Day and night. Day and fucking night.
One of the biggest killers for me about living out in Cliffony has been the lack of reliable Internet access. I had an O2 HotShot dongle, but O2′s 3G coverage seems to end somewhere around Galway. Since I moved out to County Sligo in August I’ve been stuck on a niggardly 2G (~7 Kb/s) Internet connection.
I looked at my few options for out here:
Options A and B were either Vodafone or Eircom’s DSL. That didn’t end too well: Vodafone’s sales team are flaky, commission-driven little shits and it was impossible to get a fucking callback from them about this. I tried three times before I gave up.
Eircom has a stolidly reliable customer service and sales team, but they wanted to charge me a prohibitive amount (~€100!) before they would reconnect the house, nor was their DSL offering as attractive as Vodafone’s – I would paid more per month for a smaller quota and less bandwidth. And of course you have shit like this.
A local fella advertises himself as a local ISP was option C, but it seems like he is just reselling/leasing from O2, which would still leave me at 7 Kb/s while paying more per month.
Option D was to just be happy with what I have and stick with O2. I just couldn’t do it, I’m sorry. 7 Kb/s? No.
The last option I had available was to sell the iPad and buy a phone that supports tethering. I shopped for an iPhone 4 on Adverts.ie. I haggled, I lowballed, and I bid promiscuously on four different auctions; ultimately I found one at a decent price.
I contacted the seller and said “I need to talk to you now about meeting you in the next two days. Christmas is coming and I will be travelling a long way.”
The seller responded with, “OK” and not another word for exactly thirty-one hours. By the time they called me on Christmas Eve I had already sold my iPad and picked up a HTC Wildfire S.
And now we get back to the day and night comparison. The HTC phone a completely different beast than an Apple tablet. The Wildfire is everything the iPad isn’t: Cheap, plastic, plagued with a terrible battery life and possessed of a rock-solid radio and antenna. If I moved the iPad more than a few millimeters in any direction I would completely lose my Internet connection. I’m on a coach home to Sligo and tethered to my phone so I can write this. I’m downloading in the background, streaming form Google Music and chatting to Mariah on another tab without any interruption in my connection, but the real test won’t come until I arrive home in about an hour.