3am in London

Well. They insist on calling it "9am" here, but you get the idea. I’m in Kensington, at Chris’ conference hotel enjoying their wireless connection. Or rather, their "wireless" connection. It only works in the lobby or the business centre (a room full of noisy hotel employees) but not in the room. In the room you can pay a separate per hour fee for an ethernet connection. Apparently UK hotels haven’t caught on to the wonders of PRINGLES CANS for expanding a wireless network yet. Get on it, people.

There’s this weird attitude toward bandwidth here that I’m finding difficult to understand. Everywhere you can see ads for expensive per-hour internet services, and the BBC news treats open wireless connections as Horribly Dangerous Vulnerabilities rather than an egalitarian sharing of resources. It’s as if a broadband connection were some sort of precious substance that must be protected from Unwashed Hackers who will Eat it Up. Which just seems silly. I’ve never run out of Internet. A broadband connection isn’t like the hot water for the shower. I don’t get charged more if I use more, within reason. You have to download a hell of alot of Daily Show episodes to put a dent in it. So if someone wants to sit outside my house and check their email, they can go ahead. I’ve got a firewall, I’m running OS X. Help yourself, enjoy. I’m certainly not going to make you buy a scratchcard with a 34 digit code that expires in 24 hours.

Yesterday was a foggy blur of various transportation methods. Highlights included the gay flight crew singing showtunes quietly in the back of the plane (hooray!), my melted airplane dinner (the whole thing! melted! including the packet of cheddar and the moon pie), and realizing we left the paper tickets to Madrid back on the bookcase at home. Paper tickets. Whoever heard of such a thing?

We wandered over to Westminster last night, but missed the last flight on the Eye. Gotta say, despite about 30 episodes of The Prisoner and all the James Bond movies, seeing Big Ben all huge and lit up as you come out of the subway is Very Impressive. Yesterday was Rememberance day, so we visited the Battle of Britain memorial and I got all choked up. Maybe it was the jetlag, but the awfulness of it all really hit me. If you get a chance, watch the Masterpiece Theater production Piece of Cake. It’s a great account of the RAF’s role in the Battle of Britain.

I’ll be taking it easy today, posting when I can, and taking photos with Chris’ friend’s Digital Rebel. I’m still moving a bit slow, despite the three cups of tea I poured into myself this morning at breakfast, but I hope to get to the British Library today, and as well as locate some of the Big City Shops that we poor Ithacans don’t have access to normally. Lush, here I come. 


 NEWS FLASH! I’m three feet from Jacob Nielson! He’s drinking tea! And discussing the semantics of user testing vs. user centered design with other speakers! I’m eavesdropping! But, being Midwester, I feel guilty about this, so I’ll toddle off.