My dad writes about his Wi-Fi experience today: My father, who designs Web sites among other volunteer and business endeavors, co-purchased an Apple iBook with an AirPort Wi-Fi card a few months ago with a friend. They swap off on it as needed; they both have desktop machines at home on which they spend most of their time. Obviously, my dad knows quite a lot about Wi-Fi from my harangues and monologues on the subject, but he's just starting to explore it himself in Eugene, Oregon, which is a hotbed of sophisticates, but not necessarily a place where technology is deployed on every surface, as in, say, my hometown of Seattle.
My dad sent me email today that I thought exemplified the whole experience of Wi-Fi, and I quote it with his permission:
Just came back from meeting with a new client at the Wild Duck [a restaurant in Eugene], where they have the free Wi-Fi setup. What a pleasure. Much more pleasant than my messy office. We both had soft drinks, and the barkeep wouldn't even charge us for them. I made sure to let them know I appreciate their having the service, and told them they are smart to offer it for free. It's my new office.
How many times a day is this experience reproduced? The free part is critical to my father: if he had to pay a small additional fee for unlimited use that gave him access to a whole network, that might not be as useful to him, and he'd gravitate to places that were free, because he doesn't spend much time on the road at all.
Oddly, even though I spend as much as a week every 4 to 8 weeks on the road, I still don't have a monthly unlimited subscription. None of the networks offers me enough coverage for the places I go, nor do the ones with good coverage and unlimited plans have Mac clients. I expect this will change soon.