Ancient, slow PCs at ‘net cafes means it takes twice as long to do anything as it would on a laptop. Browser versions are too old for some features of Google Docs and Calendar to work. Opening more than 3 tabs invites a browser freeze. Keyboards have keys that don’t work every time, mice are hypersensitive or the optical tracking skips. The worst problem is a screen resolution that only shows the middle of a page, making the side toolbars inaccessible. It seems to save time to write the first draft of emails and blog posts on the cell phone and mail them to myself.
Net cafes also mean getting malware on the USB that contains my password manager. And all the trip notes, guidebooks, photo backups, etc. Everything is backed up online so repopulating the USB is not a problem, at least til next time, and after I clean the viruses. Trend Micro Housecall is a free download that will check for and fix malware. I’d be screwed it that wasn’t available. When I traveled with the Linux netbook it was easy to clean viruses and other assorted evils from a USB because files and directories that are invisible to Windows/DOS are easily accessible from Linux, if one knows how to use chmod.
Given WiFi almost everywhere and how many travelers seen with smartphones, tablets, netbooks or laptops, it makes sense that the ‘net cafes are few in number, cost too much and have crap equipment. Once more I’m behind the curve of travel tech evolution.
But I’d hate to carry the extra weight. Maybe it is time to retire the airline legal carry-on sized Jan Sport backpack that has served so well. It doesn’t have a waist belt and I know one would make a big difference in load carrying ease. Should be possible to find such a pack in Singapore. But is it possible to find a well made one? Everything I’ve seen in Thailand and Malaysia was poorly constructed. Made me wonder if the pack would last more than a trip or two.