Archive for July 2010

Caving in the Peak District

I’ve been caving in quite a few places in the UK, but never in the Peak District, until this weekend. I went up there with a few friends from Winchester for a long weekend to do the round trip route in Giants Hole – was a fun trip, but was very pleased the water level in the Giants Windpipe section wasn’t too high.

Here’s a video showing some of the more interesting sections (Giants Windpipe starts just after 6mins):

Will need to sort out getting a robust & waterproof camera to take down when I go next time, otherwise I just end up with a photo of us all standing outside the entrance, a bit like this…

Rob, Steve, Paul, me and Steve outside entrance to Giants Hole

Getting connected

I’ve just moved back to my old house in Northampton and have been trying to figure out if there is a way to get a decent broadband connection at home but without a 12+ month contract. there do seem to be a few places which offer shorter contracts (1 or 3 month notice), but then a phone line is also needed – which again, requires a 12 month contract. Plus for the short term contracts, there is a connection fee. The only place I found that would offer short term broadband plus phone was IDnet (http://www.idnet.net) – but this is going to be an expensive option. £17.99 per month for broadband, £10 per month for line rental and £47 connection fee = total of £130.97 for 3 months (or about £44 per month). I’m currently using a o2 mobile broadband dongle (£15 per month or 3Gb download), so works out at £45 for 3 months, unless I start going over the 3Gb limit (very likely). Although even with allowing for spending on extra downloads, this will still works out much cheaper. If anyone has any better, cheaper suggestions (not including hacking a neighbours wireless connection!), I’d be very interested to hear.

The main downside I’ve found with the mobile broadband is the speed, it’s noticeably slower than fixed line broadband – although with the connection speeds I had in Ethiopia, the mobile broadband in UK is a vast improvement in terms of both speed and cost. Whilst in Addis the other day I noticed that the CDMA internet connection was far slower than that available in Mekelle, I expect as a result of the number of people using CDMA now and the lack of capacity in the infrastructure. As a result more people are buying EVDO connections – these are monthly contracts and quite expensive (approx 460 birr per month minimum). If EVDO becomes too popular it’s only a matter of time before these seem slow and unreliable.

Apart from these hassles, moving back to the house has been good. Realised just how much stuff I managed to pack into the loft, so have spent the last couple of days moving everything down and getting it sorted out. Most of which I’ll get rid of in one form or another (freecycle, charity shops etc).