Hi. My Name is Joel and I have a problem – I’m addicted to connectivity. And I’m ashamed.
Where is the silence I once enjoyed in my youth? Where is the comforting isolation that once sparked dreams of moving from the farm into the world of technology? Where is the attention span that I was once so proud of? Gone – gone because of my wireless card. You see, I’m connected 24 X 7.
I get up in the morning and while I’m making coffee I also check Google News and take a look at my daily schedule on the laptop we keep on the kitchen counter. After I go jogging, shower, and eat – I check my email one more time before going to work (10 min drive on a bad day). When I get to work, I rush to set up my laptop – because I may have missed something important – or worse yet – I may have missed something cool. I optimize my time by running to our lunch room to get a coffee while the laptop is starting up – cursing if there is no fresh coffee made because that means that it might take me 30 seconds longer before I can be connected once again. I get to my desk – whew – messenger is on – where is everyone? Someone talk to me please! Wait – were is someone I can bug.. .
You see, that represents my entire day – from the time I get up until the time I go to sleep. I start to get the jitters when I’m not connected.
This week I’m in Bellevue at a very cool conference. We were promised connectivity from our hotel and from the conference rooms – this is wonderful. Enter: “Reality” I’m in a hotel with 500 people with a similar problem, um need – and the hotel communication network was never built for anything like that. Hence, I haven’t really been connected. What is worse is the fact that there is something wrong with my wireless card and/or the way I’ve set it up (It’s a Linksys 54G card – help). While in the conference I am able to get an IP address – but my connection is sooooo slow, it’s completely unusable. I can’t VPN. I can’t IM, and I can barely OWA. That makes me sad. But I hold back my tears… because I’m supposed to be a grown-up. And it wouldn’t really be all that bad if my peers weren’t sitting so close to me gleefully enjoying their wonderful connectivity. Please – don’t – please pretend you can’t connect either I silently plead. Sure, they are complaining that its slow as well, however they can still browse, VPN, and most importantly IM – even though it may be slow. Help – I feel like 7 of 9 from Star Trek Voyageur – I’m disconnected from the Borg central communication - and I’m dying. My RD friends are great – but they have to know how much it hurts to see them having sooo much fun while I have to actually worry about how I’m not going to multitask. Please stop giggling while you IM – can’t you feel my frustration?
Here’s the funny part though – I actually get more out of the sessions while I’m multitasking compared to when I’m paying attention. This is probably because I’ve always been an awful student. I maintained some solid grades during university by not going to class – simply because when I did I fell asleep. I can’t help it. If I’m a student or in the audience of a conference – damn it - you better do everything possible to keep me awake. That may explain why I’m such a hyper presenter… I know that there are people out there just like me – and its my job to keep their focus on me and what I’m saying – so I bounce around like an idiot – and I tell a lot of jokes (every 7 minutes because that happens to be the amount of time between commercials). So, without being connected – I sit, and I drink a crap load of coffee to try to stay away. I’m a CEO. I’m an RD. I’m a card carrying adult – damn it I have to set an example. But… I can’t. I’m dozing…. can’t stay…. Awake… … huh?
Happiness is what you feel when you come back to the hotel room and find that the in room connection works. Happiness is the feeling that you can once again express yourself over your keyboard. Happiness…. Well, happiness is not being alone – ever because of a wire.
Let me take my rant to one more place. I’m a bandwidth junky as well. I want more bandwidth – hear my plea. I need bandwidth and low low low low latency. I NEED Voice over IP. I need video conferencing.. I need a more rich way to stay connected. No – I demand a more rich way to stay connected. What kinda grinds my ass a bit is the way that we preach (praise Jesus) about being connected any time any where –about access to information any time anywhere on any platform. That’s crap. We’re no where near that. Take this week for example – we can’t really expect that we have rich connectivity to feed our need to express ourselves electronically. When will this be? Why can’t I do this now? I need to. At the PDC past I used Messenger and a webcam to stay in contact with my family. That’s cool – but it really sucked. It sucked so bloody bad. It had a cool factor – but it still isn’t where it should be.
I’ll save my global plea for a Doom engine built for the virtual workspace for another day…..
GO TEAM SYSTEM GO