Sunday, March 18, 2007

Rural Blogging 101

This last week has been a challenge for this newbie blogger. The boss sent us on one of those Team Bonding Workshops which are normally held on remote locales with as much distance from modern conveninces as possible. The resort in question is located next to one of the Seven Forks dams where internet connection is still a pipe dream. There was intermitent cellphone connectivity and my prefered option for GPRS (Celtel was not available at all) so I was stuck with the bitter option which just went a long way to increase my misery.
One of the biggest challenges to engaging in any form of e-activity in the country side is virtual non-existence of internet connections. For the lucky few such as I who have the good fortune of working with a company that can afford a VSAT connection I can afford to post occassionally, although the employer in their infinite wisdom decided to put in a firewall which restricts our workstations from accessing the internet outside the corporate intranet, however there is one PC for all the employees to share which of course limits the time you can spend on line. So what are the options left available for a rural blogger.

  • Dial up? Sorry but it is not even worth talking about Telkom Kenya they are the ultimate corporate failure in Kenya..
  • Leased Line? Don't even think about it.
  • GPRS? Available but you are advised to restrict yourself to text otherwise you will just be watching your credit vaporise in seconds and you need a very good phone.
  • WAP? Crap!
  • Cyber cafe? Nearest cybercafe is like 40 Kms away and the connection speeds are atrocious to say the least, I have seen a computer take 5 minutes to load the google webpage.
  • Telkom Wireless? I was excited to hear that CDMA is going countrywide but to my horrer I found out that they are charging 3 bob per minute. This is daylight robbery and I don't believe it is fair to charge for internet connectivity per minute since you end up paying more when the service is poor.
  • Hotspot? hehehe! this is just for a laugh.
  • WiMax? I'm just dreaming right:-)

My take on this matter is that it is high time a deliberate effort was made by the policy makers to make it easier for us disadvantaged rural folk to join the e-community perhaps by providing subsidides or tax holidays and other incentives to companys that are willing to invest in providing ICT services out here in the sticks.
To all the ManU haters out there yesterdays performance at Bolton should make you realize that we are well on our way to reclaiming the league honours and we are having a hell of a good time on our way there. Christiano and the Roo were so outstanding and their chemistry is impressive. I am crossing my fingers on the FA cup and Champions League the prospect of a treble is now looming larger but in the mean time let me just enjoy the ride.


betty said...

yes..was wondering where you dissapeared to!..
uhm..5minutes to upload google homepage??pole sana.
lol @ the one workstation for all employees, at least you are not one of those bloggers 'abusing your employers bandwith' tihihi.

Steve said...

I feel your pain: I remember the days when we would dial up the internet on that old US Robotics thing on the gateway - those were the days.

5 minutes to pull up yahoo - with graphics!

Sounds like its faster than what you have now ...

One step forward, two steps back.

I, on the other hand, refuse to separated from my 5mbps pipe - give me the internets at high speed or give me death ...

Komi said...

Ati ICT what? That will be the day.

Majonzi said...

ambitious of you to blog under the circumstances. kudos to you!! time moves slowly in Kenya, kwanza rural Kenya, lakini lets hope change is coming sooner than later. ehh, lakini those prices are exorbitant!!

Farmgal said...

Sasa I arrived here thinking you done a post in ki-bantuu...
Ati one comp! Thats means we'll have to wait sometime kabla we see your sheng eh?

egm said...

I am thinking of starting a decondition program. So that when I have to leave this land of hyperfast internet speeds, I won't go into shock. But then again, the low speeds might be what the doctor ordered to keep me away from the net!

Still, those are some slow speeds at exorbitant rates.

Klara said...

Wow! 5mins! staring @ da comp waitin! I would have blown out!!!
Bt it's good that despite da difficulties u still chomoad aka post!!
Man U did well!!

Girl next door said...

When you have have constant access to the internet and suddenly go without, it's like going through withdrawal from a drug or something...anyway, it's about time rural areas had access to these things.

Kirima said...

@Betty, Imagine queing after 5 for your 20 minute browsing fix. aargh!
@Steve, true that! not much change since those good old days
@Komi, The day will come one day (keeping hope alive)
@Majonzi, 3 bob per minute is a ridiculous price to pay for slow internet access under any circumstances
@Farmgal, Ki-bantuu is only for the strong willed my gal you can see my puny efforts later.
@EGM, I can see another speed cyberspeed junky looking at the prospect of serious withdrawal.
@ Klara, The posts will keep on coming despite the handicap, ManU is rocking my world right now
@Girl Next door, I'm all for rural development but I admit the prioritie are more basic, yaani water, food, roads etc. ICT unfortunately is relegated to luxury status yet information can be a vital tool in bringing development to the rural areas.

VoIP Services Los Angeles said...

Excellent post. I was checking constantly this weblog and I'am impressed! Very useful information specifically the final phase :) I care for such info much.

Kenyan Blogs