This post was written as part of Peeve Week 2: Internet.
Internet has evolved quite a lot since 1969 when ARPANET first launched it. Thanks to Tim Berners-Lee’s invention of HTTP in 1989 we got the 8th wonder: the World Wide Web.
Now, in XXI century more and more people are getting Internet connections. As of June 10, 2007, 1.133 billion people use the Internet according to Internet World Stats.
Some of us can’t even imagine life without the Internet anymore. It’s the easiest and often cheapest way to connect with our family and friends, especially if they’re scattered all over the world.
With the popularity of Instant Messaging applications, more and more people abandon the expensive long distance phone calls in favor of IM programs. Even businesses now recognize the great potential of IM programs and rely on Skype for their daily phone calls and conferences.
I did mention the word “cheap” earlier, didn’t I? But unfortunately it’s not always true. And the Internet is not always accessible. Some airports, hotels, and cafes charge an arm and a leg to go online. During my recent business trip I was stuck at the Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport for 2 hours, but when I tried getting online I was shocked by the charges. I had two options: pay 6 euros for 30 min of internet access or 10 euros for 24 hours of internet. Of course, you don’t have to be a Math genius to realize that in the end it’s cheaper to get the 2nd option. But I wasn’t spending 24 hours in that airport, not even 10… not even 5.
Fortunately one of my colleagues had purchased some kind of universal Internet access and connected me to his laptop with an Ethernet cable. And I was online in no time.
But then that grueling 9 hours flight from Vancouver to Amsterdam… Why don’t they have Internet access on the planes? They do have radio and BBC news, but why not the Internet? Don’t they know it’s 2007 already?! They had Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
And what’s with the hotels charging for the Internet access? Shouldn’t it be included in that astronomical fee we pay for staying there? The same goes for cafes – I already bought coffee from you, now you want me to pay for getting online too?
Fortunately in Vancouver, BC the Internet access at the airport is free (although the signal is pretty weak), and there are many cafes in the city offering free WiFi. Actually, there’s a very useful website – WifiMug: Caffeinated and Unstrung. Currently it lists only four cities with an extensive collection of cafes that offer free internet access. Vancouver is one of them. It’s a Wiki site, so if you know such cafes in your city, it would be great to add them to this website.
We need more places that offer free Internet. Viva Free Internet!
If you would like to read more of what Vivien – the Canadian blogger/Career Mom/Web Designer – has to say about facts of life, design and blogging, head to her site Inspiration Bit and get inspired.