What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Might as well be...
So despite my persistence of efforts, lack of means is taking a bit of a toll.  My five plus year old beast of a computer will no longer start up.  Three days now.  It is putting a tremendous burden on my work for this project.  You realize just how much our lives are centered around computers and the internet these days.  Networking, communicating, researching, whatever...  I have one that I can use, but only limitedly and the internet doesn't always work on it.  Luckily I have been mostly preparing for this and have been putting most of my data and saving things onto a flash disk/memory stick/pen drive (so many names for the same thing...), or writing things directly into online materials such as this blog service.  But it leads to one very definite new priority, computing...  I have been going back and forth with the idea of what to take to try to be connected throughout my travels.  An i phone and a keyboard were my last best estimates, but I have gotten very little response to lead me to believe that I could guarantee this would work there.  I know that Blackberry is functional, though again, have heard they don't travel well.

So, being that I have limited computing capabilities right now, it seems that a computer is needed now.  This may also be the simplest thing to go to Sierra Leone with.  To help with this question, I just got off the phone with another one of my 'key advisors' (my father;) who acts as the computer guru.  Of course once we got past the introduction of my trip to West Africa and the normal "?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?", we had a very good conversation about life, society, and the netbooks that I've discussed previously.  I must admit that though it would be really nice to just carry a phone and a little rollable keyboard... I will not have any trouble getting a phone that can connect to the internet no matter where I am and that could act also as a modem when plugged into the computer.  Here is Zain's policy and prices as seen on their website for Sierra Leone.

Zain Mobile Internet Prices
With Zain mobile internet you can access the internet wirelessly without landline connections
  • There are two ways to do this  :
  • via your computer (be it desktop or laptop) by connection with a Zain Huaweii  modem
  • via your internet compatible phone after it has been configured and SIM activated
  • Our USB & Data Card modems are compact, easy to carry and affordable
  • Zain mobile internet works on your phone using your normal SIM which needs to be configured by the Automatic Devise Configurator
  • Send the word to 141 and follow the instructions
  • For modem users Zain offers unlimited monthly bundles so that you can access the internet uninterrupted and you need not worry about the time you spend on the internet
  • Zain also offers limited bundles that may last you for a month depending on your download and upload traffic 
Mobile Internet Prices

Monthly/BundleNew Connection $Reconnection $Modem Price

 *Terms and Condition:

A fair usage policy applies to this package. This package is unlimited up to 15GB a month.

Pretty expensive by any standards.  And I must say that I love that that "package is unlimited up to a 15GB a month".  LOL.  Well aren't they all unlimited then?  At least up to their limit?  lol.  Anyway, I put in another email, and in the time I paused in writing this got a response:
"Of course you can use your phone to connect to the internet with your computer. However, using our special prepaid sim will allow you to browse at 10units/mb instead of 15 units. We sell this special for US$10 with preloaded 100mb."
Not as of yet entirely clear to me what this means, but I think it is safe to say that I can connect teh computer to the internet while in country.  And at the end of the day, this is what I need there, and I need a computer now.  With a limited budget, that may just mean that I will have to chose the computer avenue, as there won't be money for the computer and then an i Phone or similar.

So where does that put me with what computer?  Well months ago the ASUS Eee netbook was shown to me and discussed with said chief computer advisor... ;) and I have been sort of assuming that this would be my preferred method of computing if I decided to get a computer.  I spent a short time on the site today and realized two things, one, there site is not good, and that it is tough to pick one given the way they present things to you.  I did find several things though that would be good to have:
  • 3G connectivity - though this may only be available through specific carriers
  • A solid state hard drive.  This would run cooler and be a bit more secure in terms of getting bumped around
  • Webcam, though they didn't seem to have very good ones, 1.3 megapixels was the largest I found.  I thought I'd seen 2mp from them in the past.  
  • They had one with a battery up to 13 hours... nice!!
  • A variety of operating systems
  • They have something (probably marketing speak) called a "Super Hybrid Engine" for longer battery life.
  • Memory can be 1 or 2 GB
  • WLAN and Bluetooth 
  • A Microphone
  • Non glare screen 
So with this info I will need to see what kind of machine I can come up with.  But you can't just 'build it' like you can with Dell.  Annoying...  Anyway, my computer time seems to have dwindled...  Enjoy the day...

No comments:

Post a Comment