History feels both intriguing and heavy here. Intriguing for a guy from a place (Minnesota) where the recorded history goes back to the early-1800’s…and heavy since it sometimes feels like the burden of homage to what’s past outweighs the imperatives of today and tomorrow.
While the world is doing less homage to tradition and more forging for the future, I’m somewhat stymied by observing mobile behaviors in London. In other cities I’ve been in worldwide, voice and data use were common and people were really using their mobile devices. Here…it’s all voice. I’ve observed absolutely zero pecking away at a phone keyboard for SMS or any larger smartphone devices performing much interaction. It seems odd to me.
The internet cafes are lightly used. I had lots of issues with the broadband in the hotel — turns out the router was bad in the hotel — but the unusual aspect was that the technical support folks were pretty clueless about it vs. what I experience when contacting tech support in the States. Tech support can usually ping the router and pretty quickly determine if it’s my machine connection in the room or elsewhere.
The cafes are heavily used for typical human interaction. Though online use feels sparse, people seem to have a life here vs. rushing around glued to their devices. The photo above was a fun street near our hotel and all the street cafes were full. No one talked on their cell phone while talking with others. Even during the day there was little phone use for either voice or data.
The only other observation was how filthy this city is and how bad the pollution has become. Though in the days of coal burning in fireplaces and the thick, pea soup fog of Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes it was certainly worse. Speaking of Jack the Ripper, my wife, kids and I went on an East End London walking tour tonight. It was enlightening and was very interesting to see the East End being regentrified to the point that 55k pound houses just 10 years ago are going for 500k-1M pounds or more as the area explodes.
About Steve Borsch
SiteGround is 'The One'
Connecting the Dots Podcast
Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.