Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Off the grid

Despite my intentions to post photographs at a minimum while I was in Toronto, that's all going to be happening after the fact.  Truth is, some occasional wi-fi issues and an insanely busy (and insanely fun) schedule kept me from keeping up here.  I'll be going back and adding pictures on the days I took them.  I did the blog entries in my head; I just didn't have the time to take care of business.  I had 22-waking hour days on the dates I arrived and departed, so cut me a little slack.

The event I was attending surpassed my high expectations.  I did not want to leave.  In fact, my friend and I stuck around quite a bit longer and left twelve hours or so later than originally intended.

There was only one drawback, and that had to do with data rates when you leave the country.  Driving over the border jacked the data rate to $15.36 per megabyte.  I turned off data roaming, push notifications, and 3G to avoid racking up an enormous bill.  While I could connect to wi-fi when I found it, I was effectively off the grid while roaming the streets.  (Taking note of internet hotspots was important, especially since I was trying to organize meet-ups while out and about.)

On one hand it was nice to be freed forcibly from the phone.  There would be no constant maintenance of e-mail, particularly those from work.  From a mental perspective I was very much in the physical surroundings.  As much as I might ordinarily rely on the smartphone's tools in this situation, I was able to get by in "the old way", although this was probably more of a hybrid.

I was also largely divorced from the news of the world.  I didn't have time to monitor everything, so when I did have time, I was keeping up with a Twitter list that was of direct use regarding the event.  There's so much noise in the media that it was nice to escape it, as unlikely as that might sound for being downtown in a major international city.

The downside is that I do rely on the ability to be in constant communication with anyone and everyone.  I met up with several colleagues, some I've met before and some I've never met.  Trying to coordinate plans to get together was a challenge, especially if I'd go eight hours or more without being able to contact them.  If I wanted to find a place in an unfamiliar city on the spur of the moment, I probably couldn't.

Anyway, I'm back on now and have no plans (for now) to leave where I live until Thanksgiving, so I'm back to being plugged in all the time.  Perhaps I'll be more mindful of how it?


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