The long wait is finally over, we have the internet!
Not that blogable whatnots are going to get more interesting I’m afraid. With this pending exam and my future hanging in the balance, studying has taken up the vast majority of my time here. Saying that, in these last few days I’ve been less active, finding myself getting easily distracted by the wild antics of the animals outside; the magpies, squirrel and cat. Top this off with a swollen index finger (caused by excessive studying I say) and a constant need to walk across town to buy orange juice from Tesco (I could go to a closer Sainsbury’s Local but I’d be paying an extra quid for the same amount of juice), and I’m left with a situation where things could go tits up very quickly.
That being the case, you could easily think that me getting the internet at home is a bad thing as it will lead to more distractions and procrastination (such as writing this blog entry). But thing is, I already had access to the internet from home as we JUST reach the university’s wireless connection. However that comes with a couple of conditions. First of all I can’t go on any website because sometimes certain sites aren’t “appropriate for a university” (like the BBC … ooh … so raunchy). Secondly the signal is weaker than Goldfish Scooping paper, so you keep disconnected at crucial moments like trying to find the reading of a Japanese character because none of your dozen or so textbooks have the foggiest. And the main pain in the arse is how you get online. In order for me to access the internet, I had to have my laptop on a small table next to my chest of drawers facing a wall, and I had to be crouched on hands and knees on top of the drawers. Not ideal.
The internet itself we got a really good deal on. It’s with O2, meaning we had to have a BT landline. Originally we were going to go with Virgin, but since we were outside of their fibre optic zone we could only get their £30 odd pound a month plan (internet and phone) with speeds of up to 3 Meg (don’t be fooled, that’s Megabits NOT Megabytes). Virgin also seem to have a nasty habit of telling all their new customers that unless they already have a BT line then they would be charged £120 (ish) by BT for a new line. This isn’t the case. You only need to pay that if your phoneline has been completely disconnected, and apparently that only happens if the line goes unused for around a year or so. Easy way to check is to stick a phone in the socket and see if you have a dial tone. If you have the tone, chances are very high you don’t have to pay.
Cheeky virgins. *chuckle*
Anyway, O2 do their home broadband in the form of a ‘Takeaway Box’ which you buy from a retailer after checking how the coverage is in your area, for £30. On one particular day however, during a promotional period when the box was only £15, a member of staff at the Carphone Warehouse offered to just give me one for free. Being a very scepticle and untrustworthy person I had to know where the catch was, but there wasn’t one. Just by having a box (which comes with the router etc) doesn’t comit you to anything, and you can take it back within 30 days if you change your mind. So I wander out of the shop with a £30 piece of equipment and a rather confused expression on my face.
This is where the deal gets really good. When we signed up for O2 we were given two treats. The first was a promotional 2 months free, and the second was a credit on the account for £30 for the price of the box (of course I didn’t mention I was given the equipement free). The package we’re on costs £12.23 a month, or if you are an O2 mobile customer (even PAYG if you top up £10 every 3 months) it’s £7.34. I’m a vodafone man due to a free calls offer with the family, but O2 give Sim Cards away on their website, and I’d certainly top up that much for the sake of cheaper internet. All in all this means that with the exception of the BT Line Rental of £12 (ish) a month, we’re getting our first 6 months free (12 month contract).
But wait, there’s a little bit more. O2’s free simcards also come with a range of offers on them and one of them caught my eye; O2 Your Country. With this offer, if you top up over a tenner in a month you get free international calls. Given that I’d be doing this every three months, I could use those calls to get in touch with friends in Japan and say hi. And that’s exactly what I did the other day. Just after it rolled past midnight I was on the phone to a very, VERY shocked Japanese friend of mine was really wasn’t expecting a phone call at breakfast time.
And so there we have it. I really didn’t mean to sound like an advert for O2, but let’s face it they’re not bad. That being said, this is only day 1.