June 10th, 2008

I should’ve stayed in Yanqing. Yeah, right. Back in the real world, I have to work.

Well, I spent a happy weekend doing nothing. In fact, I just about spent the entire time online. See, the broadband connection we have up there is worthy of the name broadband: It’s fast, it’s reliable, it’s good. I spent Sunday afternoon first watching old NZ music videos on, then watching old Billy T. James skits on youtube (and if you can open that link, you’re luckier than me). I can’t do that here because the broadband isn’t very broad, making streaming video or audio incredibly frustrating- basically, for youtube, hit pause, wait for the whole thing to load, then play it- and it’s expensive. Watching videos or listening to music more than just occasionally is going to burn through our prepaid internet so fast it’s ridiculous. And besides, there’s no point trying to stream any radio station outside of Beijing, because the frequent skips, pauses, and stalls make it far too frustrating. Why would you want to listen to a song in randomly-sized chunks separated by equally randomly-sized gaps of silence?

And just to add insult to all-too-frequent injury, last night and this morning the internet was completely crapped out. I did get one very brief period of connectivity this morning, long enough for me to check my email, and then back to nothing. At first, I just plain didn’t have a connection. Then I had a connection, and, like I said, it worked for a short while, but then nothing- the computer insisted it was connected, but the “connection” was so slow that I couldn’t even get back to the university homepage to log out.

I’ve ranted about this far too often as it is, and I’ll probably rant about it again, but: There’s something seriously wrong when I can get better, faster, more reliable broadband in a village at the foot of the mountains on the extreme northwestern edge of Beijing municipality, a stone’s throw from the Hebei border, than at this big, fancy, allegedly famous university.

Anyway, back online now. For now, at least.

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