Slow Internet!

One of my friend asked to me once, “What are the two things you don’t like about computers?” I said, “A slow computer and a slow internet connection, they really piss me off”. And the latter seems to be ‘stalking’ me all the times, no matter where I go or what technologically advanced the ISPs are.
Back when it all started, there was only one speed available - 56Kbps - the dial up. At that time, I didn’t have any choice but to wait hours and hours for a page to load, sometimes even to get connected. Even the internet cafĂ©’s offered dialup or sometimes ISDN, which was not much better.
Then came the cable. The first cable connection I used had a speed of 64Kbps. It wasn’t much better either. But the best part was the fact that it was unlimited. I read somewhere that broadband means both high-speed and seamless connectivity. The cable belonged more to the ‘seamless connectivity’ category (Don’t get confused, there were lot of outages also, but as compared to the speed, there was connectivity most of the times). Still there was one problem – the download limit. I never was a cable subscriber myself, but I really hated (and still do) the idea of putting a download limit on the connection. It’s like giving something you like and telling don’t use it. (This is applicable only to power users I guess)
Fed up by all this, I promised myself that if I am ever going to take an internet connection, I’ll get the one with max speed with no download limit. That day came when I moved to Bangalore. I subscribed the 256Kbps Home ULplus plan from BSNL, which was the max speed unlimited connection offered at that time. (Most of my readers are familiar with the story of getting that one). When they came up with the 512Kbps plan, I immediately switched to it. But it doesn’t matter what speed they offered in their ads, always the speed was intermittent. I had no choice but stay with the same connection as there were no other providers in that area. I felt jealous about my friends who had Airtel connections because of their stability. They gave a constant speed (at least when I used them). Whenever I heard about the stories of connections abroad (from my friends), I wanted to experience it myself. Then again I reminded myself, I am still in India, and lucky to have a decent internet connection.
Then I moved here. And one thing I was very optimistic was that I will be able to browse as much as I want with the broadband link speed not being a bottleneck. I was proved wrong the first day itself since the place I stayed had a wireless (3G based) internet. It was worse than the one I used to have in Bangalore. I couldn’t stand it, the next week itself, I subscribed a new 3Mbps unlimited broadband (ADSL) from Singtel. They said that the first week will be a bit rough as the traffic has to adjust and some crap. But as they said, after one week, I started getting steady high speed internet. I really enjoyed using it. The internet speed never became a bottleneck for any of my normal routines. I thought that the bad days are over.
But that thought didn’t last long. For last one month, I am continuously calling my service provider’s customer care centre about the intermittent connection. I have a 3Mbps connection and sometimes it even takes up to 30+ minutes to download a 1MB file (based on the speed test suggested by the customer care executive). Sometimes I have to wait for long times even to load the Think about that. It’s not consistently slow also. And guess what, a technician came last week and did something (what he did, he didn’t reveal) and for 3 days the connection was fine. Again I have to start calling the customer care. As things currently stand, there is another technician’s visit planned for the coming weekend.
Its really pissing me off. Is it so hard to provide a consistent broadband connection? I am also familiar with the data networking and related fields and based on what I know, if you have the right equipment and if they are under the correct permitted load, it’s not that difficult to provide a good link. It’s not that they are doing a charity but I am paying the internet bills promptly every month. What would they say if I started paying the bills intermittently? I wonder sometimes, Is it just me or is every broadband consumer faces similar experiences?

