03 April 2009

Personal Technology: Air Card for Internet Access

Air cards are getting smaller and not so card-like anymore. Last month, I picked up a USB air card. Slight contradiction in terms there. This non-card slips into a USB port to provide Internet access for a computer. The technology adds a dedicated cell phone to your computer for use on the 3G network, assuring faster-than-dial-up web access.

With Internet everywhere, why would anyone pay for another route to the web? Here are my reasons:

1 - About half the time that I log into networks at Starbucks and Panera, either the connection fails or is not available at all.

2 - WiFi sounds attractive at airports but the hourly/daily charges ($6 - $12 seems to be my range) add up.

3 - Subscriptions to WiFi services become too hidden on the monthly credit card bill so that I'm not irritated enough at the number of places I cannot find the service. (FYI, I ended my $30/month service and that pays for 2/3 of my new air card charge.)

4 - Hotel charges for WiFi are the most irritating of all ($10 - $15 is the typical range I find). I applaud the hotels and motels that provide free Internet access. Of course, when the connections are weak or don't work, my applause quiets.

5 - iPhone web access is fine for a lot of things, but not everything.

6 - The great outdoors beckons, even though my friends and colleagues doubt that. But I have computed at dog parks. So, there.

7 -
The USB unit can plug into any of my 3 laptops (includes a Mac). It may be the first thing I've plugged into the Vista machine that hasn't given me fits.

8 -
My AARP discount from AT&T brings down the monthly charge to 40-something dollars.

9 - I have two client locations where using their networks is problematic. I can now create my own connection without fuss.

10 - I can download 6,000 songs per month without reaching the account limit.

© 2009 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

No comments: