Geoff Tennant - Promoting access to mathematics for all
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9/4/13: hurrah for Vodacom! And as for the BBC....

When I moved into my flat I took advice on an Internet connection, and subscribed to a local company which is supposed to be pretty good in the area.  Hardware includes an arial which is on the balcony and is actually quite expensive.  Service initially was reasonable, and over the Christmas / new year period was particularly good.  Since then, it seems to have deteriorated - it fails for a few days, I email (from work or by iPhone if you're wondering!) to say so, a technician come round, it fails a few days later...  The particular irritation for me is that the company seems to think it’s giving me good service by being constantly prepared to come round, but I don’t want a string of visitors, I want an Internet connection which works!  And as for the Christmas / new year period, my theory is this – they have a perfectly good system which works perfectly well – SO LONG AS NOBODY FIDDLES WITH IT!!!!! THAT’S WHAT CAUSES THE PROBLEMS!!!!

Anyway, patience finally ran out, and, again taking advice, have invested in a Vodacom dongle.  Golly I’m impressed!  Much cheaper, both in terms of initial hardware and monthly fee, the download speeds are pretty impressive.  Early days, but so far so good!  I’ll keep you informed, long silences on this blog are probably due to Internet failure….

One reason for wanting an Internet connection is because I’m using as a means of downloading my favourite TV programmes – Casualty, Have I Got News for You, Silent Witness all available a day or so after broadcasting!  When I moved into the flat, the TV wasn’t working, before I’d got it sorted out I’d become accustomed to getting TV in this manner so the moment passed.  When the six month renewal came up, I asked for a number of minor bits and pieces to be put right, including the TV which was duly fixed.  Discovering that there was nothing watchable in English available free, I bought a one month subscription to DSTV, a South Africa based company which offer satellite TV, including a number of BBC channels

BBC World News is pretty good – although any one weather bulletin chooses a part of the world, apparently at random, on which to focus.  Good for general knowledge, I suppose, but not much practical use (note to self: remember to return to the topic of weather forecasts in a future entry).  Otherwise, BBC, what you offer on the international market is dreadful!  Entertainment and Lifestyle have a long string of programmes which mostly aren’t BBC at all – Come Dine With Me, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Deal Or No Deal to name but three.  There’s lots of good stuff on the BBC, why give such a poor account of yourself on the international market?

So, I’ve let my subscription lapse.  One reason for having it was so that my parents could watch the news, but they’re now back in the UK, feeling a bit cold I understand!  Will be posting about our trip soon – with pictures of course – meanwhile, great dancing at the village museum, Mum and Dad!

One final thing: I’ve become a Tweeter on Twitter!  You see, I even know the language!  And I already have three followers – Evan, the son of my colleague Darcey who took the picture of me for my account (thank you, Evan!), Darren, an old school friend, and Andy, a missionary working with students in New Zealand.  Any more followers at @geoffthefish gratefully received, I’m happy to reciprocate!  Curiously, I saw the news of Margaret Thatcher’s death on Twitter (BBC Breaking News) before it was on the BBC News website, a jolly good way of keeping in touch notwithstanding comments above.  Interesting to follow BBC News in those few minutes – firstly a ‘breaking news’ single line, then a headline with a very brief story, then the obituary got added, I could almost hear the furious work going on.  Have to say, love her or hate her, no room for indifference!  And an important person in education, both as minister 1970-1974 and as the Prime Minister when the Education Act introducing the National Curriculum came into being.

Thank you for reading, number of visitors to this site now over 10000.  I’ll be back again soon!

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