Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Connectivity - a modern addiction

I've just come back from a great few days away in the Derbyshire Peak District. The reason. No more than a short holiday with some of my wife's family. A big of walking, a bit of drinking, some great company, and switching off from the stresses of the job for a bit.

And it was great, especially switching off from work. But my problem is not just switching off from work, it's switching off full stop.

You see I'm a connectivity addict. One of the first things I checked about our holiday home, was whether it had internet access. Especially as the advertising bumpf suggested any sort of mobile signal was extremely unlikely - and it was right, there wasn't.

Thankfully, there was a BT hub in the cottage. Unfortunately, unless you were sitting on top of it, the signal dropped like a stone if you moved a few steps away from it. Given it was in a cupboard under the stairs, that made life very tricky.

Out and about, things were just as bad. My O2 signal barely flickered beyond "No service" or "Searching" for most of the time, and when it did lock on, it was generally GPRS at best.

Optimistically, the O2 web site listed mobile phone coverage on its network as "Good" to "Excellent" for the area. Perhaps they should come and try using a device there.

I just about got enough internet connection to feed my Twitter, Facebook, email, online news, and Skype & FaceTime (to keep in touch with our teenage kids) to feed my addiction, but it was touch and go. Most of all it held out during my streaming of Cardiff City vs Swansea City match - you won't believe how many brownie points I hope I gained by being on holiday when that match was on!

Everyone else in the group, frankly couldn't have given a monkeys about the flaky connectivity, and good for them, but for me, armed with my iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro, it was a serious and at times twitchy matter. It was made slightly more so, by the fact our daughter was back at home on her own for the first time. She's old enough to look after herself, but it's always a scary moment when you leave your kids to look after themselves, alone for the first time - for them more so than us, especially when you can't ring because you haven't got a phone signal!

Is this something I need to see someone about? I'm not sure it is, but it's certainly indicative of modern life. I didn't want connectivity to keep on top of work - I can switch off from that easily enough, but it was everything else I couldn't switch off from. That ability to find out the news, not in a newspaper that tells you what happened yesterday, or even the 6pm news that tells you what's happened today. I want to know what's happening now, or at least at the moment I choose to know.

I'm safely back in the comfort of my Sky Fibre Broadband connected home, with a booming O2 signal to boot. And I'm happy. That's absolutely not to say I wasn't happy when I was away, I was, and I'd go again tomorrow. But connectivity is a modern blight. I'm 54 - I can imagine that if I was less interested in walking and country estates, and pubs ( ooh, free wifi there) it would have been a nightmare. But it wasn't. I survived.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad Mini

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