A blog by iFaqeer
about life, technology and getting by in Silicon Valley

Monday, January 30, 2006

Wire-less, PC-less, and other Tales of Woe..and Enlightenment  

We've been spending weekends in a (relatively) small town an hour inland from San Francisco. I usually hang out with the kids, go fishing and the like. One thing I wanted to do was buy a laptop that we could use on the weekend and I could catch up on blogging and other sundry things I've been wanting to do.

Which brings me to my trying to decide what computer to buy. Back on the 4th of July, I'd taken the plunge and bought my first Mac. I've used them before, but this was the first I bought. So now that i was time to buy a laptop, I have been agonizing about whether to buy a G4 PowerBook or wait for the new Intel machines. And that whole issue is a long story I want to discuss some time, but to cut a long story short, I realised that all I needed was a machine that could surf and which worked enough to let me do e-mail and blog. And maybe wiki.

So what did I do?

Instead of buying a V 1.0 machine from Apple--or a product that was at the end of its lifecycle--I bought a previously owned Apple PowerBook G3 that came complete with a wireless card--off Craigslist. For 200 bucks! Honest!!

Of course, the first weekend I took it out...the internet connection at the hotel wouldn't work! I spent most of Saturday trying to figure out if it was just the Mac OS 9 that wouldn't work with the broadband provider's configuration (of course Tech Support said "We don't support Mac's, sir.") or what...and by Sunday, the little business center in their lobby didn't have working Internet, either. Spent some time investigating what the other options in the neighbourhood were--and in each case, I could just drive up next to a hotel and use my wireless card for a blazing fast connection. I still don't know why I put up with it all weekend long! Maybe because we didn't want to move the the family; maybe because this was the newest, spiffiest, cleanest hotel in the neighbourhood? But tell me this; if the plumbing in your hotel didn't work, would it be okay to wait till monday to get it fixed?!

The bright side of all this was that I realized that if you have a laptop with a wireless card (and a 110V "inverter") in your car, you really have high-speed access on demand almost anywhere you happen to be motoring in the US--when you've gotten your sandwich at the nearest rest stop, just pull up closer to the Motel or Inn there and fire up that machine!