On the road

I would be lost without my laptop(s), and I would be a less productive person, both in work and outside.

Take a weekend I’ve got coming up later this month.  I’m heading to Luton to see friends, and stopping overnight.  But early the following week I’m going to Kent to perform my external examining duties.  It didn’t seem to make sense to me to double-back on myself (and an extra 200-odd miles).  So I’ve booked myself into a Travelodge en-route, and turned it into a long weekend away.

I’ll be away for four days though in total.  Without a laptop and Internet this would mean coming back to a load of work, and non-work emails.  But with Macbook (it’s definitely a Macbook weekend, much as I love my eee it’s not a heavy-duty machine), and my 3 dongle (does anyone pay hotel prices for their wi-fi now?), I can be online and surfing for work or leisure (it sure beats the hell out of the dross that’s on tv, or drinking myself into a stupor at the bar.

There’s still a stigma of sorts to web-working in some places – I got my laptop out at a pub when I had an hour to kill a few weeks back and you would have thought I’d whipped out a Star Trek style tricorder, but generally public places in hotels, coffee bars, and ‘trendy’ pubs it seems acceptable.  I frequently take advantage of the slow but rock-stable free wi-fi at McDonalds, and greasy fingers (mine) aside, it can be a good place to work, especially early in the morning (avoid the 3pm – 5pm period though, too many kids.)

But it’s amazing how quickly this has become the norm. My first Apple mac (beloved iBook, I’ve still not had the guts to throw it away even though it’s been defunct now for two years) did not come with wi-fi as standard, and I invested in an Airport card for it, this was for wireless surfing at home, and I wasn’t even aware that there was such a thing as a wireless hot-spot.  The 3-dongle allowing literally anywhere surfing was a purchase last year, and when the 18 month contract is up I’ll be looking for a similar or better deal (there’s some good ones around at the moment).

Of course there’s a down-side, the frustrated wi-fi or 3g signal that drops, the nosy person on the next tablw wondering what exactly I’m typing, and I’ve still not yet got the security issue sorted with regards to laptop theft when you have a call of nature (or need to get another drink).  Welll, there is actually a piece of software for mac portables that does help here, iAlertu, though unfortunately the website seems to be out of action, and I uninstalled the software a while back whilst housekeeping 😦

And why have I penned this tribute to wireless working today?  Well, naturally I’m out and about, currently in a McDonalds on a second coffee and checking emails/moodling inbetween scribbling this down.

Ain’t technology wonderful!

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