Between work PCs, always-on home broadband and 3G mobile devices, most of us spend many hours a day connected to the internet. But what's the minimum amount of time you can spend with a working connection and actually get your job done?
Most hotels that offer internet access (and charge for it) where I've stayed typically offer a choice of per-minute, per hour and per 24-hour rates. In that situation, I've always opted for the 24-hour bundle, and then not needed to track my usage. However, at a recent hotel I used in Italy, the largest bundle available was five hours. You could log in and out as needed, so it provided an unusually precise measure of how much working connection I actually needed to get through the Lifehacker day. (I didn't have roaming enabled, so I couldn't fail over to using a smartphone instead.)
The answer in my case turned out to be around four-and-a-half hours. That's quite a lot, given that I was supposed to be on a holiday of sorts and was leaving aside lots of inessential tasks and trying not to spend time on productivity-draining activities. On the other hand, it does suggest to me that in hotels where the daily rate is a lot higher, I could potentially get away with smaller working bursts of connectivity, rather than simply opting for the "it'll be there if I need it" approach.
How many hours a day of internet connection do you find are required for a productive working and social life? Tell us your experience in the comments.