The major reason for my lack of blog posts recently is that I was cut off from the Internet for a week.* Surprisingly, the experience was not so bad. I actually enjoyed being offline, and even the pain of coming back was not as bad as I had thought -- it only took about a day to catch up with e-mail. Much e-mail was junk that needed no attention, a good bit was time-sensitive stuff that simply moved on happily without me, and a smallish fraction was actually important and time-consuming. Of course, there was an inherent bias, since many people knew I'd be away. I can't remember the last time I was off the Internet for a week -- but it has been a long time. There are plenty of days that I go without watching TV, or even driving my car, but a day without the Internet is in itself a fairly rare event.
On the trip back I used GogoInflight and simultaneously had a great and frustrating experience. Since I had a stopover, I went with a 24-hour package. My first short flight, on a relatively small plane, had service and all went very well. Internet on a plane is indeed useful (particularly when you have a week of e-mail to catch up on). However, my much longer second leg on a much bigger plane didn't have the service, making the purchase something of a waste. I don't blame Gogo, I blame American Airlines...
And for those with stopovers in Dallas, always remember to bring your CAT5 cable. Somehow, the terminal there I frequent has free WIRED Internet access, but only if you know to bring your own cable to connect your laptop. On the plus side, I've never had problem getting a seat at the Internet table, since nobody else seems to travel with the required cord. It makes me happy that Boston is one of those friendly airports with free wireless.
The other reason for the lack of blog posts has been the need to catch up. When were those reviews due again?.... What's that next conference deadline?.... When's my midterm?.... Back to it.
*OK, technically, not true. However, cruise ship rates for Internet access are a fairly ridiculous 65 cents a minute (with smallish discounts for bulk time). It didn't seem worthwhile.