Cafe Surfing.. the real web worker

For the second time in a week I find myself in Cafe Nero Harborne.  This time I’m waiting to head to the OU Regional Office for some staff development.  Last week I was hear post hospital visit, and debating whether to go to an earlier staff development, when I had a lousy headache that sort of decided it for me.

Unfortunately, Cafe Nero is falling in my estimation – they insist in closing half of it down at 5pm for ‘cleaning’, which they never used to.  I know why, it makes for a quicker escape for them at the end of the day.  Still, my complaining did get me a free filled Cafe Nero card, meaning I can have a free coffee if I come here again.

(Who am I kidding, of course I’ll be here again!)

It’s when I’m here with my laptop out tapping away that I feel like a ‘real’ web worker.  It’s also invariably at this time that I get frustrated by my slow upload times.

I have two options here – either to use a BT Openworld hot spot – which promises fast download times but is very unprdictable when it comes to connection, dropping out at crucial times, or my 3G modem, which whilst not fast, is reliable.

However, both come with cripplingly slow upload times.  I upload a lot of things, be them email attachments, or (as I’m trying to do at the moment) files to moodle.  I know this is a limit of ADSL technology (I remember writing about this as part of an Open Uni course in 1996!), but clearly HSDPA isn’t based on the same technology.  I also know the arguments about most people download more than they upload, and I guess in a normal day that can describe me to…. but someone has to upload the stuff that’s downloaded by everyone else!

Still, there may be hope for me yet as BT release their I-plate product.  This effectively isolates some unnecessary signals that whizz round your PSTN phone line, thereby producing a cleaner broadband signal, which should mean higher bandwith – hooray!  Of course the downside to this is that you need an NTE 5 master socket… which I haven’t got.  So it could be a few calls to TalkTalk to see if they can get one of these fitted for me.

This aside, the rest of the day has been OK, with more teaching sessions under my belt it becomes easier each time.  Today’s teaching was good fun, students seemed to enjoy the sessions as much as they can given the somewhat dry subject areas, and my voice held out.  Only one more session (this one at millennium point on Friday), and I’ve met my six groups for teaching in this semester (the project management module I teach in weeks 13-15) seems a long way off.

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