If you're traveling reasonably far off the beaten path and you want to stay connected, there's a number of things I've found to be useful.
We're staying with my sister-in-law who works for the UN ICTR (International War Crimes Tribunal on Rwanda) in Arusha. We're actually living outside Arusha in a town/village called Njiro. The power is only on from about 9pm to 9am, and is usually off in the daytime. The water supply also turns on and off, so there is a 5000 liter tank on top of the house. When the water turns on, assuming the electricity is also on, a pump takes water up to the tank, and because it's on the roof we get water pressure.
As for the computer and internet, they're using a Dell Inspiron 7500 that I gave them a few years back. It's running Windows Server 2000 and was SP2 along with Office XP. I wanted to update them to SP4, but the download is 129megs.
The connection to the internet is a CDMA cell phone connection that starts at 9600bps and tops out (bursts) to 163kbps which is about 16K a second, although the effective bandwidth is about 7K a second. The biggest problem is timeouts and lag. We're using a Huawei modem which looks exactly like a regular desk phone, except it has an antenna. It's connected via a USB to Serial cable, with USB on the computer side and 9pin serial on the phone side. The phone also has an internal battery.
It's actually very common to see ladies on the side of the road (when you're outside of town) with these phones on a small table. They charge passersby to use the phone like a pay phone. It looks and feels like a regular phone, it's just a cell phone.
Tracing route to hanselman.com [18.104.22.168]over a maximum of 30 hops:
1 * * * Request timed out. 2 311 ms 340 ms 381 ms msd-hq.ttcldata.net [192.168.3.2] 3 621 ms 331 ms 501 ms 22.214.171.124 4 341 ms 320 ms 361 ms 126.96.36.199 5 981 ms 2284 ms 941 ms t3a1-fa2-0-0.uk-goo.eu.bt.net [188.8.131.52] 6 1402 ms 951 ms 971 ms t2c2-p3-2.uk-lon2.eu.bt.net [184.108.40.206] 7 891 ms 841 ms * t2c2-p4-2.uk-ilf.eu.bt.net [220.127.116.11] 8 1072 ms 1282 ms 2003 ms t2c2-p4-0.us-nyb.eu.bt.net [18.104.22.168] 9 2123 ms 961 ms 1632 ms jfk-brdr-01.inet.qwest.net [22.214.171.124] 10 * 921 ms * jfk-core-02.inet.qwest.net [126.96.36.199] 11 * * * Request timed out. 12 1272 ms 1152 ms 1482 ms atl-edge-07.inet.qwest.net [188.8.131.52] 13 1402 ms 982 ms 971 ms 184.108.40.206 14 1052 ms 1201 ms 1082 ms v11.cd2.peak-10.net [220.127.116.11] 15 982 ms 1071 ms 1202 ms 18.104.22.168 16 1532 ms 1031 ms 1042 ms infoquestgujarat.com (hanselman.com) [22.214.171.124]
Timeouts and long lags are common so here's what we do:
Anyway, have a nice day. We're going for a walk now. I'll post more on Malaria and my recent strange sickness later.
Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.