Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Without apology, here’s another relevant quotation from old George, this time on the dignity of the Spanish:- “I laugh at the bigotry and prejudices of Spain; I abhor the cruelty and ferocity which have cast a stain of eternal infamy on her history; but I will say for the Spaniards, that in their social intercourse no people in the world exhibit a juster feeling of what is due to the dignity of human nature, or better understand the behaviour which it behoves a man to adopt towards his fellow beings. I have said that it is one of the few countries in Europe where poverty is not treated with contempt, and I may add, where the wealthy are not blindly idolized. In Spain the very beggar does not feel himself a degraded being, for he kisses no one's feet, and knows not what it is to be cuffed or spitten upon; and in Spain the duke or the marquis can scarcely entertain a very overweening opinion of his own consequence, as he finds no one, with perhaps the exception of his French valet, to fawn upon or flatter him.”

In deference to all the angry Basque, Catalan and Galician nationalists who complain about me including them in the term ‘Spanish’, I should stress that the above comment may not hold true for their regions/countries/nations. And nor may all French valets be obsequious.

Conversation in the Vodafone shop today:-
So, this ADSL package for 39 a month will both replace my Tefefónica fixed line [Rejoice! Rejoice!] and give me a wi-fi dongle for my laptop which I can use anywhere?
Yes.
And the price won’t rise after 3 months and there are no other charges, apart from the VAT?
No.
OK, then. I’m interested.
So, where do you live?
In Poio, across the river.
Ah. We don’t have coverage there yet. But it will be available by the end of next month. In the meantime, you can have this 45 a month package for a dongle and then we will make the change without any further costs.
At the end of next month?
Yes.
[Smiling] Maybe.
Err . [blushing] . . Yes.
OK, I’ll talk to you then.

Talking of Telefónica, I see they’ve announced a recession-defying 10% increase in profits. Must be a well-managed company, worthy of all our admiration.

I’m having a big BBQ next Sunday. You’re all welcome, of course. Meanwhile, with a little exaggeration, these are the standard responses:-
British:- Great. Can I also bring X and Y?
Spanish:- Well, my husband is going to the bulls on Saturday night so he won’t be able to make lunch at 3. I’m not going with him but I am going out with girlfriends until late. So it all depends what time I get out of bed on Sunday. Can I call you then and let you know?

Being the multi-cultural chameleon I am, I'm pretty relaxed about both of these. And the Spanish no-shows will make up for the British add-ons. Así son las cosas. And it's better than getting a Yes from people who then don't turn up.

The Spanish government has begun to talk of a real ban on smoking, perhaps embarrassed by what’s happened in the rest of Europe. It can’t come too soon for me as this is the one aspect of Spanish life which still gets to me. This morning, for example, I had to leave one wi-fi café when a group of five women and one man came in and all lit up at the next table. But at least I could leave. The poor kid who was coughing was stuck there with his inconsiderate parents.

Spanglish, perhaps. 1. Is there such a word as ‘horseball’ in English? There is in Spanish and it seems to mean basketball on horseback. 2. The word ‘handicap’ now appears to have assumed the meaning of ‘barrier’ in Spanish, as in “I’ve applied for a mortgage pero el banco me pone handicaps.” Or possibly handicapes.

Finally, I’m used to odd routes to my blog but this search rather left me wondering why it'd had the honour of being cited:-

men's brown malboro trousers uk

9 comments:

mike the trike said...

How much do they allow you to download each month and what is the charge if you go over your allotment? For example how many emails can you send/receive each month if you don't do any surfing?

Midnight Golfer said...

I had not heard of horseball, but google says it exists. I wonder if the usage of handicaps by bankers has anything to do with its usage by golfers?

How does one say "horseball" in Spanish?
or "water polo?"

I am about to break free copper lines. I would have broken free a month ago, but a Telefonica sales rep. told me that they could definitely get me 10 Mbps DSL for the price of 1 Mbps, for an entire year. It took a little over two weeks for the tech. to come out to our apartment, just to say, "you can't even get 1 Mbps." Which is odd, since in my last apartment, in this same building, I could get 1.4 Mbps sustained, and now all of the DSL carriers tell me that it's impossible.
My solution is to give a type of "Wi-Max" or "clearwire" a try. I may have the terminology wrong, but it's kind of a long-range Wi-Fi, and it's requiring me to buy the antennae setup, up front.
I will give it a try, before naming names.
They promise 3 Mbps, and offer speeds up to 10.

The initial cost, which includes the hardware, and the labor to get it all setup and running for you, at your house, is 300 bucks. Then 3Mbps, if you sign up for a year, costs 24€ a month. Essentially, if you divide the cost out over the year, its 49€ a month for everything for the first year, and then 24€ a month from then on. If you pay a full year at a time.

