Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Be in the know on the fly!

From the moment we stepped into the front door, we would smell the freshly baked pastries, aromatic teas, and brewing coffee. There was a slight buzz in the background of people having conversations, ambient music, and the unobtrusive typing on notebooks. It was easy to see that the people in the pastry shop today were having a pleasant time having good conversation or working quietly on their laptops.

I am fortunate enough to be in a city where free wifi is readily available. It is becoming more and more common for businesses like these to carry free wireless connections. In fact, even the city is moving toward making the whole city a free wireless zone to spur on business and the economy.

With these types of services you can: Drive to any part of town and map out the address where your appointment is going to be. Send a quick email to friends if you found a great place to hang out on a Friday night. Check movie listing times for that - spontaneous need to see a movie. Or just simply do some writing, research, study, or get ahead at work from any park bench or quaintly decorated coffee shop while enjoying the great weather.

You can be in the know on the fly just by a owning laptop / notebook (or some other device) with wireless capability. Luckily laptops have been around for several years. So this means that there are good bargains out there! (here are a few sources if you need help finding a cheap laptop*) Assuming you are not a high profile executive you can probably do very well with a reasonably priced used or refurbished laptop. (If you are an executive you probably already have a high end laptop issued to you by the Information Technology department) In either case, you only need one addition to your laptop for wireless capability... a wireless network device.

Wireless network devices can come in many different forms. This is a good thing because most notebooks built after 2000 or so come with either a PCMCIA bay or USB port. So even if the note book is NOT wireless ready by itself; it can be wireless ready with the additional of a wireless network card or device! This means that for $70.00 (sometimes as little as $25.00) you can have a wireless laptop even if it was not built with a wireless card by the manufacturer.

The install of these devices is usually pretty easy if your notebook is running Windows XP or later most popular network manufacturers (such as linksys, dlink, sony etc.) are already compatible with your laptop. If you have any other Operating System (OS) you may need to follow the instructions for the install, but even then they usually make things pretty easy too. Once you have it installed... usually your new device will automatically find any wireless network available and as you if you want to connect**. It is as simple as that.

Until next time.


* Picking a Cheap Laptop
** WARNING: Be CAREFUL which networks you sign onto!

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