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Hot spots actually

I got to tell you a hot story. Well, er, a hot spot story actually.I am sitting here at Heathrow airport and voila, my WiFi enabled laptop picks up a hot spot provided by T Mobile. I have a bunch of e-mails in my outbox so I am keen to go online, sync up my laptop with our mail server back at IS via my VPN client (ie, with a secure encrypted “tunnel”) and then the e-mails will be on their way.

I have a little bit of time before my connecting flight so I figured I would also work on my latest column. Ok, so the hot spot story. Well, you put in your credit card number etc. and you get one hour of wireless Internet access. Sounds perfect.

I have just over an hour to spare before my next flight. So, I sync up, the e-mails hit the Net and then I do a bit of thinking about a bunch of stuff and then I decide to get something to eat. Ok, I am back. Had a quick bite. But, wait a minute, when I fire up my laptop again and go online it tells me I only have 20 minutes of online time left with T Mobile. And this got me thinking.

We have definitely all been conditioned by the cellphone companies and all their pay as you go offers. But, this online Internet access I indulged in at Heathrow airport is not pay as you go. When they say you get one hour of online time for 5 squid they mean one hour as in the clock starts the moment you sign up.

Reminds me of a chess match. I wonder what Bobby Fisher would say about this? Hey, where is that cat these days anyway? And, if you haven’t seen the movie “Searching for Bobby Fisher” then you should stop reading this right now and go online and order a copy. This is one for the collection to be watched every other year.

Sorry, I went off on a tangent, again. Please excuse me, this has been a crazy time of late. Ok, where was I, oh yes, the T Mobile hot spot and their 60 consecutive minutes. And what’s more, they took my aftershave away when going through airport security. What’s the deal here. Oh well, I bought some more at the duty free shop. Go figure. What a racquet!

And wait a minute, isn’t the body mostly liquid? Good thing they didn’t try to drain me. Ok, ok, this is getting silly – I am losing the plot now. And I went off on another tangent, again.

So, I’ve got about 20 minutes to go with my T Mobile online extravaganza. All my e-mails are sent, and my inbox is now full of new e-mails. The invention of “cache mode” on Outlook, by the way, was the best thing since the actual invention of e-mail. I can download all my e-mails and read them and reply to them on the airplane when I am offline. And when I get to the next Internet access hub I can sync up again and Bob’s your uncle.

Wait a second, I got about 15 minutes to go. And, magic is on my mind. I am looking around the airport and I see people everywhere and I start thinking of that beautiful opening of that movie “Love Actually”.

I almost remember the words off-by-heart but just to make sure I have not missed a beat I go online to and presto, I find the script on the Web. I download it and read that opening again. You got to love the Internet! Here is that opening of the film; I thought I would spread the love around this exciting and glorious day.

Richard Curtis, the script writer, is an inspired man. And here is what he had to say “Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow airport. General opinion makes out that we live in a world of hatred and greed but I don’t see that. Seems to me that love is everywhere.

“Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy but it’s always there. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, none of the phone calls from people on board were messages of hate or revenge; they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”

So, who cares about T Mobile and their 60 consecutive minutes. And who cares about Heathrow and their anti-liquid vibe. For, it is love, actually, that makes the world go round. And as for this technology, well, you can download a movie script, on the fly, to your laptop via wireless technology. It’s like a magic trick. You got to love all this technology. Yeah, you got to love a lot of stuff.

  • Ronnie Apteker is one of the founders of Internet Solutions, the country’s largest corporate Internet service provider. He is also a movie producer, an author of two books and sometimes a stand up comedian.

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The Big Change is a business strategy blog and newsletter published by Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, a leading technology research organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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