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Old 03-02-2009, 02:48 AM   #1
ris768
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Default A question for the IT geeks out there

OK I am leaving this a bit late as I fly out on Saturday but hoping someone with some knowledge of American networks can help me.

I am wondering what the coverage is like across the USA with regards to mobile (cell) phones and portable modems.

I am thinking of buying a small laptop in the states that I can use to keep in touch with my family back in oz as I will be travelling alot on my own but wondering whether it will be feasible to buy such a laptop and connect to a mobile ISP or whether I should just try my luck in finding internet cafes along the way.

Also does anyone know of a good ISP as I will need it in New York, the mid-west, LA and Sacramento.

Hope this makes sense.
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Old 03-03-2009, 08:37 AM   #2
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HOLY CRAP!!!! SATURDAY!!!! ring me before then!!!! We have stuff to organise ARRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!

As I am not an IT geek, I can't help you with your other problem.
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:15 AM   #3
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Coverage is good with the big carriers (Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile), but depending on the plan, you may end up paying big data charges if you have a modem. If you have an international plan, check with your carrier on charges.

I think you'd probably do better finding wi-fi hotspots. Try wififreespot.com. Quite a few restaurant chains have free wi-fi. And if you get a Starbucks card and make a purchase on it at the restaurant, you can get two hours of free wi-fi there. You have to register your card online and jump through a few hoops, but it may be worth it. (I'm talking about the gift card, not the charge card. Here a lot of people buy the cards for themselves and keep a balance on them.)

You probably don't need an ISP as long as you can use hotspots and access your e-mail via the web.
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:47 AM   #4
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I agree. Also PANERA BREAD has free wifi spots if you don't want to pay anything. Once logged in, use Internet Explorer to surf around or any of your other browsers. I carry my laptop to Europe all the time and never had a problem and didn't have to sign up with anything. Most hotels have free wifi. Why you have to buy a new laptop is beyond me but I'm sure you know what you're doing.
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:16 PM   #5
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I have nothing to add to the connection discussion, as everything has been said, but have you considered buying a netbook? I have an Aspire One, and it's about the size of a hardback book. It's not really suited for constant use as a main laptop, as the keys are 3/4 size, but for travelling, it's perfect, and it's about half the price of a full-sized laptop.

My netbook runs on Linux, but you can get Windows based OS'.
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:43 AM   #6
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Why you have to buy a new laptop is beyond me but I'm sure you know what you're doing.
My laptop has a full size keyboard including number pad and 19" screen and weighs alot when you are travelling on 2 international flights and then 7 more domestic flights.

Thanks heaps everyone for your input. I think I will put my trust in time, God or whatever and risk I find enough free wifi hotspots. Maccas (or McDonald's to the non-aussies) have free wifi in some restaurants here, I haven't tried it but I wasn't sure if the US had the same services available.

Emma do you know roughly much an Aspire will cost?
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Old 03-04-2009, 12:21 PM   #7
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I paid a little under 200 for mine.
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Old 03-04-2009, 07:40 PM   #8
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Every Starbucks in America has Wi-Fi.

Almost every hotel in America has Wi-Fi included or < $10/night.

There's also:
http://www.wififreespot.com/
http://www.openwifispots.com/

Buying a laptop and cell phone with tethering ability (against most cellular terms of service) or a laptop and PDA card ($300-500 up front with 2 year contract and $60/month for DSL speeds) sounds extreme to me.
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Old 03-05-2009, 06:13 PM   #9
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I decided to buy a netbook and she is sooo cute, using her to post this message.

I feel much better knowing I can access the outside world while on my travels.

Thanks for your help everyone,
Marissa.
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Old 03-05-2009, 06:53 PM   #10
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Cool! You'll be showing it off to us at the con, right? ;-)
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Old 03-06-2009, 08:45 AM   #11
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Probably - I took her to school today for show and tell, my students were impressed.
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Old 03-06-2009, 04:34 PM   #12
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Aren't netbooks fabulous? I love mine, she's a lovely midnight blue colour, and ever so teeny tiny!

Safe travels tomorrow. Or, I guess that's today for you now!
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Old 03-06-2009, 07:06 PM   #13
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Aren't netbooks fabulous? I love mine, she's a lovely midnight blue colour, and ever so teeny tiny!

Safe travels tomorrow. Or, I guess that's today for you now!
Thanks Emma, I'm flying out in 5 hours. Can't wait to meet you all in 20 days time. Woohoo.
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Old 03-08-2009, 12:30 AM   #14
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So here I am in my New York hotel, using my new netbook and the hotel's free internet connection.

Yay! I wanted to be able to keep up to date with the convention and with all the good advice people gave me it is happening.

I haven't found any free hot spots, the airports wanted to charge me when I tried on my travel but as long as I can use it in my hotel room I'm happy.
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Old 03-08-2009, 08:44 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ris768 View Post
So here I am in my New York hotel, using my new netbook and the hotel's free internet connection.

Yay! I wanted to be able to keep up to date with the convention and with all the good advice people gave me it is happening.

I haven't found any free hot spots, the airports wanted to charge me when I tried on my travel but as long as I can use it in my hotel room I'm happy.
Fantastic Marissa, looking forward to hearing your updates, and thanks for your text message saying you had arrived safely. Take care my dear friend
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Old 03-15-2009, 09:16 PM   #16
ris768
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I am most impressed with the amount of free internet access there is here, every hotel I have stayed in offers free wireless internet and today while driving along I-35 I stopped at Rest Area #31 and there was free internet access there as well as vending machines and flushing toilets.

I have driven over 1000 miles in the midwest and have only found 3 rest areas. In Australia we have alot more rest areas but have a long way to go to meet the American standards. I am finding it hard to stop, revive, survive here, I have just been pulling over on the side of the highway and having 20 minute power naps but not quite sure if it is legal to do. Oh well I would rather break the law and arrive safely then to be victim to a microsleep.
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Old 03-15-2009, 10:11 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ris768 View Post
I am most impressed with the amount of free internet access there is here, every hotel I have stayed in offers free wireless internet and today while driving along I-35 I stopped at Rest Area #31 and there was free internet access there as well as vending machines and flushing toilets.

I have driven over 1000 miles in the midwest and have only found 3 rest areas. In Australia we have alot more rest areas but have a long way to go to meet the American standards. I am finding it hard to stop, revive, survive here, I have just been pulling over on the side of the highway and having 20 minute power naps but not quite sure if it is legal to do. Oh well I would rather break the law and arrive safely then to be victim to a microsleep.
Not sure about the legality of it, but truckers do it all the time. If you don't find a rest area, see if you can find a truck stop. They have huge parking lots, and you can find sleep there.
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Old 03-16-2009, 08:40 AM   #18
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Take care marissa, i am looking forward to seeing you alive and well at LA airport when i arrive.

See you soon honey
Bec
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