communications with outside world

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    I am about to make my first visit to McMurdo to work.  I have been reading all the info I can find and your message board is fantastic.  My question is how is the internet usage really to stay in contact with family and friends?  Is it just email or can you use instant messenger type programs?  How is the telephone connections?  Lookin gofrward to a fantastic experience starting October 2007.


    Hey there, Dad —
    I’m on the ice right now (and have been for seems like forever).  We have a 24/7 internet connection, via satellite – same with the phones.
    It’s not a speedy connection, though.  Your home’s DSL connection is about 3MB.  So is ours.  At home, however, it’s just one or two people using it, whereas down here, figure on a few hundred at any given time. 
    Phone-wise, there’s about a one-second delay in the transmit/receive.  Takes a bit of getting used to.  (Word of advice – if you plan on calling home, get a good, cheap phone card at Sam’s Club, or Costco.  Easy to use, and easy to recharge.  They’re also less expensive than the ones that are available in the Store, here.)
    Science, of course, has priority, as does Medical, so if something happens in those arenas, it can push the rest of us right off.
    As far as chat clients, we’ve had to crack-down on their usage.  Don’t assume you’ll be able to use one.
    We have a computer kiosk available, with eight computers, a Training Room you’re welcome to use when not used for classes, with an additional eight, one in the Library, and two in the Coffee House.  If you’re bringing down a laptop, there are various places to plug it into the network (after it’s been checked, scanned, and approved by the IT dept.).  Don’t plan on dial-up being available in your room, either.  Sorry.
    What job are you coming down for, Pops…er, Dad? 
    Welcome to the Program.  See you in October.


    Hiya Atlas
    Hopefully coming down for air traffic control.  I still haven’t been made an offer as I have to go thru the physical when the package comes.  But I am kind of not worried but we will see.
    Thanks for the info about communications.  I searched the net and got different stories.  So thought this would be a good way to get it directly  from those who are there.  I have grandkids I want to stay in contact with but we will make the best of it.
    I am sure I will have more questions as the time gets closer.  What was the issue with IMs? 
    Dad  (My first name is Dan)


    Ah, so you’ll be working for SOPP (SPAWAR) then?  The NSF contracts directly with them, so some of the info you find on this site won’t be applicable, since SOPP isn’t run by Raytheon.
    The issue with IMs is a general one – bandwidth usage, number of people using them, and the obvious lack of security while using them.  Throw in the time difference with the States, and e-mail usually works better, anyway.
    That being said, I don’t take care of the SOPP computers – you all have your own Tech for that.  I’m not supposed to touch ’em. 
    I’m sure you’ll have a great time down here, Dan.  It’s a good place, with a bunch of good people. 


     I might add that some of the work centers have work computers that  their employees can use off hours.
    When you get hired ask. If not the 8 available computers in the kiosk can be pretty hard to get at times. A personal laptop works great. I’m reasonably fond of getting to the coffee house early, plugging in, turning on the music and veggin on the net for a few hours.
    You will enjoy having jump drive of some sort to plug in and copy info from the net. There are loads of photos available. You can get cd’s at the store, but you will do better to buy one of those huge packs from the local computer store and send them down. DVD’s as well if your laptop lets you burn them.
    Good luck with the PQ. I’m going through the wringer right now. Same thing every year, but going down at winfly means I’m running out of time to get everything done. errrrrg. My old boss once said that if you work for the Antarctic Program, your family thinks you are going to die. They flag every tiny little medical thing that is out of the ordinary and make you follow up. Most of the time it’s nothing, but every now and then you hear about someone who ended up finding out about serious problems.


    All good info guys thanks.  I will hang around here anyway and see if I can pick up some more info.  Besides I get a few good laffs from some of the msgs too LOL.

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