Not sure there is much to report today, or for the past few days, but there are actually some people out there who are concerned when I don’t post regularly. My biggest issue right now is technology.
Looks like, even if I try to be frugal, that I am a bandwidth hog. It’s so easy when you have cable for a flat monthly fee. You leave your computer (and thus its Internet connection) on when you’re not using it. You think not at all about downloading a movie, or watching endless videos on YouTube, or uploading your own videos. The cable is still there. The price is the same. The bandwidth is great. What’s to worry about?
I am now on my third SIM card. Bandwidth ran out on my second one last night and I can’t renew the first one until Jan. 15. This I deduced after three visits to the cellular store. Why three visits? Read on.
But first, the tale of the infected app. I’m sure there are many of you, like me, who use OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office. It’s free and it’s compatible with MS. Never had any problem with it – until recently. For some reason, files wouldn’t open except with a work-around. There was an error “shield” on top of the OO icon on my desktop. Something was wrong.
For some reason, a file that was instrumental in the working relationship between MS Office and OpenOffice disappeared. Every time I tried to open OO I had to allow an .exe file to be used. I was able to find some work-arounds but obviously the cure was needed. So I went to the Internet, searched for the file I needed and found several companies that said they could fix my problem.
Yeah, right! First, I tried to buy a software product ($10/month – only needed it for a day), but the company’s site basically crashed. So I went for the next economical provider ($30/year), paid for it, downloaded it, ran it, cleaned up my computer quite nicely, thank you – and, wait for it …….. Still had the same problem. I complained to the software company. They were very nice and suggested a way to fix my problem – after saying their software wasn’t really designed to fix my problem. After implementing their suggestions, the problem is now worse. In fact, I was unable to open the OpenOffice app on my desktop.
Now, we can go back to my Internet problem. My second SIM card actually ran out of bandwidth while I was trying to download a new version of OpenOffice. That means I went through 20 gigabits of bandwidth in about five weeks. And that’s with me trying to economize on the second SIM card. Bandwidth hog.
This morning (Jan. 11, 2012), when I couldn’t access any Web sites or e-mail, I realized it was time to walk to the WIND store for a recharge. I had prepared a written translation of what I wanted. No problem. For 15 euros, I have another 10 gigs to use until Feb. 11. Of course, that won’t be nearly enough, but I still have my other SIM card that can be recharged on Jan. 26 for another 10 gigs. Just have to make it two weeks.
Not quite. When I returned to the apartment and test drove my recharged SIM, I couldn’t get on the Web or receive e-mail. Another trip to the WIND store, but I had to wait for three hours until they reopened at 4 p.m. I already suspected, by the way, that the reason the card wasn’t working was because the end of the previous month wasn’t until Jan. 14, three days away.
My second visit to the WIND store was somewhat stressful (due to the language difficulties) but the woman told me she needed to see my laptop. I thought this strange and useless but I left, went back to grab my laptop, and returned to the store. (As an aside, counting when I went on my morning walk, this now makes three times I’ve had to climb those darn stairs today. The knees are not happy.)
Of course, Web pages showed up at the store, albeit very slowly. Apparently, they have a better connection there than I do. However, the woman told me (don’t ask me how), I would not have anything better than dialup speed until the 15th four days away. Not acceptable, I said, sort of. I need it today (oggi), now (adesso). I actually used those words.
So what happened? I insisted on buying a new SIM card for 30 euro. Four days without Internet was too steep a price to pay. I can only watch reruns of a select number of shows I’ve downloaded so many times before nausea sets in. She was surprised. But I still didn’t have what I wanted. The card would not activate until the following day. So I’m writing this the night before my Internet capabilities go back online.
Oh, and one more thing. Apparently, in all this mayhem, I’ve lost the first SIM card. It may be at the WIND store. I’ll check. The significance is that you only pay 15 euro to recharge a SIM card, but 30 euro to get one initially. Hopefully, I can stretch my two remaining cards to last until Feb. 20. I doubt it. (P.S. Found my lost SIM card on the kitchen floor the next morning – after walking to the SIM store with another written translation asking if I had left it there.)
Everything is working fine now. I was even able to download OpenOffice this morning – only to see I still have the same problem with it. I love technology.
On to Greece
My next stop in my journey may not happen (more later) but my research and outreach is bringing benefits. I now have at least four possible apartments, including possibly renting a private room and bath in a building for students. That would be wild. I’ve asked if they will accept an old guy like me. I’ve also been able to connect with a couple of expats in Athens and it looks like I should have a good support network there. Starting to get pumped!
But, wait …
After 21 months of sending out resume after resume and never receiving an interview opportunity, I might have gotten a nibble. This is a startup English-language newspaper and e-newspaper for an expat community in …. wait for it … Indonesia. A seasoned australian who has lived in Indonesia is heading up the operation, which will include all the usual digital bells and whistles now associated with publishing. You know, blogs, Web sites, social media. They need someone with exactly the kind of experience I have, as well as someone with some international experience. There’s a lot of writing involved, too. Here’s some of what was in their ad:
“You will be accommodated within a resort-style community, occupied mainly by friendly, informed and well-travelled Western expats. It has a swimming pool complex (all year round), restaurant/bar, international satellite TV services, wireless Internet and more. It is located close to modern shopping, health, entertainment and other facilities. You will easily be able to explore other cities and regions of Indonesia, travelling by inexpensive and modern domestic air services. You will be a short ferry journey (about an hour) from Singapore from where you can readily explore other destinations in South-east Asia travelling on low-cost Budget carriers like Tiger, Air Asia and Jetstar.
“A basic retainer/living allowance of … per month. Free air-conditioned accommodation with Western comforts and facilities and maid service. Food allowance to cover meals provided from our restaurant (good Western and Asian food). Staff discount on drinks purchased from our restaurant or bar. Reimbursement of all reasonable work-related expenses, including mobile telephone costs. Company-paid Work Permit and Visa after one-month trial.”
And I would be able to repackage anything I write to sell freelance anywhere else. So, if this job comes through, I’m afraid Greece will have to wait.