Today's lesson, if you have fewer than three ways to connect to the internet, you will be spending some time without.
After some of the trouble I had in Spain, I've been determined to have at least two backups for internet access in addition to whatever my primary access is. So far, I've failed to have two backups almost universally, but I suspect that my determination to have two has led to me having at least one backup at all times.
My ideal situation would be high speed wi-fi available wherever I am staying, plus a SIM card with mobile data for my iPad, plus a SIM card with mobile data from a different provider for my phone. As ridiculous as this sounds, I hope to show with the following anecdote that it is indeed called for.
On Tuesday, I moved into a new flat here in Dublin. My instructions were to pick up the key from the pub below the apartment. I had no trouble picking up the key, but upon arriving at the apartment, I had no instructions for internet. At the time, the only access I had was my iPad with mobile data. I don't have a reliable way to place calls from my iPad at this time. I had to contact my friend on Google Hangouts, and have him request wi-fi access details from the owner of the property. At that point, I had not yet figured out how to tether my laptop to my iPad. Fortunately, credentials were obtained quickly, and I had internet access on my laptop 20 minutes after arriving.
Over the next 12 hours, I figured out that the internet in the flat sucked terribly. The router is in another flat. The connection will randomly drop out for 5 seconds to 5 minutes, and I can almost never keep any device but my laptop connected to it at all.
On Wednesday, twenty minutes or so in advance of my normal day, my boss contacted me. We connected on screenhero. Three minutes later, my laptop lost internet. On my iPad, I turned on mobile data, started to connect on Slack and my mobile data went down. At this point, I had nothing. The only way I could talk to anyone was to walk up to them on the street and say hi. At this point, I admit I felt a bit of panic. Then, my mobile data came back. We connected on Slack, and then we switched to Google Hangouts. Ninety minutes later, after multiple hangouts with various collections of people, I finally had a chance to contact the property owner.
My laptop still had no internet, so I couldn't use my computer to place a call. I finally thought of placing a call with Google Hangouts on my iPad. It was $0.08 per minute, but I didn't care. I needed internet. Of course, I forgot that I only had $0.10 credit on google voice, but oh well.
I reached the property manager, told him I had no internet, and lost the call. My minute was up. Fifteen minutes later, he called me back on my Google Voice number. Thank goodness for caller id. Since he called me, time wasn't a problem. We discussed the problem, and he told me a new router was scheduled to arrive on Friday that would be more powerful, and faster, so my internet should improve greatly then. I asked how I could connect in the meantime. He said he would try to have someone reset the router but he wasn't sure they could get there on Wednesday night.
Several hours later, every bit of which was spent on Google Hangouts voice chat, I finally figured out how to tether my computer to my iPad. I switched to the laptop, relaxed, and got to work.
Fast forward to Friday night. I still have no wi-fi in the flat. The modem was delivered to the property manager after 9 pm, and he will be around to install it around 10 am on Saturday. I used 4 GB of mobile data between Wednesday afternoon and Thursday night, over half my allotment. I spent literally hours Thursday night trying to add credit to my SIM card so I could buy more data when I ran out to no avail. Nearly 20 hours after starting that particular exercise in frustration, I got someone on the phone (from skype - Are you calling from a landline in Ireland or a mobile in Ireland? I don't know.) who could help me. I've got credit to spare, and the ability to top up online now if I need. They had to contact me directly (except I contacted them) because I'm using an American credit card, and those things don't work right in Europe don't you know?
On any given weekday, I spend two to eight hours online in voice chat or video chat. A number I expect to go up as they just made me a team lead, and I'm fielding many of the questions my boss used to handle. Oh, by the way, that was why my boss contacted me early on Wednesday. I've spent over twenty years running from being put in any official leadership capacity. It finally tracked me down in Ireland, and I couldn't get away.