So, Shawn has finally returned to trying to get some research (my own)-related writing happening (it’s only taken me two years to get back to it). And as those that know me realise, I am very place-conscious when it comes to finding the magic Third Place that I need to work effectively. The parameters are defined:
- I can only seem to get effective writing and thinking done in the morning. Starting at 6am doesn’t pose a problem, in fact the mind is nice and sharp and creative at this point. Nothing makes me feel better than being able to put finger to key (or when using the iPad to screen;-) and get into the flow. Realistically in changed circumstances 8-8:30am as a starting point is more realistic.
- I am not easily distracted by going on around me (within reason) and do actually seem to cocoon mentally when there is a bustle about.
- I do like to be able to get a good latte and sometimes an occassional breakfast item, but usually am bringing along my own porridge.
- I need a power outlet as the batteries on both MacBooks went to about two hours life after making the ‘upgrade’ to Snow Leopard.
- I also need wifi access as much that I seem to do requires internet access. My little 3G dongle often suffices, but I have discovered that it can be easily stymied and can prove problematic.
- Comfort is nice (i.e. a plush chair), but often a table keeps me honest (and let’s be honest – good posture is to be respected).
- It should be located within easy proximity of home, but also in the direction of the office.
So, the usual suspects are easily investigated.
Starbuck’s Mespil Road is a nice shop. Comfortable and location is great. There is free wifi when you keep a minimum amount on your Starbuck’s Card, but the BTOpenZone service at this location is dodgy to the point of unusable. The iPad does better than the laptop. Unfortunately the 3G modem cannot find signal and is a non-starter. The coffee is good, although vanilla lattes at Starbuck’s in Ireland are very different beasts and I tend towards a soy chai latte instead. The porridge (referred to as perfect) very pricey and comes in a very small quantity. The addition of fruit and honey to it is a nice touch, but not at nearly €2 extra. I am forced to look elsewhere.
The alternate Starbucks is a 10 minute walk to Shelbourne Road. There is no wifi here. It’s a non starter. It might have worked on the 3G front, but that is limited to one device and location takes it away from the office.
The Coffee Company on Mespil is also potential, but it too suffers from a 3 3G blackout and only has outside seating…fine on the fine days…not so good otherwise. They make a mean latte though and do have porridge available at a reasonable price and good quality.
The new Fixx Cafe over on Dawson Street is also a contender. It offers free robust wifi and is a very comfortable spot. The coffee is extremely good. The rather funky furniture works for me and there is a good buzz about the place. When the Costa here closed (I am still in the dark as to why) it was a real blow to the immediate scene. The Fixx has gone a fair distance to filling the gap. The only real downside is that there are no apparent power outlets and I seem to know far too many people that walk in for a cuppa. Maybe a backup.
Today’s excursion was to the Cafe Java on Leeson Street. Currently the front runner. Offers free wifi, but cannot join the network. Luckily the place next door also offers free wifi and so we are up and running on the internet access front. There are even two tables serviced with power. The coffee is good, and even a few possibilities should one need some added food content. The only apparent downside is that it is a little quite. Business seems to pick up after 10:30 as locals drift in for a late breakfast. Clearly its not on the business route and doesn’t seem to be an arranged rendezvous for business meetings. Current front runner.
Will keep you posted.