Dave Winer runs into the classic conference “cold spot” problem–no or spotty WiFi–just when you really want connectivity. The situation is quite common. You’re at a conference. You want to blog. You can’t get a reliable connection.
I finally gave up on the WiFi gamble and got EVDO. I’m so glad I did.
I’m not sure if Dave has taken the EVDO plunge, but if not, I’d highly recommend it. EVDO has substantially changed the way I think about staying connected while travelling. Put simply: EVDO puts me back in control of my connectivity. Yeah, it costs, but Dave, it’s worth it.
True, broadband wireless is not everywhere. However, it is available in many of the larger US cities, which are more often than not the hosts of tech-oriented conferences. OK, in Dave’s most recent case, ConvergeSouth in Greensboro, NC doesn’t have wireless broadband support (via Verizon). But there is connectivity in the area. It’s better than nothing or at least better than wasting time endlessly checking for hotspot connectivity.
Caveat time. EVDO will only work where you can get comparable cell phone reception. So sometimes when you’re indoors or in a dark spot, you can’t get connected. However, more often than not, you won’t have to schedule a trip to Starbucks to get your words out. And at least from my personal experience, I’ve found more connectivity via EVDO than hotspots. That may be me though. I don’t like paying for WiFi access–it’s too unpredictable. Paying for EVDO isn’t as much a hurdle for me–in large part because wireless carriers are very much about providing 24-7 service.
Of course, using EVDO doesn’t preclude using WiFi. You can pick whichever is faster or more convenient. And I think you’ll find that with EVDO you’ll want to use your computer in places you hadn’t been able to up to this point. Stuck in a shuttle bus or taxi going to the airport yet bursting with things you’d like to blog? Boot up your computer and connect via EVDO. WiFi won’t give you this connectivity in motion.
Now that I think about it, part of the allure of EVDO may be a Tablet thing. With a Tablet PC I find myself wanting to be more connected in more places. With a typical notebook, you think of sitting down and using your computer at certain predictable spots. You sit down. You check to see it that point is hot. Tablet usage is more fluid. You want connectivity wherever you are. Standing up. Sitting down. While in motion. Could be.