My traveling Internet office has all the comforts of home, plus a few things home lacks

By John Toth
Bulletin Publisher

I was sitting in my hotel room in Budapest, Hungary a few weeks ago, putting the final touches on a previous issue of The Bulletin.

I sent a proof back to Angleton for editing, which later was returned to me 6,000 miles away. I made the changes and looked over the pages one last time.

Then I set the layout into a format the printer’s computers can understand and pushed the send button. A few minutes later, the entire paper landed in the printer’s server half a world away, ready to be put on the press.

I understand how the Internet works, but am still amazed by it. It is almost magical that the whole world is now connected by computer.

I put out the next issue from my hotel room at a resort in Hungary, where I hung out for three days, just relaxing – that is, when I wasn’t working.

One big complaint in the old days of publishing I heard from friends in the business was that you were physically tied to the paper. Not anymore. With a little planning, I can get the work done anywhere provided I have access to the Internet.

It helps to be a geek to plan out how to combine business with pleasure. There are a good amount of details to handle. Europe is on 220 volts rather than 110. A bad decision about step-down transformers or surge protectors can cause a lot of problems.

Once everything was in place, it was like being in my office, except that beautiful Lake Balaton was waiting for me as soon as I pushed that send button.

I wanted to swim in the lake because I have not done it for 46 years. I couldn’t help wondering why people just slowly walked into the water rather than running or plunging in.

What a bunch of sissies. The hotel clerk told me the water was warm. The country has been baking in the upper 80s and 90s for a week. I expected some warm, comfortable water.

It was freezing cold. How can anyone get used to this? I held my breath and went under, pretending that there was nothing wrong. I didn’t want to look like all the other sissies.

But I am digressing. We’re talking about the wonders of the Internet, not how cold some lake is. Come on, John, keep on topic.

It was cold, though.

Anyway, the Internet is making all this lake stuff possible, so I really didn’t digress very much.

I was talking to one of my nieces in Budapest who edits children’s books. She also designs them and does a lot of the graphics. The company she works for has a contract to translate some of the Disney books into Hungarian.

Guess where they print it? China.

They push a button when it’s all done, and the book layout is sent all the way to China, where it’s printed and shipped back to Hungary for distribution.

It is amazing, isn’t it?

The whole world is now just one big maze of computer wires, transmission towers and satellite signals.
Wait, my Internet went out. What now? I am now completely isolated. Good thing I carry a data card everywhere I go. Yes, I’m back up. That was scary.