Monday 1 March 2010

On the Roam, Coding for iPhone

British Museum

2010 is my 10th year living in London. Its sprawling roads are packed with intriguing and diverse places to sit down and wire up. One of the mandates I had when I founded Stargazy Studios was that I'd enjoy my city more. You can't enjoy it if you're not in it, so getting out and about was a priority.

Since its inception, I've been taking the Stargazy machine daytripping. The aim is to discover new adhoc office locations every week. Each excursion is planned around finding inspirational surroundings that aren't normally used as a working environment. Untethered, MacBook in hand, any perch with a view can become my office chair for the day.

My inaugural code-roam was in an absolute favourite haunt of mine: the British Museum. This place is packed with powerful history. You are able to walk from the Elgin Marbles to the Rosetta stone in about fifty paces, passing Aphrodite on the way.

My top spot for working in the British Museum is with the Assyrian lions. Wide benches offer a workable plateau to code on, and the corridor-style layout means that people feel compelled to pass through, so it's never too busy. Those benches are pretty hard though, so give your rump a break by getting a coffee at the Camera Cafe. Their java is good, and it's just around the corner from the British Museum. You can reconnect with the world using their WiFi before heading back in to the ancient realms of the museum.

If you want to try something similar, or just find yourself in London and want to track down some free WiFi access, check this map I've put together. Most chains have WiFi, but this map has more unusual spots on it that have been recommended by Timeout and others. If you want totally free access, avoid eateries; they tend to want you to eat or drink something if you're sitting in their establishment!

As well as StreetNet in Islington, the Square Mile and Westminster are covered by The Cloud and BT Openzone respectively. This means that you should be able to pick up a WiFi signal anywhere in those areas. Remember, an Englishman and his umbrella are rarely separated, especially if he's braving the British Summer to code in the park.

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