Keeping in Touch While Traveling in Europe; Or, What I Did on My Summer Vacation by ProQuest


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                                                                                                           Irene E. McDermott

INTERNET EXPRESS                                                                               Reference Librarian/System Manager
                                                                                            Crowell Public Library, City of San Marino

Keeping in Touch While
Traveling in Europe;
Or,What I Did on
My Summer Vacation
“No offense, but I need something more than your
 company.” So said my son on the second day of
 our maiden voyage to Europe. At age 13 (going
 on 37), he is not ashamed to express his feelings.

“I’m going on Facebook to chat with my friends.”

I   felt sympathy with him. After my husband died in 2008, my
    son and I made a pact to visit Britain and France. We had
discussed taking this trip for years, but my husband’s illness
                                                                  the hotel’s wireless in London and later, a free Ethernet DSL
                                                                  connection in our Paris hotel.

made that impossible. In June 2009, my boy and I fulfilled our    Traveling Computers
pledge and traveled the 5,500 miles to Europe, but without the       Schlepping your old 6-pound notebook computer through
man who made our family complete. We were enjoying the            an airport will break your back. Fortunately, these days, we can
sights immensely but felt twinges of loneliness.                  buy tiny, fairly cheap computers designed specifically for com-
   Fortunately, the day before his declaration, I had paid 26     puting on the go.
British pounds (about $43 USD) for 3 days of wireless internet
access in our London hotel room. This, it turns out, was the      The Net(book) Effect
savviest fee I paid on our trip. internet access from our room
became essential for buying theater tickets, planning metro       Gadgets-Greet-Business-Travelers
routes, and exchanging notes with friends back home via Face-         Joe Brancatelli, business travel columnist for,
book and email.                                                   tries out the new “netbooks,” the small, light, relatively inexpen-
   Ah, humans. We are such social creatures. If we have an ex-    sive computers designed for travel. He appreciates the compact
traordinary adventure and our friends don’t know about it in      size of the new machines but bemoans their lack of power and
near-real time, did it actually happen?                           stamina. “Where, I wonder, is my convergence machine, the
   As my travel computer, I brought along my trusty 5-year-old    one that makes calls flawlessly around the world, doubles as
Sony Vaio PCG-4CIL. With a footprint of 8"x 11", it is smaller    my music player, triples as a fully functioning portable com-
than a piece of notebook paper. It had no trouble connecting to   puter and fits in my pocket?” Brancatelli considers the options                                                                                           October 2009        43
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