Elder Taylor is here this morning setting up our new fax/printer. Before we left for Grahamstown he suggested that we replace it because it’s old, out-of-date and hard to use. It prints but we have yet to be able to send a fax. Tom has been going to “Post Net” to fax our month-end reports to Cape Town. He goes next door to the Taylor’s each time he needs to process a PEF application. We spent $369.74 and bought a new fax/printer as we will likely be moving August 31st. The Taylors go home on October 1st so we won't be able to depend on his help. He was the I.T. specialist at his high school in Wyoming where he also taught office practice. He is a gifted techie and can make anything work. We cannot. Elder Stokoe and I had yet another meltdown over technology a few days ago and even thought about coming home until Elder Taylor came to our rescue. He took time to explain how the Internet works here in Africa and assured us that we can be successful in our PEF assignment. It was a relief to learn that we are not complete idiots.
The pipes (a technology term describing the transfer of packets of data like water running through your plumbing system) are 1/4th of what they are in the U.S. There are too many packets of information pushing thru the small pipes here in Africa. Consequently the packets (ie: e-mail and data) get backed up. Delivery stops or is delayed. Although providers here in P.E. advertise high speed internet, it’s just not so. Delivery is the problem. Everything slows down including the softwear programs on our private lap top. Routers must be rebooted frequently. (Ours was down for 3 days at Easter before we learned it just needed to be rebooted.) Electric storms and other problems knock out the server here in P.E. and old hardware compounds the problem. ie: Makro has a contract with Costco to buy whatever electronics are not sold in the U.S. Consequently what we find for sale here in Africa is old and out- dated. Example: Our 3G wireless card which we took to Grahamstown is so old that it would not work on our lap top. So we took the card back to Vodocom. We were told that we must buy a different card to access Internet when we go on the road because ours runs on Windows 7.
I just got an error message saying my battery is low but my lap top has been plugged into an outlet all morning. I asked Elder T about it. “Is your outlet turned on?” he wondered. It was not. So I flipped the switch. In S.A. you must turn the switch on to use an individual outlet. When things don't work I wonder, "Is it the hardware, softwear, the connection or is the Internet down?"
Too bad we did not request a new cell phone when we were offered one in Johannesburg. Ours would not turn off when it rang during our the meeting. It took three elders to get it on vibration and we have not been able to do that since. Kumbalani offered us a new cell that day but Tom said "no" thinking he simply did not know how to use it. Lucky PEF paid for our new washer. It would not rinse. So we gave it to the elders who did not have one. When I asked them how they liked it. Elder Atkin's said: “It has a mind of its own.”
We left flat #16 because we thought the church was being ripped off with a long term rental contract with no repair service. Renting Talana’s flat after the lease on #16 expired has given us time to find something more suitable. We knew that the sale on this flat would happen this summer but understood that the buyer would need to retire and sell her home in Johannesburg before taking possession. That situation has since changed. Consequently we must vacate on August 31.
It’s afternoon now and Elder Taylor has spent five hours setting up our new fax/printer and connecting our computers to the wireless system. It’s important that all these problems be resolved soon. The Taylors go home October 1st and we must be able to run this equipment to process our PEF loans. My Smilebox software is also down. I havn't been able to make any Smileboxes because the softwear continually updates and the program will not open. Evidently the program has been corrupted. I'll add the Grahamstown creations to the sidebar if I can get Smilebox up and working again.