I’m on a Gray Line bus out of San Francisco, en route to Yosemite National Park. There is FREE wifi on the bus – amazing! San Francisco really would be the place to live if you were tech minded.
The bus driver just commented that the reason this bus has WiFi is that it does double-duty as the shuttle bus for Google employees! He showed me the WiFi setup — it was installed by a particular Google engineer and has four mobile broadband cards — Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and some other network attached to a WiFi router with auto-failover in case of no coverage on one of the networks. All I can say is thank you Mr or Ms Anonymous Google employee!!!
I’ve also decided not to use global roaming for data on my Blackberry while I’m here because it’s easy enough to find WiFi hotspots here with reasonable pricing like $US15 per day — or free in some hotel lobbies. Of course, my Blackberry is practically useless with WiFi — I’d forgotten how atrocious the Blackberry WiFi implementation was. Most of the time it can’t associate with a hotspot or it can associate but can’t get an IP address (while other devices like a MacBook or iPhone have no problem associating).
I am therefore very glad that I also have an iPhone 3GS with me (on review loan from Optus, and before anyone asks: no, they didn’t offer to provide global roaming access as part of the review!) In fact, I’m writing this post from the great WordPress app for iPhone.
I have also noticed that hotels in the US increasingly don’t have wired Ethernet broadband in their rooms any more, instead having WiFi only. “So what?” you might ask. “Isn’t that more convenient?” The answer is no; it means you have to pay for each device you want to connect separately. Although hotels with wired Ethernet have the same rules, you can get around the per-device charging restriction by using a WiFi router plugged in to the Ethernet port. Can’t do that with WiFi only hotels.