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Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 3:07 pm
by Chuck J 3.0
tonyakaserg wrote:.... like is 'mademsa' fensa ok for a washing machine or should i stick to whirlpool or do i even need a washing machine?.. and same question for for a refrigerator......
only 29 days people!
Oh yes! You'll want a washing machine. Save your sanity and cash and buy one. It will pay for itself pretty soon.

I've noticed the owners of lavanderia's always drive really nice cars :D

I paid USD6.00 to WASH 3.3 Kg of clothes in Valpo. In Renaca during tourist season I've seen USD18-20 to wash a load of clothes. I'm serious. Renaca is a tourist trap, but it's gonna be expensive to take your clothes to a lavanderia regardless of where you live. This is one of the great 'scams' in Chile.

Also, the lavanderia will be closed when you want to wash your clothes.

Clothes dryers? Fogeddaboudit! Might as well be moon rockets, most people hang their stuff in the sun on a clothes line. I think only the rich have a clothes dryer. You can buy one but clothes dryers use too much electricity.

Buy a fridge too. You'll be glad you did.

health care

Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 4:23 pm
by admin
I move the post as requested. Kind of wondering list of topics, even for the Chile Forum.

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 11:36 am
by tonyakaserg
sorry for goin off the topic.. again.. i do that.. i digress...

chuck j and eeuunikkeiexpat thanks for the advice though.. will come in handy..

washing machines

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 8:52 am
by admin
yea, a cheap washing machine will run you about 100,000 pesos. We calculated out that it was running us about 10,000 - 15,000 pesos a week to go to a laundry for two people, apart from the hassle of taking it there.

We also at one point had a women that picked up our clothes, washed them, and dropped them off. It was running about the same. Finally we decided it was just cheaper to hire the woman by the day to clean our house, and buy a washing machine for her to use.

She was charging about 10,000 - 12,000 pesos for just laundry. She was only charging 6,000 pesos a day + transportation (about 500 pesos) as a house keeper, including doing laundry. We now have her clean our house about 3-4 days a week, and laundry. We easily paid for the machine in about a month, plus have the rest of the house taken care of.

She will also show up for special occasions like dinner parties, or if we have guest staying at the house.

People are often willing to work more in Chile for less money, if the work is steady.

By accident, it turns out that her husband is the night watchman for the neighborhood we moved in to also. We at first were not going to pay the local security company for watching the house, until we found out we had someone watching our house with a very serious interest in keeping our house safe. It runs us about 15,000 pesos a month for him. Houses in the area subscribe to be on their route, and they cover about 5 blocks in our area. The security post is just down the street also.

VTR sucks

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 9:48 am
by admin
Well, it finally has gotten too much. We are going shopping for a new internet connection this week. VTR has just really really gotten to be too much.

As I mentioned earlier, this week our internet connection has been cut to about 1/3 of what we payed for, if we are connected at all.

We called VTR yesterday to see what they could do. The first guy we got on the line started by telling me it was my fault for running spyware. The only problem with that theory is that we run all Linux operating systems which means there is essentially no such thing as Spy ware in the sense of viruses that you would get on a Windows computer.

In any case, I am in full control of everything that goes in to and out of my computer. That bit of news, was followed by it was our fault for running Linux. At that point we just said thanks and called back to get a different service rep. The first guy was too ignorant of computers and networking to be of help.

So, the second guy was a bit more helpful. He asked us to go to VTR's speed test website, which promptly registered over 600 kbs. At about the same time I was running speed test from about 5 different sites outside VTR's network, which none would register over 256 kbs a second download. The guy told us as long as we got our 600 kb a second on VTR's website, then their was nothing wrong with our service. My pings and trace routes (reports on response speeds of different servers on the internet) was clearly showing that once we left the VTR network, and reached their upstream providers speeds would go from around 200 ms to 2000 - 4000 ms. So, either VTR is now just outright lying to me, or what they consider their network to be THE INTERNET. I payed for a connection to the Internet, not VTR's internally oversold and under maintained network.

I have been rebooting and rebooting their cable modem in hopes it might correct the problem. For about 5 mins after doing that I get the service we payed for, then it drops off again.

So, they told us they could send a service guy. It would cost 10,000 pesos. So, essentially I have to pay to have them fix their equipment. If I have to pay 10,000 pesos to VTR and waist a day goofing around with their service guys, I am simply going shopping for another service provider.

There are a lot of private computer networks in Chile that are starting to show the problems in their designs, because they were not built for the growth. We found out that Ripley department stores national network went down for almost a week. Also, this week Smartcom (now Claro) had their network accounting also go down. There was small riots at their offices in Temuco with people yelling at them because they could not pay their bills, and service was being cut off to their phones.

