26 January 2011
Technical Difficulties..what's new?
The blogger dashboard informs me that I haven't posted in a whole 2 months, well screw you blogger dashboard. You live happily on an Internet server somewhere enjoying a constant and blissful connection to the web. Some of us are not so lucky..
Actually the first month of radio silence can't be explained by technical difficulties, unless I say that I was technically to busy to blog. Or is that stretching it? December filled up with exciting events (more in future posts) and counting down the 21 days til Ireland.
Post December 21st, while I was in Ireland, it was technically difficult to blog because I was suddenly surrounded by hoards of stimulating stuff vying for my attention. For example, living with 4 other people instead of alone, turkey, roast potatoes, Cadburys...and so on (as my students say). By the time January 9th, the fateful day of my re-emigration, rolled around, I realised that I hadn't checked my facebook page in over 2 weeks.
Meanwhile, in the midst of the packing frenzy...I neglected to pack my laptop power cable. I packed the laptop alright, battery fully charged and everything...but by the time I reached Japan I'd already used up most of it. In fact, there was just enough time to copy my lesson plans for this term onto a USB before it shut down, lucky, lucky!
But of course, obtaining the power cable was a simple task, wasn't it? Indeed I called my family as soon as I reached home (note: controversial use of 'home' referring to my Japanese apartment), and encouraged them to post the cable asap. Should they use tracker post? No...no need. Sure why would I need to know where the parcel was exactly? As long it came to me in the end it was grand, so we went with regular post. MISTAKE.
As I later learnt, the beauty of tracker post is that it gives the post office some accountability should your parcel mysteriously disappear. Given this, I have some advice for whoever's running the post office these days...You could actually increase your profits a whole lot by not bothering to deliver anything sent by regular post. Sell it on EBay instead why doncha?...but I digress...The post office told my family that the parcel would take 3 to 7 days to deliver. 10 days, and no parcel later I was freaking out. Would yelling at the post office staff help? Apparently not.
A helpful JTE then got me a map showing the way to an electronics shop nearby, so I went there, powerless laptop in tow. After a lot of deliberation, several employees at the shop shook their heads while speaking to me in Japanese. I took this to mean that they didn't have a compatible cable. I tried to make enquires using my basic Japanese (in-ta-n-to oh-da?), to no avail. Dejected, I crawled back to my unwired hovel.
Last Friday (21st), I grew tired of my desperate situation. I went crying to my supervisor (that man is a saint), and he consulted the IT teachers who ascertained that it was indeed impossible to purchase a suitable cable in Shizuoka. They suggested I order online. Just how I was supposed to do this through Japanese remained unclear. Later that day, my supervisor attempted to help me order online, but his tech unsavyness thwarted our attempts. (I was loathe to wrench his laptop from him and take over the task)...
Eventually I ordered a cable from America over EBay. Delivery time: 2 weeks.
The following morning the Irish cable was delivered to my apartment. I had mixed emotions, and somehow managed not to hit the postman or embrace the package in his presence. Ten seconds later I was online.
You might think that the breadth of my technical difficulties don't merit this post's title...but wait...
The next day at school, I triumphantly presented my cable to my supervisor, ignoring his condolences over the cash I'd wasted on the American cable. Unsurprisingly, the school Internet started being a pain immediately. They're doing some sort of overhaul of the system at the moment, in addition to chaining laptops to each teacher's desk. I was lucky to be spared this fate. The high angle of my netbook's keyboard, when I'd placed it atop the new Fujitsu machine, would surely have caused me a repetitive strain injury of the wrists. In any case, the school server wasn't being a friend.
The next day when I managed to beggar technical assistance, it turned out that my proxy server settings had to be changed because "technical jargon/Japanese". Grand stuff, everything worked fine after that...until I got home. Whatever the techy had done to my Internet settings, my laptop was suddenly refusing to recognise my personal LAN! It took almost 5 mins to work out how to fix it, bother.
I had lost online time to make up for after all.