I am feeling SO happy about modems at the moment! Particularly the one in this photo.
Many Tanzanians have spent long hours helping me find a modem that would work with the Linux-based Powering Potential computers.
Today we crossed the finish line :) and I am a happy camper!
Mtituh, Chief Manager Hardware & Data Communications at Tanzania Postal Bank, has been generously offering his advice. I met him months ago on ethinktanktz.org, an online forum for Tanzanian technology professionals (I was invited to join). Last week he asked me to come to his office so he could demonstrate a solution. I have a laptop similar to the Powering Potential computers so we could test the solution. He plugged a Zain modem (Internet router actually) into my laptop and bingo it WORKED! no configuration, no frustration, it just worked....truly plug and play....I was off and running around the Internet.
As soon as I left his office I went to the Zain shop to buy one; I tested it again in their shop and bingo it WORKED again. My spirits are starting to soar...two tests, two successes. However I didn't have enough money to pay for it - having my ATM cards stolen has put a crimp in my financial flexibility so I couldn't go to an ATM to get the money. My sister sent me money through Western Union and today I bought the modem. I had tested it twice so I didn't bring my computer with me (always a risk of it being stolen) to test the modem a third time; I just bought it, came home, plugged it in and bingo, it DIDN'T work!
OK...I thought...I KNOW this thing works. So I went to the Zain headquarters to visit my new best friend Jean Paul, Zain's technical guru, and he figured it out (he's been helping me with many of my Tanzanian communication problems :) The problem was that the SIM card wasn't configured to accept Internet data....just voice and SMS. He reconfigured the card and I'm experiencing the Joys of Technology again!
This modem/router works with Ethernet and USB cables and wirelessly. My original reason for wanting a modem was to get online with my own computer and not be dependent on undependable hotel and Internet cafe services. With my own modem I can compute to my heart's content while in Tanzania. And now that I have a working modem we can try it at the schools to determine it's viability for use there.
Happy Days are here again!