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This is Peter and Maureen Scargill's Spanish website. We live in Galera in Andalusia (for clarity, that is the English spelling - Mid-Spain they spell it Andalucia and pronounce it "And-a-loo-thee-a").

We've had a home in Spain for more than 14 years and it is now our permanent base though we retain a small home in the UK.

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A Good Day

Today is turning out to be a good day.

I’ve been having troubles with the broadband here for a couple of weeks – losing connections all over the place. Meanwhile,  my Zopo phone stopped taking and making calls  – and to crown it off, my old S4 ended up back in my lap as that had a SIM issue.

The Broadband: 2 weeks ago my various Internet-connected IOT gadgets started acting up – and we started losing connections on the WIFI. Was it my gadgets? Was it the service provider? Was it the modem. Not a clue and several tests took me no further. Eventually 3 or 4 days ago I reduced the router to factory settings (not a pleasant task as I have dozens of modifications).  I After I gutted the router – all seemed well for a couple of days – and then Maureen pointed out that she could not get her TV on the Now-TV box.

I realised I’d not put the DNS solution back into the router that we use to get British TV in. I put it back in – and – the problem came back.  I tried using DNS on just one outlet and got no-where. I contacted our service provider and got no-where though he did offer a few tips. Then I realised there’s a tick box to force the router to use the chosen DNS. Why would I need that? Oh, well I ticked it anyway. I don’t know why that would affect reliability – but everything is working perfectly and the TV is better than it has ever been – my devices are all talking reliably.

The Phones: Then there was the problem with the phones – my ZOPO top end smartphone stopped talking to the phone networks a couple of weeks ago and Banggood (who I bought it from) proved to be utterly useless – no technical support – just send it back to the factory (only a few months old – maybe 3 months) – only take a few weeks they said. Meanwhile I had a fellow over here griping – I’d sold him my old S4 and he said it intermittently would not work. It was working fine before I shipped it to Spain.  Well, I needed a phone and it was fine when it left me so we took the S4 back – I thought it would do while the Zopo went back to China.

But sure enough – “SIM missing” messages would appear intermittently – then it would work, then it would not. I trawled the XDA forums – hundreds upon hundreds of items about S4 and SIM issues  people putting foam on the SIM connector – some said it worked – some said not – they had all sorts of fixes and by the look of it none of them worked – someone even said that Samsung would fix the phone for £150 – I know what my response to that would have been.

Well I wasn’t buying any of this and so I went on Ebay and for 4 quid got a complete replacement panel with both sockets… orderd it 2 days ago in the UK, turned up here this morning – can’t be bad. I fitted it – took about 2 minutes and – nothing- NO MORE missing SIM but just like the Zopo – no connection.  I was beginning to smell a rat by now.

I went to manual settings in the S4 following a tip from the THREE operator last week – he told me to select an operator manually – and forced a connection to Orange… I did that last week and the S4 worked for about 5 minutes. But now… with a fixed SIM socket – it KEPT on working.  Amazing – S4 back in action.

I put the SIM back in the Zopo and BLOW ME – the Zopo started working – clearly something I’d done in the S4 had left a change in the SIM.

So in 24 hours I’ve got my WIFI network back, in working order, both phones back up and running and meanwhile all the world I’d done on my IOT devices, thinking they were faulty not the network and so they are now pretty much bullet proof…. meanwhile to take my mind off things I’ve been working on a new all-singing Thermostat and as of last night that is working so well I’m going to fit them to both houses.

Add to that – my new 50 degree wooden frame for the solar panels is up – and I’m getting around 10% minimum more juice out of them – more than I was getting when the sun was higher! 11am and the battery is charging at 14.2 volts already.

The Post: So all in all, a good start to the day and it’s warm and sunny  to boot! All that is left to sort out is the mail.  I have the usual “UPS – your address is wrong” nonsense but after applying pressure all around they have PROMISED FAITHFULLY to deliver today – a free sample worth maybe a fiver.  The POST OFFICE issue is another one altogether. A company in the USA with a new computer product offered to send me one for review FOC.  I accepted and told them NO WAY to use UPS – so they used the ordinary post system – and that’s fine – but then I got a letter from the Spanish post – I had to fill something in. I didn’t understand it so went to the local post office – no, you need to go to Huescar they said. Huescar post office looked at it in dismay – you need to fill it in online they said.

So armed with a translator off I went. They want FOUR documents from me – the first is my ID (like my passport but Spanish) – done, dusted. The second was a “proof of delivery” a little difficult as I’ve not received the goods – the third was proof of purchase – difficult for a freebie and the forth-  proof of payment – even more difficult for a freebie.  And all of that would be fine if I was shipping gold or nuclear weapons but it makes you wonder why such a fuss for a simple piece of electronics hardware the likes of which ships by the million all over the world on a daily basis!

Still with the start I’ve had up to now, I’m optimistic!

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