The people from Virgin came and went (in just over half an hour, as it happens, and they turned up early) and so Hari and I now finally have internet, a phone line and more than 5 TV channels. The phone and internet seem to be okay, but some of the channels (namely BBC1, 2, News 24 and ITV) are a bit flaky so I’ll be ringing Virgin up about them on Monday – the sound and picture breaks every few seconds, a bit like Freeview does when you don’t have a very strong signal.
Hari is now spending a couple of weeks at her parents’ house down south, and I popped over last night to see them. Since Virgin Trains haven’t followed GNER’s lead and put Wifi on their trains, I decided to experiment with using Google Reader offline, using Google Gears. It works quite well, although you can only view the contents of feeds and not anything peripheral to them, so you don’t get to see any of the embedded images or videos. It’s also only possible to read those feeds which provide full text (like this one) – you can’t click through to read the rest of the article if the author has chosen to merely provide excerpts. Nor can you add new feeds or unsubscribe from existing ones.
While I can see offline storage being useful in a few cases like this, with mobile internet becoming ever more pervasive it’s likely to be largely unnecessary in a few years time. I could, for example, have used the internet via my phone using Bluetooth (though I’ve no idea of the settings I need so I’ve never tried), and other train operators like GNER already offer Wifi on their trains.