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by bondingwithmyimaginaryfriend

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RTW-career-gap-year kinda mission till June 2010, I think.

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The GPRS fork

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Or how to fix a mobile internet dongle when one has no tools in the arse end of nowhere.

Let's face it, Rote is pretty remote. Not the kinda place one pops out for a soldering iron and a miniature torx bit for your jewellery sized screwdriver set. Hyperbole? Me? Never...

My good host has a GSM USB dongle for his laptop. Handy to get an internet connection every now and then. As the signal is so bad at his house he purchase the optional extra aerial in a very fetching black.

To get the aerial right into the roof, in a room on the upper storey, the base of the aerial is gaffer taped to a 2 metre plastic pole. Whence from an extension lead snakes down and connects the 2 together.

After a mysterious midnight visitor, the doors are never locked here, the tiny co-axial connector of the extension lead broke out of the dongle.

Alas, alak! No signal. I put the best of my IT troubleshooting skills to work on the issue and deduced that the extra bit now attached to the connector is in fact part of the internal aerial.

In a word, screwed. One might be tempted to use more profane language, such as my host might have. This is a family orientated blog and I'd hate to possibly offend my 2, maybe 3, regular readers.

However, my hypothesis needed to be tested. So off we trundled into town, closer to the big mast to see if I deduced correctly.

Having found an open eatery I set to work. My mate had a bite to eat. Booting up the laptop closer to the mast made no real difference.

So I devised an acid test. In South Africa there is an Afrikaans saying "'n Boer maak 'n plan". literally "a farmer makes a plan". Grab the fork, bend a prong, insert into the dongle, gently fiddle a bit till the contacts are covered and Hey Presto! Sinyal bagus! 5 bars, there you are. A connection was made and all was well.

If anyone out there in Moblog land has a role for me starting June 2010 I'd be most appreciative. I need a job when I return. I think it's a pretty good example of thinking outside the box... Wait for the punchline...

Except for the forking inconvenience...
31st Oct 2009, 14:30