Thanks to all the commenters on the previous post who advised to get a Mac.I'm sure I could break one o' those too.
I had a brainwave the other day: why not resurrect my old laptop and see if FTP works on that? So I did, and it did, mostly. There's a few sites that it cannot connect to but it can connect to sites that I'm working on now. So, for working at home I now have my new laptop that I do the work on, my old laptop with its non-functional screen beside me, connected to a 17" monitor that is sitting on a chair because I don't think our glass-topped dining table would take the weight. So when I need to upload a file (this only happens about 500 times a day) I copy it onto a memory stick, plug the stick into the old laptop, swap the LAN cable from the new machine to the old one (reminder to self: get another long LAN cable), and then do the upload and swap the chip and cable back to the new machine. It's an almighty pain in the ass, but it works for now.
On the mobile phone front, I bought the cheapest phone I could find: a neat little black Motorola for a paltry Dhs 99! Sadly, it would only offer SOS/emergency service. Ping! went a thought in my head. Maybe I should pay the bill, it's that time of the month (although the Interweb and landline were still working so it would be a bit odd for them to just disconnect the mobile). First thing the next morning I go to Itisalot in Gerbil Alley, and before handing over any cash I ask a clerk whether I've been disconnected. No, he says, not yet. Ah, so why do I only get SOS service on this phone? He asks me how long I've had my SIM card, and I have no idea - 7, 8, 9 years? Ah, he says, it'll be worn out. You need a replacement: dhs 50. Surely, I say, it should be free: it's not my fault it's worn out! But, he says, you've been using it for 789 years haven't you? Hmm, can't win against Itisalot.
So I fill in the form for a replacement SIM card, wait in a queue for a bit, and get the new one. The guy says it will be active in half an hour. Actually it was activated 10 minutes later when I got a flurry of voicemail alerts.
Anybody want to buy a Motorola C113a: never used?