Saturday, June 18, 2005

Getting internet access

was a saga. I mentioned the other day that they now have Wireless Internet here at the hotel but that, in order to be connected I had to involve the people on the front desk. Four days later I still hadn't heard from them so I approached the desk again. 'Oh,' they said, 'we'll call our IT guy now; we'll call you when he's here'. So I pointed out that I've heard that one before. No, they solemnly promised; this time it'll happen.

So I came back to my room to do some work. Two hours later no phone call so I went down to the desk again. 'Ah yes sir, he's here. Bring your computer down'. So up I go again and fetch the laptop. They asked me to sit over there while he gets ready. So I waited. And waited. And waited. After 20 minutes I gave up, told them I had work to do and to call me if he's ever ready.

Barely had I got back to my room than the phone rang. He's ready! So I asked, patience wearing a trifle thin by now, if he was really ready or only theoretically ready. Yeah, I know, a nasty question to ask of someone to whom English is a second language

So I took the laptop down again and this time he really was ready. Enabling access turned out to be a matter of noting the MAC address of the WiFI card and manually entering it into the router configuration table. Efficient no? Nope. I asked him why they don't have an automatic system, perhaps sending me to their own web server until I provide some password previously supplied to me. Shrug. It seems he's more confident of preventing unauthorised usage this way. He's probably right but man, what a saga to get it done.

At P1000 a day (~US$20) it's obviously aimed at the business traveller. But at 2 hours plus (or 5 days plus depending on how you look at it) this service just ain't a 'service'.

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