Spoiled by technology
June 7, 2011
One of the features of being a contractor is freedom of movement. You can travel anywhere in the world, and as long as you have a laptop and a wifi connection, you can be productive. I’ve enjoyed the freedom of coding in a local starbucks, a local pub, even awesome co-locations sites like GangPlank.
The Internet is truly a beautiful thing.
Except when there is no Internet
Today I’m traveling to D.C. - working when I can, vacationing when I can. My plan was simple. Code 4+ hours on the flight out, 4+ hours on the flight back, and a couple of hours each day where I can.
I’ve worked on an airplane several times now. It’s surprisingly productive. There are no distractions really, just you in a claustrophobic space with a tiny laptop (using the wife’s macbook air). I’ve been able to kick out a ton of code, respond to email, chat with co-workers, etc.
The panic ensues
So we take off, I fire-up the iPad for the wife so she can watch movies, then I log-on my computer and get ready to knock out some defects that need to be fixed before for a deploy tonight, and a new feature for a customer portal website I’m working on.
There is no WiFi.
What? No WiFi? - I had several emotions at that moment. Anger, frustration, panic, then it hit me. I just assumed that there was WiFi on my flight because I never thought there would not be. I’ve had WiFi on the last three flights I’ve taken. I just assumed that WiFi was assimilated into U.S. air travel.
I did not plan for this.
This goes against the whole AgileZen/Kanban thing of eliminating waste. I’m 30,000, probably over Texas right now, with no Internet. I have no movies on this computer, no games, this is my wife’s machine so I don’t have a VM on it and can’t work on local .net projects. I effectively have a $1,200 text editor.
It’s my fault
For assuming my plan would just fall into place without creating a backup plan. How silly of me. I took the wife’s laptop because all I needed was VPN and remote desktop. I should have installed a VM on this machine, or brought my laptop just in case something went wrong. I should have brought some school essays I need to complete. I should have brought some SideBox features that I need to knock out. I should have pulled-down some contracting work locally so that I could code against it here and upload it later. No XCode. No Rails. No .NET. No MonoTouch. I have TextEditor and Terminal.
So, here I sit, wondering what I could build with TextEditor and Terminal. Maybe I’ll blog about how bad it sucks to not have WiFi when you really counted on it…
I’ll play catch-up
When I get to the hotel room, I’ll just VPN into work and try to catch-up. Well, here at the Radisson, you can’t VPN on their public network. I called down to inquire about it and they tell me I have to use the wired connection. Guess what they don’t provide… Guess what I did not bring…