Am I surprised that my communication problems have not been resolved? No!
Yesterday I waited impatiently for the scheduled monthly visit of the informaticien (IT guy) who had been advised of my problems. He came, shook my hand, unsmiling, uncharming…. I was at a disadvantage because at that moment I was strapped to a pulley in order to exercise my leg.
I explained again my problem, stressing that without email and Facetime/Skype I could not communicate with my family. I pointed at my bag and invited him to try out on my iPad. I told him that I have always suspected a firewall – a device which enables providers of Internet services to control exactly which services you can access. No no, he said, with somewhat supercilious contempt, he had not put a firewall on the service offered to patients.
He insisted that nobody else had any problems, so it must be my ipad. I pointed out that email was blocked on ipad, iPhone and Mac. He faced around for a time and then claimed that I was receiving messages ok (only after he left could I see that these were old messages). At my insistence he sent a message to himself from my iPad and said if he did not get it he would return.
The message remained unsent but he did not return. Until, perhaps prodded by a senior nurse who had enquirer after my problems, he returned with – almost – a smile (prodding from senior nurse or the fact that I had two visitors or the fact that he came with bad tidings?)
There was nothing he could do he said as obviously communications with my mail server were being blocked by a firewall! Hang on, I said, you said there was no firewall. No, not on the service provided for patients, but there was a general one for all the hospital servers, there for security reasons.
When I asked him to unblock my access he replied that he could not start making individual changes as this could get out of control and be difficult to manage. I pointed out fruitlessly that there were only seven patients using wifi and this was not an onerous task. His only suggestion was that I should use somebody else’s PC to look at my email. I said I found it incredible that any provider of wifi should block Apple appliances, given they are one of the biggest global players.
Still planning my next move and VERY frustrated and now angry.
Today I tested and found that I can use an email address provided by Orange as part of my internet package. I find that rich, since – unlike Apple, which has only had one very recent security scare – The French Orange service is notoriously insecure. So much so that at least one UK mail provider blocks email coming via orange.fr. Yet it is clearly allowed to go through the firewall.