I’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately, both personally and on business. I’ve attended several conferences, travelled across the Pacific, and checked into any number of roadside hotels. There’s one thing that has become crystal clear . . .
We’re not as connected as you’d think. If you life in a metro area, you can get spoiled very quickly – wireless is prevalent, and we have a multitude of ways to take advantage of it, from smart phones to tablets to netbooks and notebooks. We’ve gotten so used to it that not having it can catch us off guard and unawares.
It’s happened to me a few times recently. I went to an IT conference a few months ago where I thought I’d give going completely wireless a try. I would try to do all my work connectivity – primarily email, but some Citrix-client VDI where necessary. So I left my laptop at home and just took my iPad. It was great! Getting through the airport was a breeze, no hassles at TSA, and my iPad has plenty of media to keep me entertained.
Except when I checked into the hotel and got up to my room, to my horror I discovered the lodging did not have wireless – there was just an ethernet port and cable waiting on the desk for my use. And since the iPad can’t connect via a wired ethernet connection, I was suddenly faced with a week of lost productivity. Fortunately, the hotel did have wireless in the lobby and conference rooms, so it wasn’t a total loss.
The same thing happened recently when my family went on vacation. We go to a lot of remote locations, but even so wireless connectivity is fairly common. But at one hotel – a major chain, I might add – when I inquired about the availability of wifi I was told it was only wired in the room but wireless was available in the lobby. When I chuckled at this, the desk clerk (of an older generation) said, “Betcha you have one of those tablet things, dontcha?”
The lesson here is we can take technology for granted. Since we work in that world, we can come to expect it to be available, and we can intensely feel the loss when it’s not. It also teaches us that no matter what the pundits and publications say, there are still wide swaths of the country that are not as plugged in as we might like.
It’s sort of like taking an forced vacation. The best thing to do is keep a sense of humor and laugh at our own desire to be connected all the time. Relax and enjoy the time away!