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Technical frustrations

Reviewing my time here, I've been in Mexico for just over 6 months now, and have about 1 year left, or a bit more at a stretch. It feels like my time is racing past. Though it doesn't feel like I've achieved that much as yet, as in part, getting things achieved here has been a little like wading through mud.

With my arrival to the mission, Milamex saw this as an opportunity to 'modernise' themselves. There are about 12 or so people who work full time in the office, and we recently had broadband fitted, not only for my benefit as web designer, but for the others too.

With my marketing hat on, one of the first things I identified was that we had no corporate email addresses, even though we have ownership of a website name. Our website is (which incidentally, is still sporting the design of an early contractor who failed to finish the job) but all our addresses were at AOL, which seemed somehow unprofessional to me, and inconsistent. AOL charge the earth for access, and I didn't like how we were tied to them for our email addresses.

So my first task in the new year was to set people up with addresses as a shift away from the money guzzling AOL. But this was a pain in itself, as I was struggling to get in touch with the person who could give me access privileges to create these new email accounts. Then it was a hard time configuring people's computers, because many of the staff use second-hand 'donated' PCs, with various limitations. I found myself scouring the web for legacy Windows 95 software, and then wondering how to install it, as there is no way of connecting my USB flash-disk to a Windows 95 machine.

Of course, then there's the issue of viruses. Since we're now a 'connected' office, suddenly everyone's PCs were getting infected left, right and centre. However, because some of the machines don't have original copies of Windows on them (quite normal in Latin America), we were unable to upgrade them with the Microsoft security patches. Being a Mac user, and having enjoyed a virus-free life all these years, I never realised just what PC users have to put up with! No way man, I couldn't live like that. I'm getting things fixed slowly, but the story goes on...

I know the above couple of paragraphs may have lost some of you, but I wanted to illustrate some of the frustrations that I have found working for a non-profit organisation in Latin America.

I think I'm getting on top of things now, but it has been a concern, as I don’t really want to while-away my next year 'firefighting' PC issues when I think I should be focusing on projects that will bring more lasting benefits.

1 Comment(s):

Blogger Martin said...

Broadband is cool. We've just got the projection PC (if you remember that) connected to the church's broadband. Not full of viruses like yours, but it will be if we don't get a new virus killers sorted. Still, apparently they use clamwin in the office (it's free, might be worth you looking at), so I'll get that installed soon. Friday, April 28, 2006 11:34:00 AM  

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