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Is the Internet Really Everywhere?

Just recently I experienced an event that made me sit back and take note. I was traveling via commercial airlines and happen to leave my iPad on the plane when I deplaned. It took me a couple of hours to discover my mishap and, of course, the plane had long go hit the friendly skies towards its next destination. I played ring around the airport for another hour following the suggestions and directions of the airline representatives, fellow travelers, and airport employees. As you can imagine there were conflicting instructions and redirection to the point I felt I was in a magic show. One desk attendant would tell me to go to another desk and that desk would tell me to see yet another office and eventually I would end up back where I started. Pretty frustrating, but I tried to take it in stride since I created this problem in the first place.

At nearly everyone one of my “stops” I was told to log onto the airline company website and fill out the lost property report and several advisors were emphatic that I “do that immediately”. Once I was able to take a breath from running to and fro I wondered how I was going to be able to do that when my internet connectivity device was the thing I lost in the first place! I don’t have a smart phone for a variety of reasons and found myself stuck. A fellow passenger graciously allowed me to use their smart phone to complete the form but I had limited success because the form fields were too small to clearly see and I had stupidly packed my electron microscope in my checked luggage bag! How silly of me.

When speaking with several representatives of the airline, from gate personnel to flight attendants to baggage claim workers, they all commented about the large amount of computer/electronic equipment that is left behind each day that goes into their lost property system. While I was encouraged that my iPad may have a chance at being found, I wondered if those other traveling souls who lost a laptop or iPad considered how they were supposed to “immediately” file an on-line report without their “magic box.”

With now a couple of days to reflect, I wonder how much we just assume the far reach of internet connectivity for everyone when we are creating things like lost property reporting procedures. I live in a rural area in the Rocky Mountains and we have areas in my state that carrier pigeons fly faster than available internet speeds. We don’t have unlimited internet access everywhere and even cellular service is limited in many areas.

I understand that we have to take into consideration who are end users are and their average capabilities, but we should not always assume other people have unlimited internet connections. Believe me, if it was available where I live I would have it but simply put it is not.

Just recently state employees were advised that “everything” was going on line regarding pay-stub receipts, insurance reimbursement, payroll deduction items, etc. I think this will bring up a whole new world of discussions with employees regarding their connectivity capabilities and what time is allowed at work, if any, to access this information if their connectivity is non-existent at home. Will we start requiring a potential employee to have internet connectivity as a condition of employment? Amazing are the things you ponder sitting around wondering if your IPad that is headed to LaGuardia is having more fun without you.

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