Thursday, 13 May 2010
Being at home today, I took the opportunity to go for Chinese food with a friend this lunchtime. On my way back I used my new toy to check my email. One of those "Because I could" things. Now my constant connectivity extends its reach to almost anywhere within the radius of a cell tower. I realised I'd walked over half the way home with only the barest glance at my surroundings which was a crying shame because it''s been a beautiful day. By way of atonement I stopped by the river for a few minutes and took a picture of a pair of hopeful ducks in the shade. No food for them, they soon lost interest in me.
A few things recently have made me realise how much what we do has been changed by requiring a constant connection to the rest of the world. First, my office being disconnected from the world. Bang! four days of work made very difficult. At least we can do something at home, another company in the building has a phone-based business model and has had to shut up shop for the duration. It's not impossible that our inept JCB operator could have cost a few people their jobs by the time all this is over.
Then there's the TV. My wife is away for a few days so I have to tell our PVR what to record in her absence. When I turned it on, nothing save a "No signal" message. A quick status check on the BBC Engineering web site finds our transmitter is undergoing maintenance today. A service one takes for granted having disappeared, several hundred pounds worth of TV and video kit suddenly stands completely useless.
Working in a tech based industry I guess I'm slightly ahead of the curve on some technologies. I've been an enthusiastic adopter of the cloud, I have a very quick PC yet nearly all of the services I use it for are online, hosted somewhere in California rather than on my hard disk. These aren't just entertainment or social networking services, I think it's safe to say that my ability to earn a living depends on cloud-hosted services, not least our company email server. Being abruptly disconnected from them is a reminder of the fragility of the personal infrastructure with which we've surrounded ourselves and I have to admit it's left me sitting a little less easily as I continue working.
Somehow I can't imagine the three inch screen of the DEXT will be quite enough for me to do my job.