the other reason for posting is that i finally got myself an interweb thing and my email and web-browser suddenly started working again! but no ADSL (no land line, rented property) or cable (not in my postcode, anyway) for me. instead, i now have a vodafone 3G data card in my laptop. it goes in the expresscard slot (although it does come with an adapter for PC card slots) so it looks nice and tidy, as opposed to the alternative white brick on the end of a USB cable i was offered. it does cost GBP 50.00 for the internal card, and the USB dongle is free, but there's no competition when you see them, and what else am i going to put in that slot anyway?
it's still the 3g data card that amazes me, though. i remember my first GSM modem card (in an apple newton, actually, connected to a motorola star-tac) which gave me 19.2Kbps with compression, if i was lucky. this card gives me 7.2Mbps (peak, confirmed) or 1.4 Mega-bytes per second. boggle.