**Disclaimer: The following post is an entire rant on technology. If you do not like technology or reading about technology, I advise you skip this post, because, again, it is just a rant of my feelings towards technology.**
Hmm...where to start on my lovely rant...
On our honeymoon we stayed at two different resort style hotels in Austria and Spain (Canary Islands). I suppose we were spoiled in our American ways and assumed their would be internet access there. False. I mean, there was but there was always some catch - it cost a lot of money for a short amount of time, could only connect in lobby even after you paid for the internet, etc. Granted there were a lot of other things we were doing and didn't really "need" the internet but there are certain things it would be helpful for like searching adventures to go on, checking in for our flights, etc. But all was well, we made due and told ourselves it would be fine because we could check emails, etc. once we got to Edinburgh.
We were under another impression that it would be, dare I say, simple, to set up internet in our lovely flat.
We were rudely awakened to find out that there is a monopoly on the internet providers here wherein you can choose whatever service provider you want but they all have to go through the same phone company - British Telecom - to actually activate your line and set it up. This meant that since there was a huge increase in new subscriptions because of all the new students that no matter what internet company you went with it would take 3 weeks to have a technician sent out. Yes, you read that correctly, 3 weeks. *cries more*
So we reluctantly signed up with a company and made the appointment for October 5. (Sidenote: none of this could be done without a UK bank account, so we had to wait for that to go through as well before we signed up for internet.)
In the meantime we spent all our time in cafes, pubs, on campus, and basically anywhere we could grab a few MBs of free internet. This was difficult for two reasons - 1. You can't apply for jobs without internet. 2. You can't fully (or even partially) do any classwork without internet. This lead to long days spent in somewhat uncomfortable chairs in noisy crowded venues just to leech on some internet.
The entire time we were counting down until October 5 like it was Christmas. October 5 came, I sat at home all day because they gave us a large window of time the technician would come by so we didn't want to miss them. October 5 came and went. No internet came out of it. We cried more.
Turns out the technician, reportedly, came to our flat and knocked on our front door for 20 minutes with no answer. Now, this doesn't really make sense for several reasons - 1. We don't have a front door that someone can "knock" on. The entire building has a foyer with a directory and intercom system where you find the flat number and name of the person and call them and they will let you in. 2. In that case, what door was he even knocking on? 3. Why would someone knock for 20 minutes, that sounds dubious to me as 20 minutes of knocking would surely bother someone enough to let you in...or throw a pot at you. 4. Mr. Technician, you lie, you could not have come to our flat because we were here the entire time.
After trying to charge us £150 for "missing" our appointment, there were numerous phone calls made (by the way, 800 numbers here cost money to call, so when you call a company you are paying for the call. Ironically they don't cost if you have a landline but we did not because that's what the technician was coming over for...) and letters written, and tears shed, and news that we would have to wait ANOTHER three weeks for ANOTHER appointment, disregarding the fact that they admitted it was not our fault that the technician couldn't find our flat (or totally blew us off, which from the sound of it is the most likely scenario).
One day passes, I am still irate and decide to take matters into my own hands. I call another internet provider who says that if we have a telephone line in our flat they can send us a wifi router and then they just have to activate the line remotely. I am dubious of this because, why wouldn't the other company say they could do that. I call our original internet company, they say they cannot do this. I figure, what the heck, lets just try it. Company B sends us a wifi router. Two days pass, they activate our phone line. Within one week of my phone call to them we have internet. Tears of joy are shed. Company A contract is cancelled. Stern letter is sent requesting they refund us part of our phone bill in the fees we spent calling them for their own issues.
Needless to say it was quite a harrowing process but now that it is over, we can laugh about it. Maybe.
Ahh cell phones. Again, didn't need them right away but then it meant not sending job applications or calling people. So we went to a company here called Phones4u where you buy a phone and then pick the network you want and you can pay as you go. They are all fancy here and they call it topping up *insert British accent*. It's cute. Not when you have to pay for it though. It's not the most financially affordable option as you pay more per minute than you would if you were on a plan. We decided to find a 12 month plan after our initial £20 was up on our original pay as you go plan on the Vodafone network. This sounded fine and dandy and after researching (on our little laptops in numerous cafes around the city until 2am) we decided to go with Three, a mobile company here. Great, perfect, beautiful, lets just get this over with. The benefit of the Phones4u phones was that they were SIM free so they weren't locked to a certain network. So when we went to Three they said we could just use the same phones we had. Great, perfect, beautiful, lets just get this over with. Not so fast now!
We took our lovely phones home that night to find out that we got NOOOO reception in our flat. You had to press your face against the window and stand on one foot in order to get 1 tiny itty bitty bar. Ugh. When we were on Vodafone's network for our Pay as you go phones we got perfect reception. After weeks of going back and forth with Three about the issues they said it was because our phones were 2G not 3G. What?! People still sell/make 2G phones?! AHhh! So we decided to go ahead and sell the phones to a resell shop here for nearly the same price we paid. So that wasn't too bad. Then we went back to Three and bought new phones on their network for the same price that were 3G. Again, basically an even trade.
Got back to our flat and...yeah, still no reception. *cries* We ran out of energy to deal with it. We get ever so slightly better reception with the new phones, so we kinda just suck it up and go with it.
Literally the day we left America and arrived in Germany I turned on my computer in the train station. I was checking emails when all of a sudden the infamous rainbow ball went off on my Mac. It just kept spinning and then the computer turned off. Umm..what?! I decided to take the high road on this one - we were on our honeymoon, nothing could bring me down, forget you stupid macbook! Finally two weeks later we arrived in Edinburgh and I was able to take it to a shop. My hard drive had died. I need a new one, otherwise the computer was just a large paperweight. *sigh* Got the new hard drive. Computer was all better a week later and now I have a slightly smaller, but just as useless, paperweight.
*Please note, this is not an actual photo of my hard drive because, of course, when I went to upload the photo I had taken of my own hard drive, Blogger kept saying it had a server error?! Yes, seriously.
Then a week later we tried to plug in Christopher's netbook to charge it and the charger didn't work anymore. Unbelievable. This is the second charger we have gone through on this because we already sent in a claim to the company about their defective chargers. Company said they would replace it but we had to mail it in. Umm at that rate it would be cheaper to just buy a new one here then ship a broken charger to the US. So that is what we shall do now.
Yeah, this post seems more like a long complaint more than a rant but, oh well, I just needed to vent a bit. Here's a high five for you if you actually got this far in the post!
Don't worry, my next post will be much more interesting!