Saturday, December 31, 2005

Cybercafes in Mapusa

Cybercafe in Mapusa
web page on a screen in a Cybercafe in Mapusa, India
Getting Internet access proved more difficult in India than I expected. The village has a pulse dial telephone system which I was unable to get to work reliably with my PC. The GSM mobile phone signals don't travel well through the 500 mm thick iron stone walls and steel barred windows of the houses. So far I have not been able to configure the GPRS of my phone with the local system. So I had to visit one of the numerous and cheap cybercafes. Avoiding the more expensive tourist centers near the beach, the market town of Mapusa has old inexpensive ones. The catch is the low speed (about 1.2 kilobytes per second). The service is good, with staff able to supply blank CD-ROMs and a burner equipped PC. My web page looked okay on the slightly fuzzy 12 inch CRT screen.

In the photo, note the cybercamera, Dlink router and a bell (for summoning assistance) on top of the screen. I was able to plug my laptop into a spare port on the router, but this was so slow as to not be worth the effort. An alternative for householders is that TaTa (a conglomerate which builds trucks as well) provide a CDMA fixed wireless service. The householder gets an LG made desk phone (LG LSP-350 T) which has a antenna on the back. They can connect a PC using a serial port or USB at up to 153.6 kbps. The handset also has a battery for power failures and SMS facilities. There are also GSM desktop units available which can be plugged into a standard phone handset.


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