I’ve spent most of the week in Canberra, Australia, attending three different events - a standards workshop, AUKEGGS and the SEEGRID III conference (programme pdf).

It’s been quite a frustrating experience for communication:

  • The hotel I’m staying in has no high-speed internet (despite claiming to do so on it’s website!). I would have moved but there appear to be no other hotel rooms available in this town for love nor money (one of the conference attendees has been sleeping on local sofas!).
  • None of the three venues had wireless that could be configured for public access , nor people available to deal with registration onto available networks.
  • The public hotspots (like the one I’m sitting in now) are filthy expensive ($26 Australian for two hours connectivity!), and provide poor connectivity (I can’t get my VPN to get up and stay up).

I can get email (at this hotspot), but I have to do it through the braindead outlook web interface … which in practice means I’m cherry picking a handful of things that a) I spot amongst the deluge, and b) I can deal with. The rest is just building up … ready to be a millstone around my neck next week.

In a wired and wireless world, connectivity matters. I can’t afford to be this out of touch. Do I want to come back to Australia under these circumstances? Nope!

comments (2)

Mike Grant (on Friday 01 December, 2006)

I’ve taken to installing kismet, airsnort and other useful wireless tools on my laptop for problems like this. Not that I’ve actually cracked any networks so far, but it’s fun to play with ;) One can very often find public hotspots near other hotels too.

Dominic Lowe (on Friday 08 December, 2006)

If only the conference had been a week later…

“6 December 2006

CSIRO demonstrates world’s fastest wireless link

The CSIRO ICT Centre today announced that it has achieved over six gigabits per second over a point to point wireless connection with the highest efficiency (2.4bits/s/Hz) ever achieved for such a system.”