How easy is it to do “business as usual” in today’s connected world? Gihan put this to the test last month, and has just returned from a month in Prague, which was a combination of work and pleasure (“weisure”, as New York University sociologist Dalton Conley calls it, or “furking” (combining fun and working), as Kirsty Spraggon calls it). In this podcast, Chris interviews Gihan about his experiences using the Internet for this purpose.
Broadly, let’s use the metaphor of taking a trip. It has three broad parts: How you get on the road; what you take with you; and what you do when you arrive.
Get (metaphor for Internet access)
In general, Internet access in Europe is easy and fast compared with Australia (and in Venice, it will soon be free to residents). In Prague, wireless hotspots are widely available, though of course you have to be aware of security issues when using public access points.
- Use Skype for free computer-to-computer phone calls, and for cheap long-distance calls
- Get a SkypeIn phone number for incoming calls
- Get a virtual fax number with mbox.com.au – your faxes are delivered to you by e-mail
Take (metaphor for essentials)
Phrase book (metaphor for all the language things):
- Be aware of differences in keyboard layouts e.g. finding the “@” key on an Italian keyboard!
- Various Web sites (Google, Bing, Facebook, Blogger) detect your location based on IP address, and default to the local (Czech) version
- Most informational Czech Web sites have English (and German) versions
- If they don’t, BabelFish can do translations for you
- Online banking is easy for transferring money between accounts
- Currency converter – www.xe.com/ucc, OANDA.com or just Google it.
Things to Do
- Google Maps – invaluable for maps and directions
- Tourist information Web sites
- Coin-operated Internet kiosks in airports, info offices, etc.
- Planning and booking side-trips can all be done on-line nowadays
Keeping in touch: Plan what level of information you share with each circle of people in your life – e.g.