Always online

Always online is a reality, we were four people on the road with two cellphones, two smartphones, two Ipads, three PC notebooks, one 3G modem, one Apple notebook and an Amazon Kindle. We had constant access to the Internet, friends and work during the entire trip. All of us liked it, (for those who do not like this new connected lifestyle there is an off-button on all devices). Being hooked up to the web simplifies a lot of things when you are on vacation like ordering car spare parts or finding hotel for the night along the way.
In 1995 I was together with six others on a boat outside Stockholm all with cellphones at that time we realized in future everyone would have a cellphone and be accessible 24X7. But that four people on a vacation  road trip 2012 should have two cell phones, five Internet connected devices plus a tracking device with a complete European map and some extra computers, was beyond our imagination.
I’m home again after an unusual  vacation. A road trip together with my two sons and the oldest son’s girlfriend, for two weeks it’s sounds like a recipe for a   Norén  family drama.(As you may deduct from the picture of Norén he is not in for comedy, actually I do not like his public image or his plays.) But the four of us got along just fine. I only flipped out once or twice driving in towns. I hate driving in towns I do not know, my sense of directions is not bad, it’s nil . (According to my sons, my world is a Rubrik’s cube constantly twisting.) We had bought a GPS navigator, Navigon 72 Easy  for this trip, this little wonder box proved to be invaluable to find the way in Central Europe, but it had its flaws, it hung when needed the most inside towns, and it sometimes points out odd routes in towns, but on the whole it was great guide. But had I known what I know now, I had spent another 100€ on a better more online navigator.  This navigator has a peculiar habit of jumping between roads, e.g. I had been northbound on Autobahn A1 for some 50 km when the navigator  jump over to a parallel country road and suggested I should make a U turn if possible. During this trip I have been following   Carl Mäsak’s  posts on making an adventure game in Perl6 , there you are only allowed to walk between rooms if there is a crossing, this logic is missing in my navigator.
It took us four days to reach our final destination Gignac in France. On the way south we stopped in København in Denmark,  Dijon and Montpellier in France, three very nice towns you should visit if you have the chance. We hit the Hamburg evening rush hours and that is something you should avoid, apart from that the trip went smoothly. We had to change a wheel bearing in Malmö. Just outside Stockholm we noticed a malicious sound from left the rear wheel,  it had to be the wheel bearing so we called a   garage in Malmö  and asked them to be prepared to replace the bearing when we arrived there. While we had lunch they repaired the car and an hour later we drove on to France. My car a Volvo V50 performed great, in Germany we found out 170km/h was optimum cruising speed. With modern IT gear you can do a lot. With some Ipads and smartphones it was easy to find a garage and without even slowing down arrange a repair. Later during the trip we reserved hotel rooms via hotels.com using the same IT gear. I also invented   speed-debugging  with my PC and a 3G modem while my son tested optimal cruising speed. We had a very pleasant stay in Gignac . The landscape up in the mountains is breathtaking, and the Mediterranean beaches south of Sète  are fantastic. Not to mention the food and wine, we loaded the car with bottles from the wine cellar of   Dumas Gassac .
We took the return trip in two legs. First to Köln in Germany and then home. We stayed for three nights in Köln, a very nice City, for those of you who have not seen the Cathedral the   Kölner Dom  I can tell you it’s stunningly huge and beautiful. We visited some great art museums contemporary and old/ancient. We spent a fortune on shopping.  The youngsters had one great night on the town, they came back to the hotel at about 05:00. The second leg Köln-Stockholm was done in only fourteen hours. And tomorrow I be back at the office .
On next year's summer vacation I will only have one 4G smartphone and my Kindle. Electronic Ink  screens are superior to LED screens, I’m eagerly waiting for Color Electronic Ink screens in other pads, PC and phones. Today we can replace the PC with pads and smartphones, but for reading books we need better screens than LED, Electronic Inc or similar techniques are the next screen evolution. Something that emulate paper!  

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