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We've Got the Internet!

Posted on 2007/03/04 12:42:27 (March 2007).

[Saturday 3rd March]
So Virgin Media came good second time round, a nice young man came round this morning to do the cabling, and shortly after he left I was online and feeling quite jolly about the whole thing.

It turns out cable modems, despite having an Ethernet port, can only work with one computer at a time - I'd naively assumed I could just tack on a regular Ethernet hub and it would let me and Chie connect at the same time. That wasn't quite the case though apparently - I won't go into the intricacies of DHCP leases here, but basically it wasn't having any of it. So I determined we needed to buy a router. We headed out towards the end of the morning for a bit of a wander about, and to take a look at Tottenham Court Road.

We went a very roundabout way - going via Liverpool Street as there was a market on that Chie wanted to visit, and we also had a passable but over priced lunch at the Sausage and Mash place near Spitalfields Market. Their vegetarian sausages are not bad, but sorry, seven quid is too much for two moderately sized sausages, a less-than-generous serving of mash potato, and a splash of gravy.

I found Tottenham Court Road every bit as disappointing as I remembered it. As Chie put it, the scent in the air that you're going to be ripped off hits you immediately as you walk through the door of any of those shops. I'd thought they'd be at least trying to compete with Internet prices these days - I wonder how they stay in business. This was another thing I know I'm going to miss about Japan - there are plenty of shops there selling very reasonably priced electronic goods, and staff that inform you about products in a helpful manner, rather than trying to pin you down with the hard sell as soon as you walk in the door.

I'd seen one particular wireless router on the web for just under 40 quid, which came to about 45 quid once the shipping cost was added in. I thought I wouldn't mind paying a few pounds over that for the convenience of having it there and then, but the high street prices were more in the region of 70 quid. Perhaps my over priced lunch had put me in a miserly frame of mind, but I couldn't justify spending 25 pounds more for exactly the same product, just for the sake of having it a couple of days earlier.

So eventually we headed back to the flat, and I straight off ordered a router over the web. I was then concious we'd need to spend a couple of days sharing the connection somehow, so spent a frustrating couple of hours trying to sort this out. Windows ICS was just totally hopeless, and the Mac version was not perfect either, but I did eventually get something working this way - connecting the Mac to the cable modem, and then sharing the connection to Chie's Windows laptop via wireless. On the downside it seems it is actually impossible to use WEP when you're doing this, so I just had to satisfy myself with restricting connections to a mac address. I'm sure this is less than ideal security wise, but it's only a short term measure until the router arrives.

Comment 1

I had the same assumption when I got my cable modem connection (back in early 2001!). You obviously don't need (or want) an ADSL router...

I agree about the shops pricing being too high - however, there are still a huge number of people who will nto trust teh Internet with their details - and as such must pay a premium.

Posted by tom at 2007/03/05 09:02:17.

Comment 2

I still don't get why the difference is so big - you'd think the delivery costs incurred by mail ordering stuff would offset some of the overheads of buying stuff on the high street, but still the gap is huge.

This really ought to be a big feedback loop - if high street prices are over inflated effectively by property prices, then over time the fact that people buy over the internet ought to mean the shops can't pay their rent, and the property companies have to lower it or lose their income as well... and then eventually the shops should be able to sell at a reasonable price.

Posted by John at 2007/03/11 18:49:02.

Comment 3

...and then as a by-product I'll also be able to buy a house. :)

Posted by John at 2007/03/11 18:50:02.

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