Collected together, though, this vision of Singapore — on the ground and under it, in the air and beneath the sea, a city and a country and a transnational entity all at once — feels fantastic. Then again, even Singapore as it is — born a slum-ridden speck with no oil, no hinterland and a volatile mix of ethnicities, raised with an authoritarian hand and transformed into one of the most prosperous, most politically meek nations on earth — even this Singapore tugs at the bounds of our credulity.
I was humming along on the internet last Tuesday when the ‘next page’ link didn’t work for some reason. That’s not so unusual so I tried another site. Nothing. I rebooted. Nothing. I rebooted the router/etc. Nothing. I repeated this for hours. Nothing. I tried my mobile phone internet to see if there was some reported problem with SingTel. There was no internet there either. I tried calling support and the call failed. After dozens of attempts the call connected but the line sounded like a modem from days gone by. I finally had to borrow a Starhub phone from a friend to get through to SingTel support to be told that there is no problem with anything. Of course we had to reboot everything again and again to have a tech sent out … on Saturday! This was my first week of a class that is incredibly dependent upon being able to connect to the net!
On the side of the mobile phone at least, it suddenly started working around lunchtime on Wednesday. According to the Strait’s Times the SingTel 3G network was out for most of the country for a day and a half. And the “customer support” line just lied. On a hilariously infuriating note, after getting through for a few seconds and being disconnected, I got an immediate SMS asking me to kindly rate their service! It would have been considerably less slimy if the largest and most stable phone company in this country would have thought to send some sort of notice to their subscribers (by SMS which worked through everything) rather than lying and causing everyone somehow suddenly out of communication to try reinstalling their phone and other destructive behaviors.
Back to the internet. We have high speed fiber. All of the router lights were green. I would have been happier if they were red since that would be more believable. The tech confirmed, what they didn’t want to believe when speaking to them, that even the admin interface to the router was inaccessible when directly connected to it while all lights still happily smirked green. He replaced the router and it worked. Then it didn’t. Replug. Reboot. Works. Doesn’t. Hard-Reset. Okay. Happiness. I feel a bit bad for the tech since we still don’t know what was wrong, why it was wrong, and how on earth the lights were green despite everything being wrong. He promised to write up the whole situation in their records to that if (when?) this happens again someone might believe me. I somehow doubt they will.
For now, the lifeblood flows …
I understand that Siri is still in beta, but it can still be extremely irritating how it interprets some things so oddly. I asked “How far is it from Singapore to Amsterdam” with Siri just insisting that it “cannot give directions in Singapore.” I’m sure everyone knows already, but it’s often best to prefix whatever you want to ask with “Wolfram” to increase your chances of getting some sort of sensible response. I suppose this would be much less important in the US … and have anecdotally heard that some Australians are having trouble getting the word “wolfram” itself to be recognized. <Giggle>
Before it’s suggested that SingTel has def!nd out now as a localized Siri, def!nd works fine to search for local things, but is and never was intended to be a drop-in Siri replacement despite what some deluded reporters like to put in their headlines.