1 Apr 2016

Mr Stargazer is Back

Hail readers!

It has been a long while since I last wrote here on the Magical Realm. Don’t blame me; blame the rather less than competent engineers of BT. They were supposed to connect us to the Internet on Monday—last Monday. They then said they didn’t have a map of the exchange nodes next to our house (why didn’t they bring that when they came to connect us?) and that they would be installing it on Wednesday.

Wednesday came and went. Then they told us by Friday; that came and went. They told us they’d connect us by Wednesday this week; they didn’t. I have been forced to publish this through the university’s Internet. Suffice to say, I am far from pleased.

But really, I shouldn’t be surprised. BT have shown themselves to be less than competent before. And it’s not like we have a choice: in our area, a God-forsaken town in the Midlands, all of the phone and Internet infrastructure is owned by BT.

The situation is similar in many other parts of the country—in urban centres like Manchester or London Virgin Media has fibre optic, but much of our telecommunications still passes through BT via DSL.

Anyway, rant aside, this is an almost textbook example of market failure via monopoly. Because BT owns all of the phone and Internet infrastructure in the area, they have a local monopoly; and so they are not obliged to compete in order to improve the infrastrucure (which is still DSL and still limited to a paltry 8Mb/s in some places). Nor, it seems, to provide good service.

Our ISP is actually Sky, but they still have to use BT’s phone line and thus be hobbled by their incompetence.

There are a few potential solutions. One would be for other companies to set up their own phone lines, perhaps with public investment and other incentives from the government. The problem with this approach is obvious: telecom infrastructure isn’t cheap, and the money would have to be stumped up by the taxpayer.

A different solution is to return to what we had previously: British Telecom, i.e. have BT nationalised. Firms would still be able to piggyback on the national infrastructure (thus allowing some competition without having to replicate the same expensive infrastructure multiple times) and hopefully with some sort of democratic oversight, BT might actually serve the interests of the people.

Anyway, enough of that. You’ve probably been expecting news of my efforts in reaching an editor, so here goes.

On Editing

Due to my lack of Internet access, I have not been able to contact more editors on Reedsy. However, my phone did have access to Internet—albeit to only 2G (!) despite the fact that it’s 2016 and I live in the middle of a town. Anyway, I was able to receive an email from Elliott—the company’s founder—who drew my attention towards 5 editors he deemed open and suitable.

Thus I have now filed a new request, and hope to be getting some more quotes very soon. Once I have, I hope work can begin and my time won’t be wasted on the incompetence of others…

Beta Reading

I have also decided on sending the latest draft of the Ark, with part two complete (did I mention?) onto a person who did a beta read for the first part; that is, Margaux Espinosa, who also reviewed the Necromancer some while back.

In addition to her, I have not heard back from my secret beta reader, so they’ll be getting an update. And, I shall look for more beta readers wherever I may find them; Goodreads has proven useful in the past.

The Necromancer

Incidentally, a lady has offered to review the Necromancer (remember that?) and will hopefully post a review sometime in the not too distant future. I must say I’m curious to see what she’ll say. Oh, and thanks to the Goodreads group for helping me find her.

The Magical Realm over the Spring

With my A level exams coming up in May, I am obviously somewhat pre-occupied with revision—I’ve done a little this past week, but not much owing to my continued irritation with BT—and with work on the Ark. You can understand why theMagical Realm will be on the back-burner so to speak.

Nonetheless, I will be keeping you all updated. I can do that much.

Finishing Off

I have covered a fair amount of topics in this update, so just to recap: I have not had Internet until now and will be occupied with various tasks for the remainder of the week, in addition to my revision; I am still waiting for a washing machine to arrive (…); and I have contacted more editors regarding the Ark, as well as a beta reader.

On top of all that, I have been busy getting used to our new house. We’ve installed a number of curtains and net blinds inside. Most of the furniture is set-up, along with the TV; but my Internet, washing machine, and a few pieces of small furniture have not.

I’ve also been busy changing address with the bank and other institutions.

So, that’s most of what I’ve been doing.

On a final note, I have continued reading Picketty’s Capital in the 21st Century and have now read a fifth of it. (Considering that the work spans 1000 pages and is full of graphs and maths, that’s no mean feat, believe me.) I have decided to write my thoughts as I go along. These I will publish on Goodreads, and here on the Magical Realm.

And why, you might ask? Because Picketty’s work is fascinating and relevant to our modern age. Also, it will help me with my economics. ;)

With all that out of the way, stick with me. As you can see, a lot is going on…

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