Bangalore Traffic, GPRS and dogfood

I just returned from a checkup at St.John’s Hospital, off Hosur Road.

When I left for the place, it took me a little less than 45 minutes to get there.

And it took me almost 2.5 hours to get back, more than 3/4 of that time was spent crawling at 1 metre a minute on Hosur Road, with Darius@Radiocity crowing over the radio that “time does not move on Hosur Road”.

Things weren’t much better in other parts of the city, either. I am not quite sure what the problem was, but if this is the Bangalore I have to live in, I think it is time to consider moving to Mysore.

On the plus side, I figured out that Airtel is doing GPRS at 600 bucks a month, no limits. That’s still stiff, but if I offset it against my Reliance bill (about 650 a month, with only 300 minutes connect time), I should come out tops. Downer is that people are reporting slow speeds.

I use GPRS in Europe, where speeds are quite decent. In India, I have been using a Reliance phone (yes, I know they have a PCMCIA card, but it costs 14K, and doesnt work under Linux), which gives me about 128 kbps, albeit with serious latency.

The Airtel offer makes sense to me financially, as well as the fact that I can use Bluetooth to connect to my phone using my notebook, and more importantly using my PDA (Reliance does not offer any BT-enabled phones). However, if the speeds are as horrendously slow as I am being warned about (slower than a 28.8K connect modem), then it may not work out. IAC, I’ll give it a try for a month.

Ironically, Airtel is another company (like the HDFC bank) that “does not get it”.

I can change my rateplan via SMS, enable and disable services, even do financial transactions. But I cannot have GPRS enabled on the phone or via SMS – I need to fill a paper form for that, and wait at least 48 hours.

HDFC is another offender in this department – I can actually transfer thousands of Rupees around, drive myself bankrupt, and do what I want – but if I want to get pay my phone bills via netbanking, I have to submit a paper form to HDFC (use photocopies of the form for multiple phone lines).

When are these IT-enabled superstars of technology going to learn to actually eat their own dogfood?