I know VTR has been scrambling to expand their network because they oversold in many areas of the country, but failed to design their network in such a way that it could be easily expanded. I see they have moved internally to assigning private address blocks to users, rather than public IP's as they use to. They also recently dropped the annoying attempt at security that locks each cable modem to just one computer hardware MAC address. Our friend on the phone at VTR confirmed this for us.

I plan to checkout Telefonica again. I have had three DSL connections from them in the past without any problems. I believe they also have the tech staff to really run a network as they are an international company. Hopefully their service is still as remember it.

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:40 am
by tonyakaserg
not making me feel very secure about the internet.. mind u i wont rely on it to do business all the time but i will need it to be reliable nonetheless..i guess its one of those things that u get used to in the 1st world.. i will definitely be crossing my fingers i get a wireless signal for free.. at least as a back up.. last time i was in Concepcion i had access to a laptop and had no problems accessing the internet wirelessly.. and i dont think chileans are too cryptic in coming up with WEP keys.. one had 123456789 as a password.. but like ive said b4 i mainly need it to skype..


vtr problems in Chile

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 2:41 pm
by admin
Let me emphasize that VTR is a special case of incompetence in Chile.

I plan to go to Telefonica because they are European / international company with what I hope is over site by international IT professionals and international standardization of the local systems. They run some much bigger systems than VTR.

The problem as I understand it with the history of computing in Chile is that the education department made some very very bad descions in the mid 90's about going all Microsoft in IT training. I am not talking here about teaching secretaries and school kids to use MS Word, but network and systems admin level IT professionals with no experience outside of Windows.

It is still a serious problem. A lot of the votech type schools I have seen that turn out the brunt of mid-level IT grunts in Chile still do not teach anything other than basic Windows networking in their curriculum. A quick look at the 2 to 4 year degree related programs at most schools will at best include coverage of Visual Basic, and perhaps .NET framework. Java, C, C++, python, etc are rarely seen at all, or simply at an introductory level. The "web designers" are really just graphics designers that even at the best schools are only required to take a few courses in Flash and HTML.

This is and was to a great extent because of a hard lobbying push by Microsoft in Chile, and also in part because Chile does have strong software and IP license enforcement. So, businesses, schools, and governments played it safe and started building on the back of Microsoft systems because of the license enforcement but more importantly that there were no IT staff around that could handle unix or linux based servers. I in fact know that one of the gas companies in Santiago was running their system on windows 2000 servers up to a few years ago, and may still be running on them for all I know.

Now, I know there are a lot of people that might say, "well windows is just fine for this sort of thing", what is the problem? which is a whole different issue. The problem is that there are networking and server systems at a certain corporate level for which a Windows only education would not allow them to manage anything more than the most basic functions of the system.

Still today, the open source software repositories in Chile are almost none existent compared to Brazil and Argentina. Software development projects are also almost none existent. Funny thing is much of the hacking that goes on in Chile originates in those countries also.

This is all changing as the demand and pay has risen for the few kids around who stayed in their basement hacking Linux rather than going to school. This is all very recent in the last 2 or 3 years. Five years ago I never remember seeing an IT job listed in the national papers for Unix or Linux experience, now about a good 1/3 of the job offers in IT are asking for Linux background.

The guys making the decisions though still come from a Windows centric background. It is the interaction with networks internationally that has perhaps forced Chile's companies to start switching, but that switch is going to take time to catchup with the damage done by the Microsoft years. In the mean time, the national networks are going through very serious demand growth.

The government has also been doing a very good job of forcing the private sector to go digital also. This year, and likely a source of many of the recent problems in private networks is the IRS and major companies have forced suppliers to go digital. Ripley I know was one of them to force their suppliers to all go to digital invoicing. The IRS has gotten banks to open RUT accounts for people without bank accounts so they can now electronically deposit money and pay taxes.

So, the problem is fairly basic. The demand for computing in Chile is outstripping the supply. Nothing more, nothing less. I think this will eventually sort its self out in the market, but it is annoying waiting for my internet connection to come back in the mean time.

I think some government tax breaks for hardware sales would help to reduce the cost and make access to computers easier for the lower income, along with some real government financial incentives for companies to implement different types of upgrades, education, and so on. Strong incentives for Open Source software I would alway be behind. Big tax breaks to bring in foreign software companies would not hurt either. Many have gone to Brazil and Argentina because of such teasers. Just some ideas.

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:34 am
by Louis
I keeled over laughing reading you talking about spyware and Linux. My wife and I only use Ubuntu Linux. No worries about spyware at all. I can't believe anyone in tech support would ever say that Linux would cause your network speed to be slower. Here, when ever any tech support person tries to act like they know so much, I will mention that I run Linux and they will just shut up. It's as if they are in awe of Linux and that mere mortals would even think of running it.

interesting article about costs for internet connection ...

Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 1:21 am
by Magnyz

(July 13, 2007) A group of technological experts known as The Committee of Ministers for Digital Development has set out to learn why broad band internet costs are so high in Chile. This study comes on the heels of the committee’s findings that Chileans pays the second highest rate in the world for broad band connection, after only Turkey.