It's a steep price to pay, just for 'cutting the wires' but if it truly allows me to give up my landline, I will feel it was worth it. (Next thing I'll find out is that they're a wholly owned subsidiary of Telefonica. I hope not, anyway.)

I'll keep you updated, and I ask if they offer anything like it in the rest of Spain.

Midnight Golfer said...

I am about to break from FROM copper

magnolia said...

@mg

Is that the same as internet by satellite? I've just bought a house (work to be done before moving in) where there is no telephone line - and I'm trying to avoid having one.

mag

Midnight Golfer said...

Okay, so it's installed and working.
I'll give it a week or so before divulging the business' name.

@Colin:
I hope you don't mind me "hijacking" your comments pages to share this info.
*They do not offer wireless internet outside the Costa del Sol, yet. They did not know the names of any companies that do, but they are planning on expanding nation-wide, ...eventually.

@magnolia:
I have tried internet over satellite, and I find it insufficient for my needs, and too expensive to justify the lagging response times, at least in the U.S.
What I have just had installed is similar to what is sometimes sold under brand names such as WiMax or ClearWire. However, it is not technically either of these two technologies, despite using similar frequencies and protocols.

With the company that I have contracted with, they are a Wireless Internet Service Provider, and between "them" and their users, there are no wires.
They appear to be using an extremely snappy (56 ms latency) Retevision connection, on their end, where the "wires" begin.
Between their customers (me) and them, they use the same 2.4GHz 'microwave' radio frequencies that WiFi uses, but at much larger distances, and they also use the 5GHz microwave band for people like me, who can't get a good signal, or want greater bandwidth than is reliably available at my location using just WiFi.

The 300€ antenna, which is a white, plastic rectangle, about the size of a carton of milk, but was not sufficient to get the quality of signal that I need. I had expected this. In my previous apartment, on the 10th story of this same building, where I'm now living on the 3rd floor, I could sometimes get the signal from one of their local grid networks. This is actually how I came to first learn about the company, when it showed up, faintly, while I was testing my WiFi modem, to see what networks I could reach. When I moved downstairs, I could no longer receive their signal at all.

So, for an additional 89€, they upgraded my to the 5GHz antenna, which is also more powerful, and also sleek, white, and the size of a ream of paper.

Midnight Golfer said...

They installed an antenna on the wall, facing their repeater station up on the mountain, and ran a single ethernet cable through a small hole they drilled in the wall of my office. The cable supplied both the electrical power and the "internet signal"
It works perfectly, "plays nice" with my existing hardware, wifi-router, and most importantly my Macs, just as well as my Windows station.
They were quick, taking about half an hour to finish. All I gave them was the cash to buy the antenna, some cold water, and I told them that I would sweep up, after I noticed they had already collected all the debris into a nice little pile.

It was one of those awesome multi-national experiences so common here.
Two technicians, one who appeared to handle most of the hardware, was from Denmark, and the other, who seemed to handle the software end, and the paperwork, was from Romania.
They both spoke to me in whichever language I used to address them, and both seemed equally fluent in both English and Spanish. They seemed to prefer English when conversing among themselves.

I am so far satisfied with the arrangement. Although I know that I could buy this hardware, and install it myself, for half of what it costs me to buy it from them, I would not be able to get it to connect to their system, without knowing a lot of secret passwords and logins.
I also would not have been able to determine, on my own, which frequencies and antennas to use, nor where to aim the antenna, once I had figured out which type to use. So the price of entry is a bit high, but now I own the hardware, and could theoretically use it anywhere on earth. Anywhere that some other service provider is broadcasting in the 5GHz band, which is covering more and more ground every month.

They have given me, with the price of installation, the first three months "free." I do not have to rent any equipment from them, and I only pay for what I want. I could go on vacation for many months on end, and not pay another dime, and then come back, and start paying again. They even offer online payments, even Paypal!
As can be expected, it is cheaper to purchase more bandwidth at a time, such as a whole year up front, than it is to go day by day, week by week, or month by month, but I have to admit that I didn't expect so much flexibility in payments. Basically, I decide how much or how little, and how frequently. No contract. No bill.

They really fill in a perfect niche, which isn't easy, considering the topology of this area.

magnolia said...

@mg

Wow, thanks for all that information. I´m up in Pontevedra province - maybe they´ll reach us up here one day. I´ll spend more time checking on the internet for this type of offer. I have time, contractor can´t start work on the house for a month - August, don't you know...

Colin, thank you for allowing this little (temporary) off shoot.

mag

Colin said...

No problems. I was interested in it anyway.

Midnight Golfer said...

If anyone is following my internet saga:

the company is called VIP-HotSpot, and I am more than satisfied with them so far.

http://www.vip-hotspot.com/

It's so nice that if I do have any questions, that a REAL HUMAN BEING answers the phone if I call.