To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.about me
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Trips to the UK test of road warrior skills. In 2007 I discovered that I could connect my Dopod by WIFI to the Internet in my lodge and surf/email whilst in bed watching the TV - pretty damn cool.
It cost 10GBP for a 7 day pass. Unfortunately this year The Cloud has apparently changed it's tariffs and dropped 7 day passes in favour of extortionate hourly and daily rates. In hindsight I realized that I should have done better prior research and identified all the WIFI Hotspots" near to where I was staying/visiting and what the tarrifs were.
As it happens I did discover before I went that nearby Leytonstone library offered free WIFI and I did try it out.The dopod found the WIFI network and displayed the login/registration screen correctly: however it would not accept entered registration details. I think that contrary to the marketing either the WIFI was not configured for pocket PCs running Mobile 2003, or the security setting on my dopod was too stringent. Who knows?? Next year perhaps I may work it out with latest HTC or LG phone?? (iPHONes - who needs them!)
Retrospectively I also discovered that there were also WIFI points in Wanstead at Starsucks, the George Public House and a cafe near my old school (aparently offering free access). Starsucks and the George both use T-mobile which offered a reasonable 7 day pass which as I discovered as I left Heathrow I could have bought at airport on arrival. (A check this morning however indicates T_mobile have also changed their tarrifs)
As it was I fell back to Plan B which was to access the internet via PCs at local public libraries (ie without wifi and with big esasy to read screens). UK libraries typically grant temporary membership to allow visitors temporary use of resources(if you ask nicely)
At Wanstead Library (London Borough of Redbridge) I simply waved my HK id card and was granted temporary membership, which let me book one hour non contiguous slots on the PCs. This gave me enough early in the morning to check my personal email, my blog visitor logs and my kid’s blogs
I had gone to the UK armed with three preloaded USB drives including a U3 enabled scandisk which hung the PC. The others drives were OK The librarian couldn't explain why but I am fairly certain it was security related. In any event I couldn't open the folders on Scan disk drive but down road at Leytonstone Library I could and I could even run my thunderbird email client off of the drive Unfortuantely it wouldn't connect to my office email server. I suspect that the security set up was blocking the port called/responding. When I got back and told my IT support team they were up for doing tests with Walthamstow support team (RegenerateIT) next year - they like a challenge !!
I visited Leytonstone Library (London Borough of Walthamstow) twice. the first time I was given access to a PC for an hour with no questions asked. The second visit was more ... challenging... 'Twas a different librarian ... from Eastern Europe (Polish?) with smoldering eyes and pouty lips... she asked for my library card and was totally unimpressed when I said I was from HK. She insisted that I complete a registration form to become a member of the library first... taking delight in pointing that I would also need to provide proof of address.
Fortuitously I happened to have on my person a letter with my HK address, from the HK tax authorities (I had needed it to register for readers’ card at the National Archives a couple days earlier). So as asked, I completed the form and handing it back with proof of address: “but this address is in Hong Kong!" she said somewhat gobsmacked. Like the innocent I am , I replied "Yes, I already told you that I live in HK" adding "and I am going back home in 2 days". She tore up the registration form and gave me a look that would have seen off the "Dragon of Krakow" ... but I got my one hour slot and when I left we smiled warmly at each other across the room (mind you I don't think I would have got a date if I'd have asked, even if I'd had mentioned that my grandfather was Polish - for all I know she may even have been "the Dragon of Kracow" on work experience!!).
Open the "other" tab below for the prequel to the "bribe"|