As a technology enthusiast there is only one nightmare that exists, and regrettably I find myself it being enacted as we speak. Its not a hard drive failure, as I could survive that by using one of the numerous backups to boot from. Its not even a total mac failure, as I could survive that by using either my iMac or Macbook Air. It is of course the worst failure of all, that of broadband!
The story of how my broadband failed is perhaps one for another day. To cut a long story short it involves O2 (my broadband provider) not changing account and direct debit details from the previous tenant into ours despite several calls and letters instructing them to do so. This meant that after 6 months in, the previous tenant (who had by now given up paying for broadband in a flat he didn’t occupy) cancelled the direct debit and O2 consequently cancelled the account.
O2’s incompetency is not the subject of this post (although trust me I would like to make it about it!), it is about Internet as a whole, and the reliance we place upon it. The position I have been put in, especially at this time of year means that I have had no choice but to tether my Mac off my iPhone, and invest in a 2GB package from Vodaphone until my Internet is reconnected (all being well) on 7 March 2013.
In the 21st Century everything is done via Internet, especially as a student. Online materials, podcasts and the like are all online – I even use SugarSync, an Internet cloud storage solution to transfer data between my iMac and Macbook Air that acts as my university machine, all of which are inaccessible without an Internet connection.
Furthermore the majority of legal texts, including Archbold, The White Book and key law reports (although available in paper form) are also available online through providers such as Westlaw, much easier to navigate, and also carry around as my Macbook Air weighs less than 1 volume of The White Book!
We place a huge reliability on Internet access, and having travelled to London a fair bit over the past couple of months, you can see that quite a few hotels are cashing in on this vital requirement. The Hilton in the West End wanted to charge £15 per 24 hour access (something which I refused to pay), and imagine other hotels charge similar rates. Some hotels offer free wifi in the public areas and then charge you a premium to access it in your rooms, and others charge for wifi but offer free wired connections (if anyone still uses them).
There are however a few hotels that are bucking the trend and offering free wifi, yes you head me, free wifi to their guests in their rooms, and if you ask me this is where the world should be going. I understand that in order to get wifi in a hotel, the infrastructure needs to be paid for, and the only way to recoup this expenditure is to pass the cost on to customers, however some hotels are taking the mick when they ask consumers to pay through the nose for a service that has in effect become the fourth utility.
Currently the 7 March 2013 seems a very long long way away, and whilst the university does offer wifi (for free) which I can use to get my work done, and I will try and use it as much as possible. However knowing that when I’m at home, I have to limit my Internet usage, and watch what I access, is really something which I have not had to do since the days of dialup!