A Wonderful Vacation

One week, its been one week since I have started writing this blog and more than one month since I wanted to write a blog. And its amazing how many things can happen in that period. One month back, this day, I was happily packing my bags to go home, to India, to my family. After a long struggle with my assignments, projects and finally exams, I was free on May 5th - the day my exams were over. Some I did well and some I did ok. But I didn’t want to think about exams. I packed my bags and started my journey. And what more I can say, those three weeks can be described in two words, simply incredible. I had one of the most beautiful vacations in my life.
I landed on 7th night itself, but was in Chennai and had to spend the whole night there before going to Kochi. I sure will be explaining that ‘wonderful’ experience in a full blog. Anyways, the next day morning, I reached Kochi airport and was so anxious to meet my parents that I almost forgot to wait for my check in luggage. And when I was out, they were there standing anxiously looking for me. Just by seeing their faces, all my tiredness was gone. I was full of energy and excited and I hugged them right there. And that’s how I started my vacation.
I believe spending time with family is the most important thing in life. The next day itself, I and my parents went to Munnar – a hill station in Kerala - for a 2 day trip. It was the perfect getaway place from the hot summer. I had one of the best times I had with my family and both my mom and dad enjoyed it too. We did sightseeing, some small trekking, boating etc etc. We all missed my sister and brother-in-law. I really enjoyed the long hilly drive.

Its always nice to spend time with family

One of the high priority items on my TODO list was visiting all my cousins and relatives and I started it by visiting my grandmother the next day after my trip. It was fun, spending time with her brought back all those old memories of me and my sister spending most of our mid-summer vacations with her. Time goes fast.
After 2 more days of roaming around, it was time for me to pay attention to the next priority in the TODO list – getting my EPF claim settled. There is a big story behind it, but the bottom line is, I had to go visit the EPF offices in both Trivandrum and Bangalore in order - where I used to work before -personally to get something done. Along with that, I wanted to visit all my friends in both these places and also to get some shopping done.
During the exams days, I thought I ll be able to sleep during vacation. But these journeys proved that wrong. I started to Trivandrum on Wednesday morning by 4am and directly went to the EPF office, spend some ‘quality time’ there, had a quick brunch, met some friends, had snacks with them and started to Bangalore by 4pm.
I reached Bangalore the next day morning. I stayed with one of my best friends. By the time I reached, they had breakfast ready for me. Even though, the time I spend to go to the EPF office was a complete and utter waste, I did enjoy my time with my old team mates during lunch. It was one of my friends party and since I was visiting, he wanted me also to be there. After that I visited my ‘ex’-office and met all colleagues there. They were more of my friends than just colleagues. I didn’t even feel that I don’t work there anymore. I guess 5 months is not that long time. I joined my team mates with the usual afternoon coffee/smoke break. By the time I was leaving, I was missing the good old days at Nortel.
The next thing I did was straightening my hair. And the next day was dedicated for shopping. I was on a shopping spree and I spent almost half of my bank balance I saved for this vacation on the commercial street and the nearby places of Bangalore. I was supposed to leave that day, but I still had many friends to visit and I didn’t want to leave that fast. So I cancelled my ticket and extended my stay for one more day. The next day, I had breakfast at a friend’s place and lunch with a bunch of my friend. There were still more of my friend I wanted to meet, but time was not enough. Hope they will forgive me.. ;)

By the time I was back home, I had my SLR with me.
Canon EOS 450D with Canon EF-S 18-200mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS lens

Even though I didn’t have much time, I did spend some time doing experiments in photography

The Next generation: My cousin’s kid, Aby. This guy was so excited about the school opening on June 1st and was showing us all the new stuff he had for school, new bag, new cap, new umbrella, new books, new shoes etc. Made me miss my school days

My aunt’s house. A perfect subject for my photography experiments, especially during a rainy day

Spending time with my mom,

and my cat,

and its cooking time. I wanted to learn some cooking tips and tricks from my mom before I left India. I tried some puddings, cake and some curries. Hope I can reproduce them again. The main problem is, I still don’t understand how my mom simply touches a mix or reads a recipe and instantly knows whether something is wrong or whether there is anything more required.

Soon, it was time for me to say good bye to my place. And I didn’t want to do that. Just before the day I had to fly back, my exam results were out and I felt good seeing all my efforts, rewarded. I thought about postponing my tickets, but I had to be back here on the first week of June. On May 30th, I boarded the flight back to SG with lots of memories to cherish about a wonderful vacation.
ps: There are a lot of things I have not written both because there is not much space and also some are too personal. And all those friends I was not able to meet or contact, see ya, next time.