensive in Australia too. It doesn't come bundled with cable TV. I guess we're well and truly spoiled.

Category: Tech

Tags: cambodia /