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Over the last few weeks I’ve been on leave enjoying a much deserved rest if I do say so myself.

This year the wife and I decided to not get on a plane and head for foreign climbs purely because neither of us fancied facing the new airport security restrictions and the weather here has been amazingly good so why not have a holiday at home in the UK?

I ask you, where is the fun in not being able to take 100 weight of books, booze, food and that cool gadget you’ve just brought from Dixon in the tax-free shops on the flight with you in various assorted plastic bags, stuffing them into overhead lockers for that short hop to sunny European-land.

One of my friends offered his little abode, nicknamed the ‘Love-Shack’ by my esteem colleagues at work, on the Devon coast at our disposal for a knock-down price, so we thought, heck why not? Let us get out of the London Satellite and head towards a county that offers proper light-pollution free dark-nights, craggy cliff walks, unparalleled countryside vistas and cream teas (with the odd hot buttered scone), well you can see the appeal?

So on the day before packing the trusty Honda Civic for the 4 hour drive, I impulse bought a Tosh Satellite 17” laptop with every conservable gizmo and the spanking new Intel Core (Conroe) chip with a nVidia graphics card that puts my desktop PC to shame, which isn’t a mean feat for a dedicated gamer as myself who has upgraded his graphics card every 18 months, because like many, that FPS just has to look the best it can possibly be, how I’ve managed to avoid buying two and jumping on the SLI bandwagon I do not know? (Erm, actually I do, it’s called not have the balls to change the motherboard to PCI-E, because that’s just hassle and expense, neither of which I really enjoy.)

Soon after arriving at the ‘Love-Shack’ my wife realized that her new 3G enabled Nokia from Vodafone had no service whatsoever, after checking nor did my Orange smart-phone, so no point in trying out the data-card for my new laptop (or forgetting to bring it  important) and as for Wifi, both my laptop and the wife’s could find nothing.

For the next week the wife and I drove around the country side trying to remember where we managed to get a bar of service from either of our providers which were important as even though we were both on vacation we both still had important phone conferences to make, after all the world doesn’t stop turning.

Driving into the regions largest town we where greeted be banging mobile service but gleefully told by the smiley lady at the local tourist office that the local residence had ‘successfully’ fought the extension of the local mobile masts to 3G.

My search for an Internet café with a hotspot was equally unfruitful as the only eater that advertised the service hadn’t really got round to installing it yet and perhaps wouldn’t as most of the custom seemed to be coach loads of ‘blue-rinsers’ but they did admit that someone did come in and ask them ‘at least once a day’, can you hear an alarm bell going off here?

So my wife and I were as the expression goes, ‘off the grid’, no access to the wonderful Internet or even a decent reliable mobile phone service to send the most basic of texties with.

Some would say ‘didums’ how on earth did you cope? Snigger!

The simple fact is that we switched to using what had become secondary sources of information such as terrestrial TV and newspapers and it’s not great having to deal with someone else opinion before getting to the news or watching shows such as endless therapy shows pervade by the odd game-show or soap. Yep, the TV stayed off.

So, it doesn’t take a genius to realise how much the Internet enriches our lives and how much of an inconvenience it is without it.

The moral of this tale is that Internet and high-speed access to it, wireless or otherwise has just not permeated everywhere in the UK so to be prepared for that fact and cater for it, don’t build your business model on access to a reliable access to the Internet from everywhere in the UK.

The other cautionary note is that as business moves towards greater mobility the big hurdle is going to be when employees are off the beaten track, what happens if your are in a part of the world where a local council has said no to 3G masts let allow any mobile service at all in some quarters or the local urban conurbation just simply doesn’t offer an easy access points let allow high-speed. Also the truth is that this is pretty much the problem everywhere outside large towns and cities in UK, we are just not as connected up as we like to think we are.

With Internet access literally essential to the continue growth and success of our economy I am surprised that the Government isn’t enforcing a strategy right from the top so instances of refusal of planning permission for a 3G masts without providing alternative locations by local councils isn’t discouraged. 

The last interesting point to note is that purely Internet services based offerings such as the proposals from Google and Microsoft could not be truly successful if they do not provide the facility to work offline.

True Internet mobility is the next big hurdle that we should be working together to tackling.

Anyway, the Wife and I did have a wonderful time, we did archery, shooting, go karting, golfing, even a zip line! Oh and lying on a beach and doing lots of nothing. So we did have a great time even without any connectivity. 


Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006 8:29 PM Main | Back to top

Comments on this post: Off the Grid

# re: Off the Grid
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Welcome back to the grid!! ;-))
Left by Dave Caddick on Sep 15, 2006 4:44 AM

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