I have been at an Internet Cafe for maybe 1.5-2 hours today. I have had to switch computers once, and had the machine completely crash on me no less than 3 times.
The machines all run XP and look to be fairly decent, for windows boxes, but the connection is, at times, interminably slow. I am having to remember not to try and load more than 1 or perhaps 2 windows at a time, which is different from my usual 20-window browsing technique.
Beyond the simple internet connection speed and unreliable nature of the machines, there is a much larger and more prevalent problem in Baghdad - the extreme lack of power, and the continuing blackouts and power cuts. Today we have only had maybe 2 hours of non-generator power, I believe from about 10 until about noon. It is almost 2pm here now, and we are still running the generators.
Iraqis will all tell you about the problems with the electricity, and I have already heard it mentioned to me many times. I will be working on a more formal story about the electricity situation soon. Consider doing some reading about this if you have time on your hands. After the previous Gulf War, Saddam Hussein had the electricity back on in much of Baghdad and Iraq within a few weeks, and in nearly all of Iraq in around 3 months.
It certainly leaves oneself asking hard questions about the Multi National Force - Iraq. Are they truly interested in rehabilitating the Iraqi infrastructure when they aren’t even able to ensure that the electricity remains on? For many Iraqis, this is perhaps the first issue they mention when you ask about the problems in Iraq. Another frequent complaint is about the extremely long gas queues in Baghdad. Despite Iraq having one of the largest supplies of oil in the world, Iraqi citizens are currently receiving much of their oil and gas needs imported from Kuwait!
Please keep an eye to the site, but be patient as things can take a great deal of time here I have found. Particularly in Iraq where there is not only a more laid back culture, but also due to all the various difficulties with working here, the uploads and reports will take so much longer.