Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Monday 28/11/2005(Note: portions of this diary are from last week, for reasons which may become clear later. Quantum chromodynamicists are keen to point out that time is not necessarily linear, and that more advanced ways of thinking about causality and temporal effects may provide better explanations for continuum electrodynamics.

Monday 28/11/2005

(Note: portions of this diary are from last week, for reasons which may become clear later. Quantum chromodynamicists are keen to point out that time is not necessarily linear, and that more advanced ways of thinking about causality and temporal effects may provide better explanations for continuum electrodynamics. Also, the behaviour of IT journalists as Christmas approaches. Thank you for your attention).

Off to Sweden to see mobile data courtesy of Business Arena Stockholm, who have decided that it's a good thing to ship various UK journalists across to promote the local wireless industry. There's a lot of that about, given the Nordics' long-running love affair with radio — they invented the European analogue mobile phone system and there are hundreds of companies involved.

There's also a lot of snow about too, which might sound unexceptional but it clearly caught the Swedes by surprise — it's not just us Brits who collapse in amazement when white stuff drifts down from the sky. The flight is two hours late because of problems at Arlanda Airport — not enough de-icing equipment — and the traffic is crawling when we get there. We arrive at the hotel after midnight with only the memory of a €4 airline sandwich between us and starvation, but the kitchen and bar are closed..

My mood is not improved by the room, which takes that famous Swedish minimalism to new levels. "Dear Guest", the note on the table says, "This hotel has been redecorated and equipped to the highest standards, and we are justly proud of our reputation as a showcase for Stockholm design. PS. Your room has not yet been refurbished." There's no broadband — a socket on the wall is marked "DATA" but there's no cable — and the minibar contains two small bottles of mineral water and a chirpy note saying "The drinks are on us! Help yourself!".

I try and get a connection on Wi-Fi, but the solitary unencrypted public access hotspot can only be accessed by standing on tiptoe in the corner of the room with my laptop held over my head. It proclaims itself to be the Stockholm municipal network. It wants a password. I want carbohydrates. Neither of us are getting anywhere.

It is not a happy Rupert who pulls the covers over his head in preparation for the 7am wake-up call.

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