Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Remote working - getting some air

I have been a remote worker since 1999, I started working for Chelmsford based Ultralab when I lived close to Land's End, then moved to working for Anglia Ruskin Faculty of Education from the same location. I spent almost 4 years working for Anglia from Galicia - NW Spain, then moved to Sussex and now back in Cornwall on the edge of Bodmin moor near Liskeard. We do not have any mobile signal in the little village we are in - it nestles deep in a valley and access stops at where our road starts. BT needed 5 weeks from my application to them actually being able to supply a router and activate phone / internet - as Telefonica managed the same in 5 days in very rural Galicia I have no idea why BT are so inefficient, however; I still have 9 days before the line is active so have been working via a borrowed USB mobile internet thing from the moors above the village. Last time I used one it gave me around 3-5 kbps and was barely functioning, fortunately the only thing that did work reliably was Centrinity's FirstClass Client -the software we used to host our online communities in. I did a speed test today and am getting 4.9MBPS that was more than enough to participate in a departmental meeting via Adobe Connect video/text interface. 2 hours into the meeting my MacBook batteries started to run low so I had to start the car and idle it for 20 mins to charge the laptop via my inverter - no car should be without an inverter. 

On the other side of the road some new friends reminded me it was time for a drink - glad I brought my flask today.

A few meters down from where I park is a standard country gate leading into a designated footpath, there is no fence, no visible remains of a fence or signs of an about to arrive fence; just a gate. It has been a constant reminder of how easy it is to become fenced into being in buildings when freedom is just a few steps away. 

After several days of sitting in the car I headed out and used the gate - it should have been no different to not using the gate but it was different. Stepping through the gate rather than going round it reminded me that I had fenced myself into my car, so for a little while I had a totally unfenced office experience. 

I really would recommend getting out in the sunshine every now and then, I will be buying my own USB connector and working outdoors more often - there is not much in the online world that requires sitting indoors at a desk these days.


  1. Hi Ian
    Really enjoyed your blogpost, I'm a remote worker myself and have been for 3 years now - see my blog How do you cope with sunshine on your laptop screen? I always think is one area someone will make a good product to combat! WOuld love to interview you for my site sometime?

    1. I used to love the old black G3 laptop because it did not reflect sun from the laptop body, have been on silver shiny Powerbooks for years now and the reflection from the body is bad enough never mind the screen. I either shade the screen with my body or face the sun - the latter is when I get reflections from the laptop body - a nice mat black MacBook would be so much better. Interview is a possibility although I am working full on for the next few weeks preparing for start of semester.


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