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Cyber Cafes Gone Cold

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Official Travel Notes Blog

When I first started Travel Notes we had Cyber Cafe listings on every country page.

I later wrote an article (Internet Cafe Guide) to feature the growing number of Internet Cafe directories; that I even used myself, when travelling.

Cyber Cafe in Ho Chi Minh City

How things have changed.

Much of what I wrote back then, with a great deal of enthusiam, now seems like cold coffee with three-day old cream curdling on top.

While many of us used to look for places to read our e-mail on the road because our computer work-stations were left at home, we can now slip a small netbook in our bag and pick up a wireless network in our hotel bedrooms before breakfast; sometimes even for free.

There are plenty of other wireless connection possibilities available when out and about for the day, and it's even possible to access the Internet and Google Maps from smart phones; whether your're travelling on a train, a bus, or sitting on the back of a donkey.

And to think that I did most of my travelling before I'd even heard about e-mail; when the only postcards I sent were ones with stamps on them, and tweet was something birds did.

Now telephones are put to the eye more than the ear, and looked at more than listened to; as a new generation of flashpackers tweet and upload videos to YouTube, faster than the old dial-up modems could crackle and gargle out their high-pitched tones.

Looking Back

When I was first thinking about getting on the Internet to learn HTML and inflict the world with my Web presence, I used a local Cybercafé to find out what it was all about.

I was an Internet geek right away; looking at what webmasters were doing by peeking at the source code. I had a new computer to play with at home, but was not yet connected with the wide world online.

We bought Internet magazines to find out about websites we might be interested in, and went down with our list of URLs on a Sunday morning and stayed there until well into the afternoon.

It soon became apparent that some of the websites needed us to register with an e-mail address. The cybercafés offered e-mail addresses, but as I hardly expected anyone to write to me, it seemed pointless to pay for an account.

Somewhere we read about free e-mail, and got connected. With these web-based (Yahoo) accounts we could keep the same address if we ever left the sheltered harbour of the Cybercafé, and went into the troubled waters of ISPs ourselves.

There was still something about viruses I didn't like the sound of, and would rather keep them away from my files and programmes.

Next step, a home on the Web. In two or three weeks we had become Cyber Citizens, and all it costed was access charged by the hour, and a few coffees; with two sugars.

Now it seems the Internet has taken over our lives and I find myself looking for WiFi connections, even on the phone.


At 29/4/10 08:50, Anonymous Marton Radkai said...

.... and now the travel editors are picking up pics for $ 0,00 on the web somewhere, articles are cut and pasted and rearranged, fees for articles hovers at around $ 25 or less, and since flights are so cheap, everyone seems to know everything. But a lot of inner cities have become totally exchangeable, they all have the same shops, and these all look the same thanks to corporate identity.... In fact, not to sound depressing, but just about everything looks the same, including the our gateways to the world.... I sometimes really long for the "old days" when there were mysteries.


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