It doesn’t happen a lot, but from time to time it does. I have some time to kill and quickly flip out my laptop to write up a little post. A quick scan of the wifi-area makes me realise that … damn.. this is a wifi-free zone.
So there you are. A computer full of stuff but no way to connect to the net. It used to be the most normal thing in the world, but it is becoming more and more annoying for me. The cost of wifi has dropped and so has the cost of UMTS 3G access to the net. Walking by the local Telco’s providers shop I got the heads up on their new "internet connection" plan that is available in Belgium these days. 15 euro’s a month for 15 hours of 3G connectivity. As a bonus they throw in the UMTS usb modem for about 75 euro’s. Not a bad deal if you think about the fact that this type of modem is compatible with UBUNTU linux, so I could hook it up to my EEEpc. Ok, its still expensive if you think about it, but I am seriously thinking about the pro’s versus the cons.
If I close my eyes and think about the implications of the contract, I see myself as a person with the possibility to a complete and total ability to connect to the internet no matter WHERE I was or WHAT computer I would be using. (the usb modem would work on my mac, my pc and my EEEpc running Linux) With the little box in my pocked I would no longer have to depend on open wifi or the use of someone elses wifi connection. 3G connectivity is not available everywhere in the country here (most places allow only GPRS connection speeds) but it would be enough to do the trick. (Email, Irc, little bit of surfing etc etc). Most people look for options to connect their cellphones to the net, but I still don’t believe in that option. It was nice being able to access my emails on my cellphone (surely when I had the treo that was awesome) but for the rest .. the net is just too damn bigg to browse on a Cellphone. If i have to pay to hook something up to the net over the 3G network, i’m paying to hook up a computer, that at least will enable me to experience the net through a propper interface.
So dreaming of checking mail, chatting over IRC, Skyping, making blogposts, uploading pictures etc … I also need to consider the downside. What if you have the ability to connect to the net no matter where you are. How does that change the way you live your everyday life.
First of all there are the upsides to this story. I could blog from anywhere, chat with everyone no matter where I was , Settle betts in a bar using Wikipedia (lol) or fire up a remote download back home using a telnet interface. But … I would also be tempted to access the net whenever I felt like it. (and all the distractions an online connection brings). Its a little like the Cellphone question a few years ago. Do i get a phone or don’t I ? Do I want to be reachable everywhere or not. But hey .. we learned to live with that, I’ll mananage 3G anywhere too.
As for the time limit i’m a little miffed :(. 15 hours a month is about half an hour a day. Taking a good look at the life I lead, this lifestyle doesn’t put me away from an IP for very long … but it are these pesky moments when you WANT to use the net and you can’t that sometimes count.
So i’ll probably go for it. The dreamy moments of being able to update my Facebook profile while sitting in the middle of a sunny forest is just too damn geeky to pass up. It will also give some extra powers to my EEEpc as the ultimately connectable and portable computer in my arsenal.
Online "anywhere" is one more step in the evolutionary ladder of my online life.. Can’t wait for the next one : Connected everywhere .. all the time.. (and the problems THAT will bring)