Learning to live offline

[This was on the BBC News website last week, but I’ve only just got round to posting it here… lazy, I know]

I have just endured a week of limited connectivity and it has given me a salutory lesson in what life is like for the digitally dispossed here in the UK and around the world.  I have been driven to searching for open wireless access points so that I can download my email, sometimes wandering the beach looking for elusive 3G signals just to get my Facebook status updated.

It was my own fault, of course. I spent a few days on the Norfolk coast with my son and some of his friends in a wifi-less cottage in an area that had poor 3G coverage, though I was probably less frustrated with lack of connectivity than he was, as he wanted to keep in touch with his mates back home while I was mostly on holiday.

Then I spent the weekend at the lovely Latitude Festival in deepest Suffolk, there to represent Writers’ Centre Norwich as we had supported some of the poets in the Poetry Tent. No wireless there, at least none that I could get connected to – there did seem to be a private network for the tech crew to use – and the phone networks were clearly swamped as text messages were taking two or three hours to be delivered while my 3G dongle repeatedly failed to connect.

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