Some of us have gotten used to being plugged in all of the time. Whether for work or pleasure,through blogs, IM’s, RSS, mobile web and texting, Twitter, whatever it is, it’s always there, always on. Going off the grid is either a great relief or a trauma.

This trip to Spain has been both revealing, testing and an excellent indicator of how far we have come and how far there still is to go. The current production I am working with has its foot in both worlds. We have all become quite dependant on a wireless internet connection at the venue. Without this “free” connection, communication with the rest of the world becomes rather expensive with international roaming fees that are astronomical and ISP’s like Swisscom who seem to have learned their pricing structure from the oil industry.

This particular show has brought certain gear from the United States and the promoter is providing certain things such as sound, lights, staging, catering and other production elements. Unlike other tours we are not carrying our own wireless internet system. The Spanish promotor has a seemingly endless supply of password protected units that almost never reach the stage. You see the internet addicts huddled around the production office like winos around a trashcan fire, Skyping, downloading Lost and trading stocks. As my job is up on the deck, I have not had much time on my laptop with the exception of a paid connection at a hotel where I had to give Swisscom a testicle and three fingers for a 4 hour connection.

So I have turned to my Blackberry as I did last fall for email and web connections. TMobile in the fall were kind enough to switch my Blackberry plan from domestic to international while I was in the air there and back for no extra charge other than bandwidth roaming. This time international was added as another $20 charge. They never miss a trick.

As I’ve been using Twitter to communicate I’ve been using a few different ways to connect to the service. I was beginning to think that Twitter was in cahoots with the phone companies to ring up large bills…I certainly found that out when I was using the text message option and found myself 180 messages over the limit for the month in a hurry. Text is way too expensive so at first I was using the web browser to hit their website. Each refresh adds to your bandwidth charge, each thumbnail photo, etc. I was also using the spartan Twitterberry which worked very well in the states but here in Spain often only posted parts of the post. If I was using Ramble IM for chats, I could post from there but had no clue how many characters I was using. Then I got word of M.Twitter (from your mobile device, http://m.twitter.com), the stripped down WAP-style interface for mobile.

Bingo.

Character counts, no graphics, fast and apparently very stable. It was a real smart move. For followers it’s a way to keep up with me when I’m not getting the chance to blog (which has been a lot lately!)

I’ve been toying the idea of the 140 character count as a haiku type poetry limit to make the online world a little more purdy.

I’ll catch up on Spain soon, being we’ve had the chance to see a few new cities on this trip. Tomorrow we fly to the Canary Islands for a show… we’ll see if we can communicate anything from there…

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