Dec2009

A couple of weeks ago

A couple of weeks ago, I took a little trip with a few friends to that wonderful Yorkshire town of Haworth for a spot of rest and relaxation.

I’ve always been fond of the place, and was looking forward to showing my pals, who had never been there before, some of the more interesting sights.

Sadly, however, it seemed that as soon as our motor vehicle entered West Yorkshire it began to rain. And it wasn’t just light rain either - it was the sort of miserable weather that turns a fine day into a dark night.

Fortunately, the public house that we had booked rooms in for the night was a very cheery place indeed. Built several hundred years ago, it had a roaring open fire that could toast the cold bones of any weary wet travellers that passed through its portals.

Sadly, however, the inclement weather meant that we were unable to walk the old cobbled streets of the town and look inside the quaint little shops. Instead, we were trapped inside the public house and faced with no option but to purchase some cask ales and down them in front of the warm fire.

While we were there, one of my friends - a rather keen football fan - noticed that the publican had erected a notice at the bar indicating that the entire institution was wirelessly enabled. Its patrons only had to ask for the access key to use any wirelessly-enabled mobile device that took their fancy.

After doing just that, my friend powered up his Apple iPhone after which he spent more than just a few minutes checking out the latest soccer results, as the rest of us chatted away over pints of Old What Ever It Was.

The rain did not stop falling that day, nor into that night, and we remained in the public house drinking many more fine beverages and polishing off a banquet of exceptional Yorkshire food before retiring to our rooms to sleep.

All appeared to be well until seven o’clock the next morning, when I was rudely awoken by my football-mad friend who informed me that water was dripping into his bedroom through the roof of the inn.

When he was notified, the landlord apologised profusely for the inconvenience, and, in true Yorkshire fashion, would accept no payment for the room that my friend had stayed in the previous night.

But, as we drove back South later that day, I couldn’t help thinking that if the landlord had invested as much time and effort in renewing his old infrastructure as he had done investing in his new wireless communications system, his life, and ours would have been a lot more comfortable.

Hopefully through, he has learned a valuable lesson from the whole experience. And that lesson is this: while it’s all very well embracing new technologies to enhance your business, if you overlook older technologies that might actually be holding the business together, you could be making a big mistake.
This comment was originally published in the Electronicstalk Newsletter

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About the Author

Electronicstalk and this Editor's Blog are edited by Laurence Marchini

Laurence Marchini

Laurence Marchini began his career in the electronics press with the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1980, cutting his teeth on a variety of learned and member publications, ranging from IEE Proceedings to Electronics and Power. He moved on to join the launch team of the innovative weekly Electronics Express in 1986, and became Editor just 18 months later. Sadly, Electronics Express lasted just four and a half years, wound up by the infamous Robert Maxwell. However, Laurence had already jumped ship and joined the world of electronics PR with the agency of the 1990s, Smith and Jones Communications. It seemed Laurence was lost to the world of journalism. But after 11 years we managed to lure him back as launch editor of Electronicstalk. Laurence is married to Sally and has a young son, Alexander.

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