One of the things I did while back in OZ was do all of those downloads that are just too painful to do here. I knew there was a reasonable chance I could bludge off one of my hosts (ie the multiple households I bludged off while away), but the first crack I had was at an internet cafe with super-fast broadband.
I had a large list of bits and pieces to download (eg software updates, Windows patches etc.) and I blitzed through that list in next to no time. I was actually gob-smacked at how quick it was.
So instead of growing older doing big stuff via dial-up here, I decided to hit a few big downloads (funny how Windows updates always seems to be on the list) at a Dili internet cafe. I had forgotten that there is broadband and there is not broadband.
At the 1st internet cafe (US$6 per hour), I was slowly crunching my way through when a squad of OZ troops bowled in and bam, everything hit the wall. Initially, throughput slowed then my system complained that someone else had nabbed my IP address so internet traffic stopped. I tried to complain but got nowhere so left. I moved onto another internet cafe (US$4 per hour) and after 5 minutes, the Microsoft update server had still not responded. There was muttering around me suggesting that throughput had ceased. I packed up and left, concluding that my dial-up was faster than this anyway.
So I go home and find someone has sent me a huge (apparently) amusing email with pictures. I think I aged 5 years after all of this.
I came across something more serious than slow Narrow-Band–software to cut down on drinking.
Computer Program Helps Reduce Drinking
Having created a computer program that seems to help excessive drinkers reduce their intake, researchers said they hope to offer the program for alcoholics to use at home or over the Internet.
In a study released July 21, researchers at the University of Wales, Bangor, found that three months after going through the Alcohol Attention-Control Training Program, alcohol abusers drank less, paid less attention to alcohol and felt more in control of their drinking.
Computer programs are being assessed in multiple institutions for a variety of public health purposes, like patient education or monitoring cognitive ability in dementia patients.
The program described in the study helps alcohol abusers pay less attention to alcohol stimuli. In one training regime, an alcoholic and nonalcoholic drink are shown on a computer screen, each surrounded by a different color. The participant must then identify the color surrounding the nonalcoholic bottle as quickly as possible.
Participants who drank heavily had more difficulty with this task, but became faster over time as they learned to ignore the alcohol stimulus.
“Over a course of four sessions, our sample of excessive drinkers showed significant reductions in their attentional focus on alcohol, which translated into lower alcohol consumption,” said Miles Cox, one of the researchers who conducted the study.
“Excessive drinkers unconsciously pay too much attention to the alcohol-related stimuli that surround us all,” Cox said. “When excessive drinkers encounter drink-related stimuli, this activates automatic thought processes that stimulate them to want a drink and to actually take a drink.”
The researchers said they hope to offer the program to a wider scope of people. The reasoning is that such training will help people avoid alcohol when tempted by advertisements or sales displays.
The study examined 220 people identified as social drinkers, heavy drinkers and excessive drinkers. Those who drank the most were the most likely to be distracted by alcohol-related stimuli.
Fifty excessive drinkers (consuming an average of 72 alcohol units a week) took four training sessions over one month. These drinkers reported reduced consumption of alcohol, a state that was continued over the course of a three-month follow-up period.
However, the researchers said the program they developed will probably not work to stop alcohol abuse by itself because alcohol abusers need to develop new habits and hobbies to fill the parts of their lives formerly occupied by alcohol.
The research project was funded by the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council).
Thanks Rat. I will pass on this public service message to those who DO have a drinking problem. The east is pink.
I was wondering which internet cafe you went to? Is it the one somewhere opposite foodstart/metrocafe and ran by a chinese family? I thought that one is among the best that I’ve used so far. the broadband is pretty fast even on a busy day unless the telcom’s not as effective as it used to be. by the way, what are you working as in Dili? I used to be a volunteer with worldvision.
The first one I went to was across from the ANZ. Download speed was OK until the troops arrived and then some configuration error on their network caused my connection to cease. The girl at the front desk had no idea what I was talking about when I said “you have a technical problem”.
The Global Net internet cafe was apalling. Maybe they were having a bad day or maybe the recent influx of military has blown away the meagre bandwidth.
I am ex-internet techie so know about these things. As for what I do now – I do part-time unpaid work writing a blog !! 🙂 And …