Friday

Ubud gets wired

Since a few weeks I have this 6 meter long antenna on the tree next to our swimming pool. Internet comes to Ubud, even for small people like me. Up till now we had to use a dial in connnection, speed depending from the time of the day. Rule of thumb: If more slow, more expensive. Telekom Indonesia charges most between 9 a.m. till 3 p.m.

So a local dial in connection can easily cost US$ 100 a month, that's for one or two hours a day. In other parts of Southern Bali Telkom has introduced an ADSL service named speedy. Not particularly speedy for western standards it allows for around US$ 80 a reasonable fast 128 DOWNLOAD connection, upload as normal much slower. But somehow Telekom refuses to bring this to Ubud, maybe as they have a couple of dozens bigger businesses here, who slash out USD 800 per month for their Internet connection. And they are maybe afraid of loosing them, as they would many of small guys like us.

Some Ubud based entrepreneurs have now taken the initiative into their own hands and opened a community service. Based on the simple concept of sharing internet connection for non-profit, but mutual benefit they have helped us to get connected more easily and affordable to the real world.

Oh, why I'm writing all this? It was intended as an introduction to the publishing of a new book, "LOOSE WIRE:A Personal Guide to Making Technology Work for You". The first ever technology book introduced to the world in Ubud hopefully will give more tips for adjusting to situations like ours regarding Internet access. To be released by Equinox Publishing, Indonesia's leading English-language publisher, and written by the well-known personal technology columnist Jeremy Wagstaff, during the 3rd annual Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Ubud, Bali on Sunday 1 October 2006.

Equinox Publishing's Mark Hanusz explains: "The basic problem with technology is that it is evolving at a much faster pace than the average person can handle, and people end up having to piece together different bits of a puzzle that don't always seem to fit together. What "Loose Wire" does is slows this pace down, walks the reader through where these technologies have come from, why they are important, what they can do for us and most importantly how we can use them effectively."

MORE ABOUT THE BOOK
Ever get the feeling that technology is taking over your life and not asking you first? When you've mislaid that important file or can't connect your new camera, do you just want to hurl your computer out the window? When your kids/friends/grandparents start talking about blogging, podcasting and RSS feeds do you nod as wisely as you can while wrestling with the urge to throw them out the window too?

The bad news is that technology isn't going away. The good news is that by picking up this book you're halfway to putting all this new technology in perspective and making it work for you, not against you. LOOSE WIRE, by The Wall Street Journal's Jeremy Wagstaff, is a compilation of his most popular weekly columns on personal technology. An ordinary person's primer on technology, LOOSE WIRE explains – in jargon-free language and real sentences – what has happened over the past few years, from the rise of the cellphone to phishing, to where we are heading as well as hands-on, practical advice about how to enjoy the ride.

Maybe the book comes a bit early for Ubud, but for most of us others it might be well worth a try. And maybe Jeremy can give us some tips after his visit, how to deal with situations like ours here in Ubud. But maye these are also more political than technical problems. Here is an invitation to the launching of the book.

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