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Wednesday, 16 September 2009

In praise of the Aotearoa People's Network Kaharoa

A few weeks ago I went on holiday with my family, a trip which involved two days driving to our destination. Somewhere in the middle of the second day driving we stopped in a place called Huntly, which was small enough that I'd never heard of it before, to visit a pharmacy. And I noticed we were parked outside the library, and so I said to myself, "Self, I wonder if Huntly Library has access to the Aotearoa People's Network?" And I opened my laptop, and lo, it did.

So I used it to tell a bunch of friends that I had random access to the internet, and then we drove away again. Not very *useful* to me, in that particular instance - but still very high on the coolness scale.

More usefully, when we reached our destination it turned out to be just up the road from Paihia Library so every time we got the haven't-been-on-the-internet-for-hours jitters we could go and get a free fix.

The APNK (also on Twitter) is the kind of thing that's so cool it's hard to comprehend how cool it is. When I first heard about it my mind skittered off into wondering what the catch was. (There's no catch.) When I next heard about it in a conference presentation (which I liveblogged - scroll 3/4 of the way down to 11:33am), I was blown away. Every now and then since, on my standing Twitter search alert for {"library" in New Zealand}, I see quotes like "I'm in library using free Internet." or "In Taumarunui today using free network connection in the library, this is a great service for the area ..." So being able to use it myself was just fantastic.