International Traveling Technology Travails, Part Five: Internet Edition, Redux
So we finally got internet in our apartment late last week. Yippee, I feel human again … at least until I started using the internet again. What is wrong with people?
Anyway, that part was relatively easy, with Cecile as the go-between with me doing the research and our landlady (not sure what else to call, but it doesn’t seem the right term exactly) giving her the options. I was going for the cheaper slower route, but apparently we’re already wired for the more expensive, faster option, so we went with that. After Cecile convinced her that no, we really didn’t want a bundle with TV. So there’s another item for the list on how things aren’t really any different here than in the states. Prices for the internet are about the same too, I think, although one interesting thing is that on their websites the providers list (I assume they’re required to) clearly and in some detail both the advertised speeds, average speeds (up and down) and average speeds by location along with more details along those lines. Kind of nice.
But Where’s All My Stuff
And while getting online was nice and all, and we could all easily check our e-mails and update our games (Joel), with no TV the need to access Hulu & Amazon Prime became all important. Even before leaving for Chile we had been checking out one option in order to try and watch the Olympics in a non-sucky way (i.e. without #NBCFail being involved).
Step One: Hola (no, really, and it’s not related to our coming to a Spanish speaking country)
Cecile discovered this one; it’s a browser-based VPN add-on for Chrome & Firefox (including, I believe, on iOS) that’s free to install and use. Once it’s installed, you click the icon in the upper right of your browser and select where you want to browse from. You might have several different options depending on the country you want to view from. It didn’t work great for the Olympics (we tried CBC (Canada) and BBC), we got connected but lots of stuttering, but has worked fine for Joel to watch his shows on Hulu.
Step Two: Where I Become a VPN Ninja
Obviously not really, but I did take some effort to get it working. But get it working I did, so now in addition to being able to watch the Amazon Prime for which I’ve already paid I can also browse privately if I wish. Got this one working on the iPad also, which generally gives a much better Prime experience through their app (plus the speakers on the Macbook Air aren’t really up to snuff compared to the iPad).
So after looking around for free solutions (not free to try, ofwhich there were many), I came upon VPNBook, which in addition to providing a front end to OpenVPN has very nice step-by-step instructions for getting it all set up. And it really is totally free. Took me a couple of tries to understand everything (and to RTFS completely), but once working it’s no problem. Installation on the iPad was easy as well, and Prime works like a charm through the app, better than on the Air, no stopping for caching as we had on the computer.
So feeling pretty good about this whole Internet thing right now, getting back to work when Joel’s in school, and continuing to settle in for the long haul.