I mistimed my eircom payments in March and discovered that I couldn't go more than three months without lodging some money towards payment of my home telephone service. I've refined a habit of my Irish great-grandparents and learned to delay payments but sometimes I cut it too close to termination points. So I lost eircom connectivity at the time I handled the Twitter account for @ireland during the Patrick's Day festivities.
I reverted the home to an O2 Hotshot, not expecting what happened next. It turned out that I didn't fall offline during the interval. At 20 euro per month, the O2 service is significantly less expensive than eircom's. We spent 80 euro every month with eircom, the amount I'm paying each month to reconcile an outstanding 300 euro balance.
We should be back with eircom by October, saving EUR 480 during the interim period. That amount of money makes me wonder if we should ever connect again.
But we will need a wired connection once we start using an XBox 360 with the television. The little dongle won't carry that load. And we also need to provide more than five devices with internet access. The dongle can handle only connect five devices at a time to its wifi antenna.
My journey on my blog is full of episodes of lost broadband access. We jumped into broadband land in early 2002 with ISDN service in Kilkenny, then lost the connection after selling the house and renting in several places in County Tipperary. One of our rental homes was located seven miles from the nearest digital telephone exchange and that meant no DSL for the six months as tenants. Eircom's digital exchange is less than a mile away from our front door now, meaning the access point outside registers 24 megabits per second. Once that goes into our home, the bitrate falls in half.
Our little O2-Ireland Hotshot cannot see the 3G mast located three miles from our home, but we get some kind of spurious HSDPA signal that has permitted me to join Google Hangouts on my iPod Touch. Most of the time, I plan to live within speeds served by a 56k modem. I've developed some surprisingly effective tactics.
1. Use mobile screens instead of browser tabs. Too many open tabs in browsers slow down everything. Some tabs run processes that aren't friendly to over-the-air services. So I normally work online with three different screens open at my elbow. I watch stuff on my Lumia, the iPad, and the Xoom tablet. The presentations are helpful and the information flow very targeted.
2. Time-shift reading through Clearly and Send-to-Kindle. Heavily-laden content slows down everything but Evernote's Clearly removes all the window dressing around content. If I want to read something arising from an interesting link, I pull the content through Clearly. If I think the reading material can wait, I send it to Kindle or to Instapaper for viewing on another screen a few hours later. I also take my long form reading cues from my G+ subscriptions and from email summaries from Zenark, Google Alerts on key phrases and my Wonder Reader subscriptions. I've used these tools together while roaming internationally and they provide more than 1000 individual items for just over a megabyte of data transfer.
3. Upload with applications. My Flickr photostream stays current because I can snap and send from my phone to my photostream by using the Flickr app. My video uploads move faster to YouTube from my Sony Xperia phone than via a browser window. Audioboo clips are just as easy.
These services are elegant and low-cost. I have remained within a 50 GB cap during every month with O2-Ireland while disconnected from eircom broadband.
Previously: "Adjusting the flow" on InsideView, June 20, 2008.
#subtweet alert: I might be plagiarising myself.