Skype has a nasty habit of persistently boasting that “Skype WiFi is available here!” This invariably happens at a Starbucks or somewhere that has great (free) WiFi. Beware of this nasty beast!
Regrettably, I have used this service. At the Newark airport I had to choose between catching a free signal or having a power plug. Power won out. On the plus side, I brought power splitter that I’d somehow acquired. I found it in a box full of obsolete electronics: floppy disks and broken routers and the like. It’s from the 80’s or 90’s I think because brown electronics pretty much don’t exist anymore — it’s just black or white. I was instantly a popular guy. How to Win Friends and Influence People, if it was written today and not in 1936, would undoubtedly have a chapter on bringing ugly brown power splitters to airports.
Having opted for power, it was onto Skype’s internet as there were no free alternatives. It seemed convenient. I saw a price and paid no attention. There were zeros and twos and well, Skype is cheap. Turns out not so much — I was bankrupt in under an hour.
Fair enough. Caveat emptor. But it is pretty absurd to pay a dollar per every five minutes. I had a quick look at what the prepaid phone card outfits charge for some really out of the way destinations. It’s good to know that the calling up wartorn Afghanistan is slightly more expensive still than reading the Globe and Mail online. I don’t quite recall how I spent those 53 minutes but I’m sure they were glorious.
It illustrates how pervasive online life is and how it’s become just another quiet necessity in the background, like electricity or running water — they are very much things that get taken for granted until they are not there.