24 Sep

Chile Wiki and VOIP Nuttiness

Web workers looking to spend some time or possibly relocate to Chile may want to check our entries on the fledgling Chile Wiki: internet access and VOIP. I bought the Draytek 2910g router I mentioned a couple months ago though I’m not using its dual wan capacity yet (will do once we have found our long term house rental), nor have I tested the ability to use a GPRS/EDGE modem, but I’m considering it (Almost $200 for a Samba 75 is holding me back). I’m now living in an area where a major earthquake is a distinct possibility, so more ways to be able to get and send information could literally be life saving. More mundanely, I’m just interested in being able to keep working normally even if one of my ISPs is down, one of my routers dies and so on. It’s all about getting more redundancy while keeping cost and complexity under control.
Part of the whole expat and distributed team lifestyle is talking over the phone — a lot. I’m having fun with VOIP, for instance making calls to the US for 2 cents a minute from my Chilean cell phone with Skype To Go. I’m researching options for maximum resilience and mobility, which may look something like this:

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23 Sep

Stemming Gone Wrong

Look, Google, I actually know how to spell Chile, ok? Stemming “Chile” into “Chili” and polluting my queries with recipes and rock bands that have NOTHING TO DO WHATSOEVER with the country of Chile is not helping. I am not writing my queries in French (Chile is spelled Chili in that language). I seem to remember Google used to suggest alternate spellings and link to them. Now Google has decided they know better than the user and mix their braindead second-guessing into top 10 results. Way to go to destroy the product.
Anyway, back to using Yahoo as my primary engine, though in fairness it’s about as bad. It’s amazing how utterly useless many Google SERPs have become. Maybe I have higher expectations. Look for country-specific information (not just hotels and resorts) and you’ll quickly see what I mean. The current state of search is about as bad as Altavista circa 1998 I guess. It’s time someone pulled a Google on Google. Jerry Yang, I just gave you your roadmap. And do something useful please, let’s not waste our time on jokers that pretend hand-writing 10,000 pages is a substitute for a real search engine.

15 Sep

We Made It to Chile – A Small Tale of Three Continents

As I hinted this (northern hemisphere) summer, we decided a few months ago to relocate to Chile, the most stable, secure and less corrupt country in Latin America (see for instance recent coverage in The Economist). Well, now it’s done as of last Sunday. We’re in Renaca on the Pacific coast, 90 minutes from Santiago and less than three hours from pretty good ski options. Not only does Chile have great geography and climate to offer, but it seems one of the rare countries these days that hasn’t decided yet to melt down into a police nanny state. Since all we want is to be left alone, that’s an attractive value proposition. The best resource to prepare such a relocation ended up being the All Chile forum.

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