Alert readers will now be saying, "But there was no Wired Windows column two weeks ago!"
I'm sure it's possible to "stay in touch" via satellite, even using a shared, terminal-server-like session (all I could actually see was a keyboard, monitor and a customised browser). After all, many of you connect your enterprise networks via satellite. Too bad the combination of the ship's internet cafe, the satellite link, a choppy sea, a web-based email client that wanted to (but couldn't) put a cookie on my terminal and -perhaps - my less-than-dedicated attention to all the details (I was on vacation, for heaven's sake!) united to make the copy of that column my hard-working editor received virtually unreadable.
The various problems mentioned above caused my email client to ask for username and password every time I clicked a button or a link (which you do frequently when composing a message with an attachment). Reading mail became: log on, click read, log on, click in-box, log on, click first message, log on, read message (more spam), log on, delete message, log on, choose in-box, etc. It took about 10 minutes to log on to the terminal, get to my mail server and read and delete the first message (which I knew was spam from the first line, so I didn't linger over it). At that point, there were 164 messages still waiting to be read.
I threw up my hands, said a silent prayer that all would be well and stopped trying to read mail for the week. So it wasn't until I got back to the office (long after that issue of Network World had been mailed) that I discovered the problem - after wading through the 600 or so messages - waiting.
It is a shrinking world. You can be in touch from everywhere. But mixing business and pleasure still isn't easy.
Kearns, a former network administrator, is a freelance writer and consultant in Austin, Texas. Send email to Dave Kearns.