Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The short(wave) and long of it

It has been some time since my last blog entry. The reason is purely technical. You see, I am now in Suzhou, China, on a mission. I have been here since last Sunday, 25 March 07. Internet access where I am staying now is purely through mooching. Those wireless signals that are not protected are nevertheless so weak that I get intermittent connection. Most of the time that I do have a strong enough connection (usually only in the mornings), I use to check my office and personal e-mails.

Trying to get an acceptable wireless signal which allows me to surf unimpeded reminds me of my days tuning in to shortwave radio. Yep, in those far off days, where the PC and the Internet were still experimental or classified technology, shortwave radio was the best way to tune in to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Voice of America (VOA). I wasn’t rich enough to own a powerful shortwave radio receiver - I was a poor student then - but I did have a radio that could ‘catch’ the right airwaves when the radio was oriented in a certain position. Those positions usually were good for about 10 or 15, or even 20 minutes before the signal weakens and interference increases. But I did have a whale of a time listening to news broadcast from outside the country. In retrospect, mooching is not very different from my ‘shortwave radio’ days. I keep moving my Centrino Notebook around to a position that gives me a useable wireless internet signal. With the internet connection, I can surf on over to the BBC website, and indeed, even the Voice of America website to catch the latest international news.

The only difference is that some people view mooching as illegal. With Wireless@SG, I wonder whether it is not time to reassess that view. Looking at the ways things are going, mooching will eventually become irrelevant and should be decriminalized – at least I hope so.

Image source: http://www.stockxpert.com/

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