Monday, October 31, 2005

Editorial - You know what really grinds my gears

(written on saturday evening)

Until about 6 weeks ago, the university-owned apartment block I am currently residing in, was served by a 2Mbit internet connection. I'm not really sure how that worked out, given that there are potentially 400 residents altogether in my building and the 3 surrounding it. As could have possibly been predicted, the internet was practically unusable from 4pm til midnight. So, 6 weeks ago the connection was apparently upgraded to a much more reasonable-sounding 80Mbits (although in reality the speed-up was perhaps 4x or 5x, not 40x). They achieved this by sticking a laser onto an apartment block roof, and pointing it at the place where our internet comes from, thus creating a "laser" connection.

As is often the case, though, when something looks too good, it usually is, and there was a horrible horrible catch with the new connection. What they didn't tell us was that pretty much anything can (and does) interfere with the fricking "laser". At first daily outages were explained by the fact that there are construction cranes in the way; then with the onset of colder and wetter weather, it became clear that fog and lasers don't mix. In fact, even as I'm typing these words, I am sitting in fog-induced off-line solitary confinement, cursing whoever's bright idea it was to install this bloody thing. The other day, we were told some more infuriating factoids: (since I'm guessing that the laser points east-west) the sunlight during sunset and sunrise also interfere with the link. Thinking about it, it's probably a miracle that we have access at all, considering that all 24 hours are affected by some sort of disruption (sunset and sunrise by the sun, the day by cranes, and the night by fog).

Germans, is this really the best you can organise for me? For shame.

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