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October 27, 2006

The Big Blue Umbilical Cord.

This is probably an entry somewhat more suited to Geof Harries' Yukonbiz blog or Andrew Robulak's Wool Sock blog since it's technology-related, but since it's also meandering-related, I'm going to make it anyways.

I am on the road. To be precise, I'm sitting in the lobby of an Edmonton conference hotel, typing away on my laptop. In my line of work, I need just three tools:
  1. My laptop with appropriate software
  2. A speedy Internet connection.
  3. Me.
So, I've got the laptop, and I never, ever go anywhere without myself, which just leaves the Internet connection.

And they just happen to provide free high-speed Internet access at this particular hotel, which you would expect of a hotel that specializes in conferences. But are they paying close enough attention to this particular service?

I would argue that they are not. Unless it is customary for hotels to make you sit on the floor of your room to download a few e-mails.

The hotel doesn't offer a free wireless option (but you can pick-up the Telus network if you have an account) and since they don't have a wireless option, the hotel's clients are relegated to being connected to the wall via an Internet umbilical cord.

And the hotel will provide you with one of those. It's about a foot-and-a-half long. It is just long enough to not reach your laptop if you put your laptop on the desk above the network port. The only way to reach the port is to sit on the floor. And no, they don't have cables that are any longer. I asked.

Funny that, even though the rooms are standardized, the hotel folks would go out and buy a bunch of foot-and-a-half long ethernet cables that can't be used properly.

As a result, I went out and bought a new fifteen foot cable. Ah! It's such a joy to be able to recline on the bed while doing work, chatting with a friend, watching a movie in the evening, or reading the news.

I'm sure that the laptop-in-bed concept is quite disconcerting to Fawn. I phoned her last night (using the Internet) and she commented that my laptop was like my "mistress". I dismissed her comment as pure nonsense.

But when I awoke this morning and my laptop was laying beside me in the bed, I realised that she was right.

I'm sorry, honey.

So, I've checked out of the hotel and I'm sitting in a comfy chair in the lobby typing this entry. Since there isn't a wireless connection, I've pulled out my ethernet cable and have plugged it into the wall. People are milling around and some are staring at the guy with the laptop and the giant blue umbilical cord.

I doesn't matter. I'm going to the airport soon, and I'll be home by tonight. The laptop is helping the time pass but, as much time as I spend with it, tomorrow morning, when I wake up, I want it to be my wife that's beside me.

1 comment:

Geof Harries said...

Ha! I guess this type of post does belong on my blog, because I've been through the same situation as you, wondering about the lack of wireless.

That said, I've also purchased many a Telus HotSpot wireless account and been frustrated by the remarkably poor reception.

It can be cooking along, super speedy, for 20 minutes, then almost lose the connection and interrupt the process you're trying to complete, like uploading files to a server. It's like riding an Internet connection rollercoaster.

So in many ways, I prefer the blue ethernet cord, even if it is more prohibitive.