Crappy Wireless Internet? Bring Your Own

Chilling with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1"), a great tablet with mobile wifi to boot.

Chilling with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1"), a great tablet with mobile wifi to boot.

Starbucks. Amtrak. Barnes & Noble.  All of these place offer the promise of free WiFi so that customers can freely browse questionable internet sites at their leisure. However, what always happens? The signal is crappy! Too many people are on it! It's too slooowwwww.

One way to get around this is to carry around your own WiFi signal. Most cell phone and tablet devices such as the Apple iPad or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1") pictured above contain an option that allows the device to broadcast its own WiFi signal. Confusingly, this can be called different things - Apple calls it Personal Hotspot, Verizon calls it Mobile Hotspot, and Windows Phone calls it Internet Sharing. 

This may be an additional charge to enable mobile WiFi - AT&T charges me an extra $20/mo for my iPhone to share a WiFi signal. The price is worth it when I'm stuck somewhere with a crappy WiFi signal and I need to get work done. However, it WILL eat up your battery and drive up your data usage and potentially cost even more, especially if you're connecting using your laptop and visiting data heavy sites such as YouTube and Netflix. I've definitely been hit up with a bill that was significantly higher than I was used to because I didn't watch my data consumption.

BrothaTech also has a great piece on mobile hotspots last year - check that out by clicking here.

Old School Tech: The Train is Overrated

Since I'm a Jersey boy, I love public transportation. It's one of the best technological advancements that has practical applications for a number of people. Even if you didn't grow up using public transportation, you know what it looks like from movies, television, and other media.

I grew up taking the bus to the mall, the movies and into NYC. As i've gotten older, that love has lessened as my work commute on the Philadelphia trains (SEPTA regional rail) is ground to a halt what seems like every other day due to an obstruction or mechanical problem of some kind. I just don't remember having this many problems as a kid in the 80s!

Frustration with tech can often lead to a low tech solution. Apparently, I like the foresight of a few gentlemen in the NYC area who got fed up and decided to kayak across the Hudson river from NJ to NYC for their daily commute.

Sometimes they leave their kayaks with a friend on the West Side, but other times, they just take them to work.
“We’ll carry them from the water all the way to our office and then we store them right next to our desk."

The funniest image in my head is of these gentlemen calming walking through the door of their business with a dripping wet Kayak. I guess I've seen crazier things in New York ...