“Have you checked your computer for spyware, trojans and other malicious software, sir?”, asked the support tech at Telekom Malaysia’s Streamyx Support Line.
“I use Ubuntu”, I said slowly and smugly, relishing her inevitable conundrum, not knowing what Ubuntu is, but being unable to admit it. I let my superior operating system’s name sink in for a few seconds before I added, “Ubuntu Linux. I Use Ubuntu Linux.”
StreamyX doesn’t mix so well in my house
For months my broadband connection has been slightly faster than an ISDN line (remember those?) and after experiencing lighting fast connections, on slower packages no less, at my friends’ houses, actually watching a 3-minute YouTube video on the fly, I decided it was time to complain.
For the last week I’ve been in fruitless deliberations with the Telekom Malaysia’s tech support, them trying to solve the reason for my slow connection. On 3 occasions I had to sit through their 12-step solution-to-everything support exercises.
At the support’s request, I’ve done more than 6 speed tests where I log into their ftp server with a piece of Java software that downloads a 1MiB file and confirms, time and time again, that I get max 245kbps off a connection that advertises 1028kbps and aims to deliver at least 80% of that. As if by telling them my head hurts when I knock it against the wall isn’t enough, they have to see me knock my head and feel the bump before they believe me.
They’ve even sent over a technician (phone line technician) who looked at the admin area of my ADSL modem, saw that it says I’m actually connected at 1,536kps and took that as the obvious, irrefutable proof that they are in fact giving me what I’m paying for, yet couldn’t explain why his own website, http://www.tm.net.my took a good 3 minutes to download.
“It’s the computer” he says, pointing at my incriminatingly alien operating system. “Erm, no, it isn’t” I say as I repeat the slow-loading-tm.net.my page trick on my desktop computer that runs XP – and is riddled with malicious software that I got from sticking my pendrive into computers at my previous employer. The Jouro appears from another room to do the same with her notebook that runs Vista. But he has nothing to say about that.
Eventually he left saying he would switch the physical port of my line at the hub, but as it turns out he had the last laugh, as after he did that, my connection slowed to speeds I last experienced when I had dial up.
The tech support saga continues, and I only hope that I can get up to a speed that will allow me to download the much anticipated Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex that is due to be released in about 8 days time.
Yup, it’s good to be using a free, community supported operating system that releases an improved version with new features every 6 months. I had my first whiff of Ubuntu when it was Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon, my first steps away from Windows.
Soon after I was awed by my current installation of Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron, and I can only expect great things from the Intrepid Ibex. I see also that the next release has been named and will be Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope, scheduled for release in April 2009.
Of course, a fast connection sure would make life…. faster.