Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Off the Grid


While in Ireland, Wales and England, I virtually went "off the grid" for two weeks. I turns out I missed nothing. While in the car, we listened to RTE Lyric FM in Ireland and BBC Radio 3 in England, sticking to classical music and the top-of-the-hour news updates.

Coming back and turning on talk radio -- politics or sports -- it has been anti-climatic. However, I am very glad we have this medium. It does not exist in these countries (probably most countries) the open way it does in America. It is clear that freedom of the press is not practiced there. Their media is overly government subsidized and controlled.

It got me thinking about our subsidized media. I like much of the product on public TV and radio but with the amount of cable stations, there really is no need for our tax dollars to go towards this. Society is not better because the government sponsors classical and music, opera, Masterpiece Theatre, Nova, Frontline and Red Green. If these products are good, they will find a home and be offered by for-profit organizations.

I found it interesting that more and more businesses, home owners and renters do a good job at securing their wireless networks. I drove around a variety of neighborhoods when I needed Internet access. In some neighborhoods, all the wifi access point were secured. Eventually, I'd find a strong one without security, enabling access. Besides allowing me to check and email, I was able to use Skype for phone calls to America and to England. (Skype is a beautiful thing).

I also found many people still are not on-line. For some, it is still too expensive. For these, they cannot justify the cost given the return.

So being off-the-grid was a good thing...for a while. It is being on-the-grid that allows us to be productive, find pertinent information, communicate and to remain somewhat informed, not forced to rely on the MSM and the government for our information.

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