Who remembers Dave Berry, from the 60's?

"Little things, that you do, make me glad I'm in love with you." Yes, that was him, I thought he always came across as rather creepy, with a face which looked, even way back then then, as if a cosmetic surgeon had been serving his apprenticeship on him, poor beggar! Here he is on YouTube.

Well, I love some of the 'Little Things' which our Dell laptop does in conjunction with its Etislat USB modem. But I also hate it with a vengeance!!!!!!

I decided, the other day, to try to get our Lexmark printer to load onto the laptop. I'd tried before, but was left with a message saying that although it was loaded it might not work as it had troubleshooting issues, or something to that effect, and it wouldn't actually work at all. But you know when you just know that today is the day?

It turned out that today (well, the 'other' day!) it really was. I must admit that it was a bit more of a clart (Colloquialsm: "clart" (or clart-on) in this case the word "trial" could be the more commonly used) than I had expected. It kept me occupied for quite a while, but I eventually managed, so we can now scan things into the laptop again, although we cannot yet print, as we've no (Number 17!) black ink cartridge for some unknown reason, so I couldn't even try to get it re-filled!

Even the new 'spare' one has disappeared! 
Mind you, I dare say that if I took it down to the souk, I'd find someone who would knock me up a cartridge out of an old Coke can and squeeze a couple of Biros into it, just to get me going!!!! (I well remember, when we first came to Luxor, seeing a one and a half metre satellite dish made of soldered together Pepsi cans! Yes, really!)

Anyway, today's moan is really about Internet speeds!

As you all know, I'm just an HGV mechanic and Class One HGV and PSV Operator and driver (as well as latterly becoming a plumber, tiler, carpenter, A/C engineer, decorator, personal shopper, interior designer and part time guide and hotelier) so I've yet to even begin to understand the intricacies of computing and the Internet. But I'm sure that among you highly valued readers, there will be at least one of you who is technically clued up!

Here's the situation: All the laptops I've had here in Luxor have been connected to the 'net' via a 'dongle' of one sort or another. Being a straightforward sort of bloke, I began by believing whatever the techies at Vodafone told me, "it was the old- fashioned laptop slowing down the speed" or the blame lay with "the steel reinforcing in the concrete of the building". To cut a very long story short, and after going through three laptops in six years, I've now realised that the staff at Vodafone in Luxor all seem to be unrepentant and compulsive liars, and those at Etisalat (whose USB modem I'm now using) aren't all that much better!

Often, to pass the time as I'm waiting for a particular page to load, I'll watch the Etisalat dongle's statistics page. It's very interesting to see the trace line bumping along the bottom of the page, on or about the 5 kbps mark! (Did you know that human blood boils at less than 5 kbps? Well, you do now! I'll educate you yet.)

During loading the printer onto the laptop, I had to actually download (see, I'm getting the hang of the terminology, aren't I) a driver (?) from the Lexmark web-site. I was absolutely astonished at the speed it was downloading at. Here, have a butchers at this: (Sorry, that's another colloquialism, "Butchers" = "Butcher's Hook" = a look, or at least a cursory glance.)

Yes, it's running at over 1000 kbps! So, can there be a problem with my laptop? When it finished downloading from that particular site, it went back to normal, see:

And then, back to taking up to a full minute to load a TripAdvisor, or whatever, page! It's also slower at certain times of the day. In all fairness, though, I have to report that my 7.2 mbps Etisalat dongle usually (maybe 70% of the time) delivers between 30 and 60 kbps, which I can live with, but when it's slow I feel like chucking it over the roof terrace parapet!

So! Is there an 'Oracle' out there, someone who can confidently pronounce upon my problematic situation? Are the Egyptian mobile companies just conning us dimwitted customers, or could it be an intermittent problem with the laptop, or could it be that there just aren't enough CO2 atoms in the unpopulated Egyptian desert atmosphere to carry the signal from here to there?

As if I didn't have enough to currently cope with, it now seems that Freda is trying to vegetarianise me! Just because I'm colour-blind, she thinks she can get away with slipping tomatoes into my mushroom and onion quiche! (Alfred had no smoked ham!)

Next thing you know, she'll have me walking out with a pastel coloured sweater draped fashionably over my shoulders and drinking Camomile tea, well she's got another think coming!!!!!!!

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