After adjusting for purchasing power parity, Chileans pay just over 80 dollars per megabit per second (Mb/sec) of broad band internet. Regionally, Argentines and Brazilians pay just under 80 dollars. Meanwhile, in the United States, the average cost of per Mb/sec of broad band is just a few dollars.

Alejandro Ferreiro, a leading committee member, took advantage of the news about the study to announce his plan for Chile’s technological modernization, known as Digital Plan 2.0.

The plan calls for increased dialogue about technology between government officials, such as the Sub-secretary of Communications, and members of the private sector. The plan makes general calls for integrating new technologies and lowering costs across all areas, without setting concrete goals.

Ferreiro highlighted the need for the initiative, pointing out that government plans to subsidize the purchase of computers for the country’s schools cannot be justified if costs remain high for internet connections.

“The national government cannot subsidize its school plan and then agree to overpay for Internet services,” explained Ferreiro.

Ferreiro also criticized Chile’s slower-than-average Internet connections, saying the minimum speed of broad band Internet in most countries is one megabyte per second, but in Chile just 128 kilobytes per second is accepted.

Even so, the high prices and slower connections have apparently not stopped Chileans from getting wired to the Internet. The Latin America Broadband Barometer reported in January that Chile boasts both the highest rates of broadband connectivity and general Internet use in Latin America. The country ended 2006 with 1,034,000 broadband internet connections, nearly 6.8 dedicated connections per every 100 Chileans and far above the regional average.



Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 1:54 am
by admin
We contracted Telefonica, and they should be installing this week.

24,000 pesos for a 1.2 mb connection

34,000 pesos for a 2.4 mb connection

44,000 pesos for 4 mb connection

All include the phone line also with 350 mins a month in local calls. It would be nice to have a true land line phone again. VTR's system is a voip system. Our telefonica del sur land line is really also just a VOIP over wireless using a Chinese built cell system. It works great, as long as you are not moving too much. I prefer the security of real wires and a phone system with independent power system for emergencies.

We use telmex's 171 prefix for making cell, long distance, and international calls and we can still use them on Telefonica's system if we want.

To contract, they requested two months of tax returns proving income. There may be other ways to go about getting it however. I recall asking them once, and they said they would accept a credit cards as I recall. Don't quote me on that.

Re: telefonica

Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 2:48 am
by Chuck J 3.0
admin wrote:.........

I prefer the security of real wires and a phone system with independent power system for emergencies.

I used to work for AT&T back in 2001 when they rolled out their digital telephone campaign. In theory it was great. Phone, Internet and TV all on one cable. The suits loved it because the customer would get a three-in-one bill every month. In practice it sucked. I would end up explaining it to customers during the installation because the phone sales dweebs sold it with the, "it's cheaper than Pac Bell" pitch. That worked great, people love cheap. What they didn't tell customers was there was no system power for their digital phone and that it ran off a big battery that had to be installed somewhere in their house. The battery was plugged into their electrical outlet, in other words the customer was paying for their phone to be powered up. Also, the customers didn't understand that when their TV cable is out their phone won't work.

So I'd get lots of questions from people,

"What's that"

It's the battery."

"The battery?"

"Yeah to power your phone."

"But it's plugged into my outlet, am I paying for it on my electrical bill?"


"Pac Bell don't do that, the power comes down the copper pair of wires, right?"

Me: "Yep, 27 volts DC, simple as dirt, same set-up since 1876."

I would have a lot of interesting conversations with customers. My boss ended up hating me because I was educating customers on what a crappy system it was.

Customer: "You mean my phone is going to come over the TV cable?"

Me: Yep.

Customer: "But my cable TV goes out a couple times a month, will my phone go out too?"

Me: "Yep."

Customer: "What if I have to call 911?"

Me: "Uhh.... got a cel phone?"

This was about the time I got out of Telecom.

My point is that I've never thought it was a good idea to put telephone on a TV cable. They didn't have system power at that time in San Jose, because they would have had to replace billions of dollars of plant, (cable) to make it work reliably enough. It's finicky. Especially on cable that is old and chewed. (Squirrel chew.) Why spend all that money? Like I said, the suits loved the idea. Three-in-one billing. So they rolled it out before plant was upgraded and before it was tested properly. So, they got sued by customers who couldn't get 911 on their AT&T digital phone in an emergency.
It was a mess.

Copper pair is much more robust and has far better uptime. The reliability is virtually 99.9 percent. If you're of a certain age, (like me) you remember your telephone was never out unless someone drove into a telephone pole and knocked it down. I for one lament the passing of Pac Bell and copper phone lines.

test your internet speed

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 8:17 pm
by admin

this is a collection of speed test from around the world. They include a few in Chile, and Argentina.

Still none but VTR's speed test will give me the speed near what I payed for.