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Being truly mobile: a test

The test subject - Verizon USB727 modemSince I last posted regularly to this site, I’ve become what is essentially considered a web worker (most of my friends from college may find it surprising, but not by much). The idea of mobility and access have become central themes in my daily life. I normally plan where I go and what I do around access to a wireless signal and how comfortable it will be to work from that location. As a result I’ve become a regular fixture in several area coffee houses and occasionally even an area music venue or two.

Those that know me also know that I’m a late adopter on many things, despite my constant tracking of new trends in networking and communication on the human scale (I just loaded Skype onto my new laptop – the account’s been active for at least two years). So when I was offered the opportunity to test out a Verizon Wireless USB727 modem through a presenting sponsorship for The Terminal’s Anniversary Party in mid March, I was a little nervous. Partially because I wasn’t sure if I’d like being that connected or if I’d be disappointed in the level of access. The results were very interesting (and fun).

I’ve now been using the card off and on since finally getting it to install on the laptop. My first test of the modem stick came in the form of a road trip with Wade Kwon to Atlanta to take in a performance by Chris Rock at the fabulous Fox Theatre). About one hour into the trip I realized I hadn’t booked my airline tickets for my trip to Philly (more on that trip later this week). I had it with me as well as the laptop since I hadn’t had a chance to drop it off at home. We’re doing about 70 mph down Interstate 20 and I’m finding that I’m surfing as fast as I would if I were sitting at home plugged into a connection. Ended up also checking (and answering) some email as well as editing the site with only a minor hiccup – on a stretch that was mostly heavily wooded. I did find that I was going through the battery on my laptop very quickly while using it in the car. I’ve since limited most of my use of the modem mostly to times when I can plug in.

A trip to Philadelphia in late March to pick up my Certification in Professional Main Street Management (thank you) provided yet another opportunity to test it out; because I ended up staying at a friend’s house while there (and I didn’t feel like asking what the password was to her network) as well as the fact that the conference area did not have WiFi access readily available.

It was a little weird to be that connected to the virtual world when I normally would have been disconnected, especially at the airports where I would have normally sat and done nothing instead of paying the fee to surf for just one hour. It was very powerful as well, allowing me to surf at speeds I’m accustomed to at home.

I’m fairly certain that I could justify a monthly fee to have access on trains and in airports, especially if it begins to look like my life will become even more mobile in the coming months.

I have found that like regular cellular service, it can become quite difficult to receive signals in very thick walled buildings and I still haven’t tried the micro SD card option on it, though I’d have to say that if we started seeing a significant increase in revenue over on The Terminal, it would definitely be considered for inclusion in our box of tools for helping us cover stories. It’s also helpful to have the lanyard included; it makes it much easier to find when needed.

Wondering what anyone else’s experiences are with being connected essentially all the time or if they’ve tried this modem stick or others?


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