Because It Is There

There’s wi-fi on this train, so it feels as if I should write something. After all, I paid for it, or somebody did.

Most of the trains I take in Germany are local. No amenities other than washrooms. And in a year no-one has ever checked my ticket.

I’m on an ICE train this time though, and Inter City Express. It only stops at the important stations, has a dining car, and free wi-fi. Pretty much everyone is using it.

Free wireless internet is quite common these days, from fast food restaurants, to city buses in some places. We’re become addicted to our connectivity and happily log in. But what precautions do you take when you do so?

Right now anyone else in this rail car looking for my machine can, I think, discover that it is in Australia. And that should be about all they can discover. I’m using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and firewalls.

I must admit I have no idea how any of this stuff works. I could learn, but I’ve made a conscious decision over the years to acquire just enough knowledge to use the technology without knowing the theory behind it. People I trust, who do know the theory, have said this is what I need to do for security, both at home and in public.

If someone does manage to breach those protections and is able to see what’s on my computer, they will discover that my work-related material is all encrypted. They could guess the password of course, but when you use a 20-character password that combines letters, numbers and symbols the chance of a wild guess working out seems slim.

That I don’t know how my computer works really isn’t surprising. When you think about it, how many of us really how the workings of so much of what we take for granted? You know your car runs when you press the button (or turn the key), but how does the catalytic converter work? How does the gas that heats your home get there? Yes, a pipeline, but from where?

Life is filled with questions that we usually don’t bother to ask. We make choices, set priorities and let others worry about those details.

That is probably the way it should be. If we took the time to become expert in everything we would probably never master anything. That is how I see it. Do you agree?

Feel free to leave a comment – I’ll read them when I am off the train.

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One comment

  1. Also on a train using the free WiFi and feeling as though I should be making the most of it. We tend to use a lot of free WF as we are forever on the move and it saves on our data. Good way to pass the time on these long journeys isn’t it?

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