Space, Warmth, Light and Internet

When living in California you tend to forget about the most basic of living requirements. Washing up and laundry dried in about 7 minutes (great if you ignore the canyon-like fissures that were your knuckles after a few months), light and sun almost came through the walls and there were normally about 4 open WiFi networks within range. In Manchester it seems that achieving all three is more tricky. Catherine and I spent a year living in a flat in a particularly leafy part of already leafy Didsbury. The converted nursing home had tall ceilings and windows but had obviously been shoehorned into a former janitor closet and as such was a compromise of space over light. Despite being North-facing, the flat got amazing morning sun (on those rare occasions when 400 feet of solid cloud were not in the way) and warmed up like a little beauty. All great and good - but I haven’t mentioned yet that the total floor space was about 40 square metres - which means little until I say that the bedroom had about 8 inches on either side of a 4 foot 6 inch bed. So we had to move and move we did - all of 100 yards across the road to a flat about twice the size. Yay! Buy hold on a cotton picking minute. Have a guess how long it takes Tiscali Internet Service Provider to move our account these few steps? 2 hours? 24? 5 working days? No - try over 3 weeks!

Clearly helpless without ‘teh intarweb’ I had to do something to retain my sanity. 5 magic letters to the rescue: HSDPA. This snappy acronym is almost impossible to remember (try remembering the full version: High Speed Downlink|Data Packet Access) but is the technology behind all the new shiny USB dongles that all mobile providers are desperate to sell you for 15-20 quid per month. Well don’t be tempted until you hear this option… simply buy an HSDPA phone, connect it to your laptop / desktop via USB or BlueTooth (USB is more reliable and faster), get yourself an O2 Simplicity SIM online, switch your free bolt-on to unlimited mobile web and all of a sudden you find yourself with web absolutely everywhere (well, almost).

Wardriving or Walkabout Web has been a bit of a revelation for many people and I have been partially part of the revolution with my Nokia N800 and WiFi hotspots for a while now - but having unlimited web access on the go is different - transformational. This is what the 3G iPhone will bring to the masses - but it is possible. Google maps on the phone is genius - it even knows where you are (roughly) without a GPS using Cell of Origin (COO) - freaky. You can email, instant message, facebook, order groceries, manage bank accounts, order gadgets, etc, etc - all day - wherever you are - there is in short - no longer any excuse or any reason to disconnect. After you have experienced Web and walk there is no going back so get it now before the rest of the muppets spoil it by shouting about it.

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