I have almost forgotten what has changed lately, having spent far too much time pondering over Dili-gence technical problems in recent weeks.

As one commenter mentioned recently, it does look like the Indian Megha restaurant is closed and I think the Thai Pavilion has also shut its doors. That all comes not long after the Fat Boys closure and the temporary Thai Jasmin closure.  [ADDED : and Carlos (ex-Purple Cow) across from Exotica].

The Jardim IDP camp (ie the one between the port and Hotel Timor) has almost emptied of people and tents. To be honest, the area looks a bit on the post-apocalyptic side today.

The road block near the Memorial Hall by the lighthouse has now been removed, which will take the heat off the roads around Motael. Regular roadblocks outside Hotel Timor seem to be more common these days, presumably because some person deemed to be of note is staying in the hotel.

The odd bits of road repair are occuring. I am sure traffic is the heaviest I have ever seen these days.

The Mr. Timor competition was held last weekend. (Think male bodies, oil and bravado.) I was elsewhere at a farewell function but I am told it was all a bit of a laugh.

The dog bite wound is still slowly healing up. The back is better after the fall 2 weeks ago but the shoulder is not in such good shape – strained ligaments or something. Note to file : do not trip over while running at pace and hit a solid immovable object.

And FOS had a big birthday a couple of weeks back.

OK, now we might be OK again

I thought everything was back under control but it appears that there was a misunderstanding between myself and my web hosting provider.  My provider went way above expectations in trying to help me out when Dili-gence disappeared off the TL internet map but somewhere along the line, he got the DNS messed up.

It is normal for there to be 2 DNS servers for a domain which provide the translation from “” to an IP address.  Somewhere along the line, he had one pointing to the old server and one to the new.  So sometimes I could post (to the new) and sometimes I couldn’t – depended on whichever server I got.

When a reader pointed this out to me, I asked the provider to fix it and clearly asked him to shift the web site to the new server where my posts were going.  I really meant point both DNS servers to the new server.  So he copied the contents of the old server to the new and I lost quite a few posts.  I have put them back but lost a few readers comments along the way.

It has been a bad 2 or 3 weeks for the technical background stuff.

“I’m back” says the Bloginator

Yesterday may have been “Restoration of Independence Day” here but for Dili-gence, it was Restoration of Internet Day.  Dili-gence is now visible in TL again after about 2 weeks in the barbed-wire canoe.  It sometimes pays to be a surly curmudgeon or at least know someone who is.

Prepare for a brain-dump of the last 2 weeks of interrupted activity.  I know there must be something in there.

The bad week has now ended

I believe I have almost recovered from the expired credit card saga.  Not that a credit card is particularly useful here, but if you have a few automatic deductions going through your card and it expires and due to a delivery error, the replacement card is returned and destroyed, and you start getting notifications suggesting that automatic payments are failing, well …

And then you have all this trouble re. this website not being visible to local internet users – need I say more in this post.  I think I am making headway on this one.

And you cop a bad prawn at a local restaurant on the weekend thus resulting in “enjoying oneself in reverse”, mercifully in the ablution facilities at home.

And you also hurt your back by tripping over while running thus making lying down an ineffective vector for cutting edge relaxation.  Well, its over.

I am popping an ibuprofen and am going to stack a few zeds tonight prior to tomorrow’s cultural extravaganza in front of the Palacio do Governo.  Military parade and flag raising at 9am.  Cultural activities during the day.  More military parade and flag lowering at 5pm and fireworks at 8:30pm down at Cristo Rei.   Monty Python here we come.

Open letter to dorks at Timor Telecom

One of my readers has brought this issue to my attention and it possibly explains why Dili-gence is invisible to Timor Telecom customers.  Apparently, this issue is not uncommon but it just requires “keeping up-to-date” with the state of play on internet IP address allocation.  Not surprisingly, this is what ISPs are meant to be good at.

In plain English, all visible computers on the internet have a unique number (ie IP address) which identifies that computer.  The hardware that shovels around messages on the internet (called routers) generally know where they need to send stuff based on these numbers.   When the numbering system was first set-up years ago, no-one could have predicted the massive growth in demand for numbers.  However, the people that defined the numbers had left a block of numbers as “reserved” for other uses.

Once the available numbers became scarce, the boys decided to release some of the reserved numbers.  Before then, the routers only needed to know about shovelling around data for the known available set of numbers.  When the “reserved” numbers were released, routers needed to be re-configured to recognise these additional numbers.  If you don’t do that, those new numbers remain unknown and internet traffic for those addresses goes nowhere.

