I was away from blogs for a while. I needed a break and was forced on a break by a broken laptop and then that impossible dream called Windows 10. I am sure many millions upgraded without problems but not me. I am stuck with Windows 8.1 (yes feel sorry for me, it is allowed) and the reason why is not Microsoft as far as I can see. It has to do with internet connectivity.
Do you remember the first time you “surfed” without getting wet? Waiting for the horrible screeching sounds of the old 14 400 modems to connect? Yeah, those were the days and the internet almost feared. But we stuck it out bravely and then began talking about 3G and broadband and ISDN. It came with a price and is reckoned to be very expensive. MB for MB we pay more than a place like Nigeria and it is pathetic for a country that prides itself in being the local “super power” and technically advanced. I remember back when I was with a well-known human rights law firm (what was I thinking?) there was a rumour that every child will have his own email address, like a gift from State to him. Of course, the child could and would go to Yahoo or Gmail or Outlook and get the same so it was not much of a gift to begin with. But the idea behind it was good, to ensure technically proficient kids able to research on the internet and use the internet for the greater good.
Now I do a lot of research on the internet and let me warn you, it is crap. It is utterly remarkable how you find time and time again the same article copied and pasted to another website and they are thin in knowledge. If you read Wikipedia you read basically whatever else you will find and though helpful, be extremely careful what you believe. At one stage I read with considerable astonishment that we had two thousand five hundred Centurion Tanks? Really? And that you fired mortars from a Casspir armoured vehicles? Really? Not where I was and I was actually there when history were made, go and read my Mean Streets Police Series if you don't believe me. So as a research tool the internet is very limited but so are books, by the way. As an author (yes I am beginning to believe I may have a talent from our Lord because it is not me) I can tell you it is very easy to write your own views into the book so that you get your message across. That is not a problem per se but what is a problem is the internet connectivity in this country. Many cannot even access the internet.
My late wife was a computer geek and I am sure she would have been proud to be called that by me, her soul. Whatever you said to her she researched and then proceeded (as we legal men say instead of plain “started”) to ask questions whilst her keyboard hammered away in the background. She tested my brain thoroughly on anything from history to the Miami Dolphins (a team I never heard of before, not being an American) to the Bible. I miss that. I miss the intellectual conversation which is sadly lacking in my life these days. I do believe once I get to heaven and find her we will talk for the first fifty years to catch up. She had an advantage over me, being smarter but also a very fast internet we can only dream about. Yes, she could download whatever she pleased because she had no limits really on her MBs per month. And yes, I understand the privilege on what such plans cost and I would gladly pay the same as she paid in Florida (US, not JHB) for it. But I cannot, we don't have anything close to it.
We pay per MB used in this country. Yes a privileged few have better and “unlimited” use of MBs but probably 90% of us are not like that. We are abused, as is often the case where poor people and corporates meet, into limited internet, limited research, limited job searches and limited upgrades. I think this is a social and economic issue more than a legal one. I downloaded the Windows 10 update four times and each time it did not install costing besides many apologies to God for language unbecoming so much money I could just as well have gone to the store and bought the damn software. And why is this Microsoft's fault you ask? It is not. That is my entire point. What went wrong is the internet signal. You cannot download 3GB in one go. After an hour and every hour on the dot the signal goes down to 2G and you are stuck. You then reboot the WiFi device (something I complained about before, no doubt) and the download continues but it won't install because it has errors on it. The only people making money here is the one that caused the problem, the internet line provider who is incapable of delivering.
So what do you do? Legally you have no options. If you read their contracts you will note they ensure they cannot be sued for a lack of service delivery. And they will keep you busy in the courts for ten years, they can afford to be arrogant because the playing field is tilted. The rich have their ways into bedroom of the poor (from a Leonard Cohen song) and you know what happens then? Yeah, I was tempted to describe scenes sometimes known as “horse artillery style” but won't. The practical answer is to emigrate to a place where you do have decent internet and are able to shame the corporates into service delivery.
I wonder how much money is lost because of the lack of infrastructure? Take for instance my company and let us leave Windows 10 now, I will live with Windows 8.1. Many times I am asked for a video conference over Skype with clients, overseas lads who need the knowledge I have to keep them safe and sound. And guess the embarrassment when that link is so slow I look even more like the village idiot than normal. And worse they say “Ah, it is South Africa mate” as if that is an excuse. Yeah, may the service providers be cursed even more than what they are now.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a practicing commercial law attorney for eight years. He also wrote several books on business, law, counter terrorism and security issues. He is a widower and lives in Bloemfontein, South Africa.