Learning Curves Can Cost Ya!

As my readers know the house here in Boquerón doesn’t have an internet connection so I got a USB modem so I could stay connected. I signed on to a 2 gig plan meaning I can up/download two gigs of information each month.

After two weeks I couldn’t sign on any longer. There were all kinds of theories as to why. One was that Cable and Wireless hadn’t been paid, but a quick check while signed on from the Info Plaza showed this not to be the case. Then it was thought that perhaps in disconnecting the modem without first having clicked the tiny, microscopic icon one is supposed to use to safely remove such things as modems and thumb drives. This, too, wasn’t the problem.

On the sixth day with no connection from the house I went with the modem to my agent who happened to be on the phone with the C&W people in Panama City who said that I had gone way over the monthly limit and had racked up 1.35 gigs of overtime to the tune of $138.76! I couldn’t believe it, and though I’ve been playing around with computers since 1995 I learned a heap yesterday.

Most of the blogs I like to follow daily are extremely photo intensive and most of them aren’t “compressed” so they gobble up a lot of megabytes each time I click on one. Bummer. Things like Yahoo and MSN Hotmail are compressed and don’t jack up the usage at nearly the same rate. But still, I had downloaded a bit over half of my monthly allotment in just two weeks of use.

What really killed me was posting to this blog. I, too, like to post a lot of photos and since they aren’t “compressed” you can almost hear the meter running. Just two of my most recent post chalked up half a gig alone. Reluctantly I went to the C&W main office in David and forked over the dough and have rethought how I will have to approach my internet experience until I get back to Potrerillos where I’m not limited in my usage.

In the past and even here using the Info Plaza I would go to the sites I like, copy them and past them into a Word document and place it in a folder marked “Read Later.” The only disadvantage to that is on blogs I’m not able to make comments immediately. For news items and such it doesn’t matter.

So, I can’t use my modem until the middle of December and will have to rely on the Info Plaza for posting new items to my blog. I’ll just have to write my posts at home first and paste them from the Plaza restricting my home usage to emails as much as possible.


Filed under Living Abroad, Retirement, Retirement Abroad, Uncategorized, writing

4 responses to “Learning Curves Can Cost Ya!

  1. Don Ray

    I have coached several bloggers to size their photos before posting. I use GIMP to reduce the size of my photos. Many use photo storage sites and never think about the size of their photos.

    My camera produces a 4 Meg file and I reduce each photo to about 70 kb. They also don’t realize that the huge photos cause their sites to take a long time to download.

    Thanks for the info, Don. I knew that photo-intensive sites take a long time to download, but I didn’t know about the compression thing. I’ll have to check it out myself tomorrow.

  2. Hi Richard:

    I’m sorry to hear about the connection problems and your Internet limitations. I for one, never thought about photo sizes, downloading time or compressed pictures. I thought this was a non-issue until I read your problems.

    I’ll try to limit my photos per blog and see if it helps. Don’t know much about photo compression, but promise to look into it and see if I can reduce the size of my pictures. As you know, I like photography and include at least one photograph per post.they’re

    How is the river problem evolving? Boquerón was on the news last evening and people were pretty worried about the flooding of Río Piedra.

    Please don’t limit the number of photos you post, Omar. They’re what make your blog so great, and looking at it when I’m at the Info Plaza it certainly isn’t a problem. But check out Don Ray’s comment about compressing photos. Good info for all of us.

    Best Regards,


  3. penmanship

    I am amazed at how much time and energy and effort it takes you to simply get out and about to deal with the ordinary nuts and bolts of life.
    To me, it seems to be a self imposed ordeal. Why don’t you simply take all or some of the money from the car you sold your ner-do-well roomate (sp?) and buy a small beater car or even a simple motorscooter or a gas or electric powered three wheeler? OK it rains a lot. Use foul weather gear, as you’ve done on boats for years pack your stuff in plastic “body bags” or saddle bags and regain complete control your life and mobility again. Is a beater car or scooter and insurance so prohibitivly expensive there?
    I have been struck several times by the constraints you’ve seemingly placed uppon yourself – for example having to be careful about what you buy at the store because you have to lug it home to the closest stop on the bus.

    I’m just a few years younger than you and share many of the same health issues you have. Unfrortunately I’m still a smoker – which makes me automatically very stupid considering my age and condition. Which ain’t getting any better soon.
    However if you could just zip over to the local internet cafe at city hall quickly and easily whenever you wish, you wouldn’t need your CW access – which is, as you’ve said is “shitty” anyways. Plus, the $138 bucks they just taged you would buy a lot of gas for a beater car or scooter.

    What’s the official and correct position on this so that I may learn.
    I don’t want to be like you when I grow up, but fear I shall…
    Capt. Dan of the Proud Penmanship

    Once and a while it seems like a pain in the old whazoo not having a car, but another way of looking at it is: I’m RETIRED! What the hell else do I have to do? I don’t need to be anywhere at any specific time and with gas at $3.16 for low-cal unleaded I can make three round-trips into David from Boqueron and still have change left over from a gallon when it’s over. One trip in a beater would just about eat up a gallon so I’m ahead of the game. I DID look at a couple of motor cycles in David in the last couple of weeks, but the way people drive here they’re little more than death machines, I think.

  4. Hi Richard…rediscovered your blog while reading Don Ray’s CC blog and Omar’s Lingua Franca blog. I read your blog several months ago before you moved to Panama. It was a post about a hamburger joint…and very interesting.

    Resizing pictures: The images that come out of cameras are usually printable – 180 to 300 pixels per inch (PPI). Assuming a pixel is similar to a dot (as in dots per inch…or DPI), a printed image needs more dots of ink on the paper to approximate a viewed image on a computer monitor. Images intended for the Internet (and viewing on a monitor) only require 72 PPI. So, when resizing, you can downsize the image pixels to 72PPI and perhaps 720 to 900 pixels on the long edge of the shot.

    Thanks for taking the time to share the information, Michael. Don and Omar are both on my daily reading list as well.