DISAPPEARING DATA AUGUST 7
Disaster struck early in our time at the Ridge.
Before we’d left home, John had me download all the twenty one e-books I am allowed at one time to borrow from my local library. This was done using our home broadband with its huge data allowance (because of John’s penchant for World of Warcraft). My books stay accessible for three weeks, after that they get “expired” and cannot be read.
Our Telstra mobile plan allowed us 8Gb of data downloading per month. After that, we still had access but at a very slow speed. When we were away in 2013 we used the internet for the usual emails, my checking of some forums I followed. I downloaded books as needed, and John played his games. The data allowance lasted just fine.
This trip, John was using his new-ish tablet to take some photos and was still messing about learning its operations. I didn’t pay much attention – one of his toys.
Someone unhappy because her sleeping space occupied by a TV viewer
When we checked into the caravan park here, there was a sign to the effect that their Wifi access was kaput and they were waiting on a repair person. So the usual “free” daily hour of access for guests was not available. We didn’t normally use this anyway, so it wasn’t an issue.
I began to have trouble downloading my emails. Like – a Send/Receive could take 45 minutes. I don’t have that many emails… I complained about this once or twice to the technocrat husband, who brushed off my complaints as being due to my supposed technical incompetence.
I then assumed, given the park’s problems, that it might be a general town issue, somehow.
A couple of days after my latest complaint, John opened up his laptop to check if he needed to enter anything on the club bowls website that he was running. Things did not work as they should. Suddenly, it was no longer just my issue. He checked to see how much of our data allowance had been used. Shock! Horror! All gone!
I pleaded innocence. And more innocence. I hadn’t downloaded any more books. Etc. John didn’t think HE had used his laptop all that much, to date, on the trip. Eventually, he thought to check the tablet and worked out that some setting had been left turned on, that resulted in heaps of data allowance being gobbled up. The red face wasn’t mine…
Just an interesting sky
So we faced the prospect of more than two weeks before the next data allocation started. Our emails would be grindingly slow to download – if they did so at all. Forget any other function using the internet. At one stage I wanted to check out a caravan park website; nup, wouldn’t download.
Even worse, my three week e-book expiry time came and went on my e-reader. No more books. Fortunately, I had stockpiled some regular paper books, bought with Xmas vouchers “just in case”. So I went back to reading the old fashioned way, which I kind of preferred, but which is costly at the speed I read.
Eventually, and much frustration later, John decided that the ultra-slow speed of our attempted data access was much slower than it should have been, under the terms of hius contract. He phoned Telstra. (It has been rare that a trip goes by without him having to contact the telco about something). It was agreed that, yes, things should not have been that slow. They would be adjusted. But what actually happened was that we seemed to immediately get restored to totally normal access. Nice Mr Telstra. We were just regretful that John hadn’t done that ten days earlier.
Apart from lessons to be learned about the use of “gadgets”, it was a rather thought provoking exercise on how dependent we had become on internet access. At least when we thought we should have it. I could quite happily go off camping somewhere remote and not even think about emails, or whatever. But in this scenario, there was a real sense of deprivation. Hmmm…