07 July, 2011

Belleville McDonalds – food for thought

I have been in search of the authentic French meal ever since I was so bitterly disappointed in Lyon.  Yesterday while out on a walk I stumbled upon it under the golden arches of a roadside McDonalds – a McWrap and chips – French fries to be exact.  Now here is the quintessential meal…….  The real reason I was in a Maccas store was to update my Smartphone using the free wifi service.  Data cost on phones if you don’t have a 24 month contract are exorbitant here in France, like €2 a minute which can use up all your credit if you are a slow typer like me.  So off to the local eatery for a coffee and an update on data - very helpful.
Travelling through Europe and especially the coast of the Mediterranean has been a challenge to connect to the web.  There are many cruisers who pride themselves at finding a “free” wifi signal.  They pass the information on, record it in their blogs and perpetuate the theft of some unsuspecting person’s bandwidth.  No they don’t see it that way but to me it is exactly that, be it a home or a business.  Their counter argument is that person should be more tech savvy and encrypt the signal so it cant be used by others.  Fine some bars and cafes provide a free signal but they at least expect one to purchase the cost of a beer.  I remember a ozzie group anchoring opposite a bar to which one member was sent to obtain the entry code for access.  For days after they used the bandwidth without the purchase of a single item – not on mate.
I liked Venice which provided free wifi access to whole districts.  Most marinas now provide wifi for their patrons.  At Port Napoleon the locals park their cars outside the fence and access the free network, so it is not only the cruisers onto this scam.  Where will it all go?  France tries to justify the cost but the networks are owned by the Government.  In Australia we are installing the largest infrastructure project in the country’s history by laying a data network of optic fibre to the house.  Great we will have super fast data transfer directly connected to the PC but what of our wireless Smartphone.  That will still use wireless (wifi) and the slow speed associated with it.  Walk outside away from your node and you are limited.  I think the authorities have got it wrong.  People want wireless access wherever they go from a device held in one hand (ie not an ipad) at a cost that’s reasonable.  Fine pay but not the prices now being charged.  The infrastructure and spectrum is there just go for the Maccas food approach – low cost, high volume and quality you can depend on no matter what store you enter – even in France.

No comments: