On Overcoming Geography And Saving the World

This is the winter where mobile technology and the Internet has really proved its worth for me.

I’m typing this on a train which is on its way to the highlands of Scotland. I’m equipped with my Acer Aspire 5542 laptop and a Vodafone 3G dongle, and have a netbook in my bag with a 4 hour battery life for when this more power hungry machine runs out of juice.

I use Dropbox on both machines to synch any files I’m working on automatically so I can either machine as it suits me without having to think about copying files around.

The isn’t one of those fancy Wi-Fi capable trains so I’m using the excellent Writer application from the free open source Open Office application suite to type, rather than type straight onto the web as I’m travelling through the Grampian mountains where there is the risk of losing the signal.

I was originally taking a bus from Glasgow to Inverness, but due to a three lorry pile up the main route north has been closed for twelve hours and counting.

After being delayed for an hour while the bus company communicated with the police to find out when the road would be re-opened, and receiving a very vague answer of “we might be able to set off again in an hours time” I decided to find an alternative.

As we were stopped just outside a large town I got on-line from the warmth and safety of the stationary bus and within minutes had checked the latest travel news (not good) about the incident on the BBC’s travel news page and had train times, a ticked booked and directions to the station via google maps.

I have a web server and all my web development tools on this laptop so rather than get bored I’ve been doing a little php coding, watching the Diggnation video podcast and listening to some amazing funky beats from the Mobilee Records podcast by Alexi Delano to keep my spirits up.

I also have the free remote control program LogMeIn on my desktop at work which has allowed my to tie up some loose ends from halfway across the country.

This isn’t the first time LogMeIn has come in handy either. Two weeks ago the UK was taken totally by surprise by a major snowstorm which disrupted transportation networks everywhere and lead to total gridlock between Scot lands two largest cities. With the police and weather reporters advising everybody not to travel LogMeIn saved the day and let me have a productive day without risking being stranded on the roads in hazardous conditions.

Aside from the mobile connection and the actual hardware I’ve mentioned, every service I’ve mentioned here can be found for free on the Net.

We really are living in a new age where your location need not make any difference to your ability to work, play or communicate with anyone else in the world.

Travelling and adapting your plans to unseen circumstances is so much easier because the speed that news can now travel at means you get an almost instant heads up when the unexpected happens.

The year of Arthur C. Clarke’s 2010: Odyssey Two is almost over and although we may not be travelling to Jupiter the rate of change in the world and the evolution of technology has increased beyond belief.

We – the human race – still have to figure out a lot of answers to our currently problems of environmental depletion, the impending energy crisis and exponential population growth to name but a few.

I believe 2011 needs to be the year we think carefuly about the benefits of this new world and consciously use our all-pervasive communications technologies to spread our creative ideas and solutions to all the other like minded people who want the world to be a better place.

The time of fear of technology is long gone. It’s time to kick things up a notch!

A Massive Merry Christmas to all!

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