They say they have wifi. It's posted oin the door, next to the bistro menu. It's a lure for tourists and I'm wary of the place overall, but I'm an addict. I'm carrying around my laptop around Paris, searching for a decent lunch spot where I can park myself for a couple hours, eat something, do some computing, let my photos from yesterday upload to the cloud. It shouldn't be so much to ask: a place that's connected, where water flows freely, along with internet.
I’m reliant on wifi these days, especially for the cloud. We’ve been sold this promise of cloud computing, where all photos and notes automatically sync across all devices. It’s a terrific idea: to shoot everything on my iPhone and then edit through the pictures on the Photos app on my MacBook Pro. There’s a huge problem though - it all requires a strong internet signal. Internet is one thing. Maybe 2 MBPS is good enough for checking email, sending texts. Maybe you can even load map directions. But is it good enough, really?
What counts as good internet? Most public internet connections hover between 1 and 10 MBPS (download speeds measured in megabytes per second). I've learned this is not adequate for what I need. Something like 25 MBPS is more necessary. This is a typical speed at home, at minimum. But over cellular data? It's often hard to get.
Western Europe is particularly unreliable for good internet. I attribute this to two things:
1) France and Germany installed copper wire to facilitate network connections back in the 90s. They had the resources to adopt to the tech early, but things have improved so drastically since then. What was once great infrastructure is now very weak.
2) The culture here celebrates socialising face-to-face. It's uncommon for cafes to be full of laptops, and even phones are shunned in favor of personal conversations. Many if not most bars, restaurants and even cafes don't supply wifi passwords.
When places do have wifi, it's really bad. It's hard to sign on to. It cuts out. It kicks you off randomly. You can't do much on it. It's worthless, aside from simple messaging and googling.
It leaves me feeling quite desperate. Can't I just use tech like it's designed to be used? It really feels like it's not there yet. The future is buggy. Companies push their new services before they're properly ready. I want the life that Apple and Google promise me. It just feels like we're not there yet, and it's maddening.