Well, I knew it would be hard to share stories of my on-the-road diary of seven cities in Asia once I crossed over from Hong Kong, which has an open Internet environment, into China, which is infamous for The Great Firewall that blocks a lot of services I take for granted, like Google, Facebook and Twitter.
But I didn't know it would be this hard.
In preparation, I had downloaded a corporate VPN (virtual private network) to access common sites like Google, Facebook and Twitter, plus a backup VPN program that should help me reach these sites if the first one failed. I figured they'd be slow, but at least one would work. I also created a Microsoft Outlook email address to use with my co-workers and family instead of Gmail, which isn't supported here. I knew that Huawei, the company I'm meeting with here in Shenzhen, China, would loan me a phone with a third VPN on it, so I'd have choices, not to mention a virtual hotspot to power my computer's data connection.
Well, here I am sitting in my hotel room at 11 p.m. local time, pining for the good old days (yesterday) when I could look at Google, Twitter and Facebook all day long without giving them a second thought.
Because right now neither VPN works -- or even connects. The borrowed phone isn't doing diddly-squat to help me out with a data connection, and hotel Wi-Fi can barely provide enough juice to power up Bing search.
Meanwhile, iPhoto suddenly isn't working on my Mac and I apparently can't download a new version if I'm outside the US. So yeah, things are looking grim. (The fact that you're reading this at all is because some kind-hearted CNET editor scraped the contents of an Outlook email into this post for me -- thank you, awesome friend!)
I've also been awake for 20 hours straight and desperately need some sleep. So I'm throwing in the towel for the time being. Maybe when I wake up, I'll have figured out a way to gush about a cool phone tool I think could take off worldwide.
But until then, take a moment to reflect on the online tools you use to work and play, and crush them all in a big, virtual hug.
Seeking tech, will travel
reading•Living without Google, and Twitter (and Facebook) is really, really hard
May 24•Everyday tech from Asia that I want to use every day, too
May 24•We need this tech everywhere, right now (pictures)
May 17•LG can't follow Apple, says VP, 'We have to be different'
May 12•Apple, Samsung rival Xiaomi readies itself for US 'battle'