Geeky get-aways

Round the clock connection to the web and an ever-proliferating array of ‘devices' has created a new class of cyber-dependent users that simply just can't ‘turn off', let alone chill out. So where does the discerning uber-geek go on holiday for a little rest, recuperation and system back-up? Windows Middle East looks at the best ways to get away while staying close to the nearest hard disk...

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By  Adrian Bridgwater Published  June 15, 2008

Round the clock connection to the web and an ever-proliferating array of 'devices' has created a new class of cyber-dependent users that simply just can't 'turn off', let alone chill out. So where does the discerning uber-geek go on holiday for a little rest, recuperation and system back-up?

Windows Middle East looks at the best ways to get away while staying close to the nearest hard disk...

A team of researchers at California's Stanford University has found that for one in eight Americans, excessive Internet use is a growing problem. It has the potential to affect relationships and can even cause deleterious effects on personal health and fitness too.

Outages in the Middle East earlier this year had an economic impact of course, but they may also have taught us to step back and consider how we feel about being separated from the various forms of technology that we so depend upon today.

Whether we've personally developed our individual technology dependency to the point of addition is another matter. But the fact remains, we are all used to the ‘benefits' it arguably brings us, so what is the borderline cyber-dependent uber-geek to do when he or she needs to take a break but still feel warmly wrapped in a cosy blanket of technology?

Only in the most extreme cases would we imagine that a reasonable suggestion might be a weekend city-break in the Irish capital Dublin, Ireland to visit the nearby Intel chip fabrication plant in Leixlip.

Don't laugh too soon though, an increasing number of visitors to Washington DC write up their top ‘must-see' list as the White House, the Smithsonian Institute and - wait for it - the National Cryptologic Museum which houses all manner of exhibits detailing the history of codes and encryption..

Located close to the American capital, the museum is perhaps best known for it German Enigma machines, which featured in the movie of the same name. It's free to enter and makes for an absorbing afternoon break before you tackle your next cheeseburger.

UAE tech museum talks

Talks were held in Abu Dhabi earlier this year by visiting prime minister for the German state of Bavaria Dr Guenther Beckstein during which he discussed setting up a museum for science and industrial technology in the UAE capital.

If you've never been to a science museum before, then the next time you travel and find that the city you are in has one - make sure you go. London has one, but it's pricey so try looking further afield if you can.

Australia sets the benchmark for these ‘science centres' and has one is every major city. Although focused initially on children and learning, there's always plenty for adults to ‘pretend' they already know about so that they can get to play with the hands-on exhibits too.

After all, what self-respecting geek doesn't want to get an update on molecular structure and atomic behaviour, while at the same time riding the ‘earthquake simulator' (yes, they really do have these!) and get a little shaken up?

For those that have never been, a trip to California's Silicon Valley might sound like a dream techy destination experience. For those of us in the Middle East who do make the trip, it is perhaps thought provoking to look at this area and think about what its growth patterns might be able to teach us for the still-nascent Arabian technology hubs such as Dubai Internet City.

Silicon Valley Reality

Just remember, Silicon Valley is not quite the techno-Nirvana that you may have read about, the streets are not paved with gold and there certainly isn't free Wi-Fi on every street corner.

San Francisco can be blisteringly cold right through until June, the clam ‘chowder' soup they are so famous for is bland and uninteresting and it's extremely expensive to buy a bottle of water, let alone a hotel room.

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