Please refer to the following web sites :

For a general technical commentary,
For the timeline of release of new numbers,

TT, could you please refer to the list of numbers in the “Bogon List” and re-configure your routers accordingly.  The IP address of Dili-gence was changed to an address in a range released on 27 March 2007.  I am happy to come over and do it for you.  A slab of Sagres Preta will do fine.

If you do not do so, you may be breaking a contractual obligation with your customers.

Is this OK, JH ?

Dili-gence down – Timor only

I have had a very confusing week.  Dili-gence is not visible through any customer connected through Timor Telecom.  But for everyone else, it is fine.  A series of coincidences certainly confused me.

Firstly, my regular credit card payments to my hosting provider ceased because my credit card has expired.  So when the first problems started, I put them down to the provider shafting me.  Then I discover that coincidentally, my provider had shifted dili-gence to a new server at around the same time, so assumed that must be the problem.  Then I have an email trade with the provider and resolve the credit card issue but I am told there has been no downgrading in my service at all and as far as they are concerned, my site is running fine.

I check with people out of the country.  Yep all is well out there.  I still get people constantly telling me they can’t see dili-gence from here in Dili.  I check IP addresses in case it is an IP address issue.  No, both TT customers and others report the same IP address.  If the IP address had changed a week ago (with the server change), it should have filtered through the DNS system within 24 hours and obviously did.

What can I conclude but either TT is blocking the site,  or their web page caching server is stuffed and needs re-starting.  I can’t think of anything else.  I can’t believe the first option is the case as I doubt TT have the skills to do it.  Stuffing up a caching server configuration makes more sense to me.

So if you are wondering how some people can access it here, there are a number of organisations who are permitted to bypass TT, such as the UN, World Bank,  ADB, embassies, country-based aid organisations and the odd grey market connection is being in slipped in.  I even recall the government office that had internet supplied via an informal cable strung over a fence from a rather large organisation.

Cuban Doctors

I’ll get to the Cuban doctors but I was visiting the National Hospital during the week and was gobsmacked to find that the huge number of IDPs (internally displaced persons) have disappeared.  I know this was causing a major problem.  Imagine running a hospital with many of the bits of green space between buildings and pathways filled in with people living in tents.  It had been like that for about 2 years.

Dili National Hospital is a sprawling campus of ground level buildings in various states of repair and renovation.  New parts have been built in the last year or so and they look quite reasonable and even more so without the mini-tent city to navigate around.

The removal of the IDPs must have happened within the last 2 weeks.  There will be fewer chickens wandering the grounds and one suspects a vast improvement in general sanitation around the place.

I understand that the hospital system relies quite heavily on the input of Cuban doctors.  There was an interesting documentary on TV a few weeks back which helped fill in a few information gaps for me on the Cuban health education system.  Cuban doctors work for very little money and a lot of them are sent around the world.

There are over 250 Cuban doctors here in TL, practicing in hospitals all over the country.  Their salaries and flights out here are paid by the Cuban government but accommodation and local transport is provided by the TL government.  Some say the whole health system depends on the Cubans to keep it running at all.

Web hosting problems

I am not sure how long Dili-gence will be alive on the web as I have a problem with making payments to my web hosting provider.  I am a bit out of the loop with regard to just how one gets a new credit card delivered these days.

My credit card expires May 2008 and I am waiting for the new one.  About 3 weeks ago, I faxed a confirmation to OZ confirming that I do indeed live out of the country and yes, it is OK to deliver it overseas.  Since then, nothing.  I am not sure what I am meant to do next but nothing has happened and until I get my credit card with the magical numbers on the back, I can’t make my web hosting provider payment.

I have now received an email saying my web hosting subscription is cancelled but Dili-gence is still there/here.  I have emailed a grovelling reply but am stuck until Monday when I guess I will have to call OZ to work it all out.

These are just some of the things that can make life quite frustrating living here.  Boy, am I looking forward to the $50 worth of phone calls to sort it out.

On top of all that, I have been having trouble posting most of this week and my theory is that the release of Windows XP Service Pack 3 via Windows Update on Tuesday has meant any PCs connected to the internet with Automatic Updates set to on, will be downloading furiously.  Thus grinding some parts of the internet to a halt.  Well, its my theory.

Bar/restaurant closures

Apparently, Fat Boys Bar opened for the last time last night.  Cheap beers were had and lots of snack foods.

About a week ago, the Thai Jasmine restaurant closed and the sign on the gate says something like : “Closed.  Re-opening at the end of May as Tuk Tuk down on the beach”.  I believe this is somewhere down near Hotel California.