Options for dialup users in the modern world

By | February 24, 2011
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If you’re still using dialup, you’re in a growing minority. And we realize that some of you are stuck in areas where there isn’t any broadband available, and some of you just can’t afford the prices some cable and DSL providers charge. And we know what it’s like on dialup, EB and I used to fight over who had the fastest downloads. She was very jealous that I was topping a whopping 7kbps – that’s kilobits per second – while she was slogging along at 5kbps. I can remember leaving the house one morning, and setting Internet Explorer up to download – it was Internet Explorer 4.72 I think. I came home about ten hours later, and it still wasn’t done. It was a daunting 25 MB download. It was still downloading at dinnertime – and by the time I was ready for bed – the download stopped because my Internet connection was interrupted. So yes we know how it is.

In those days, when we were faced with downloading huge files, we had no choice. No one had high-speed connections. But you do have a choice now. Almost all McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Barnes & Noble’s book stores have open and free high-speed wireless. And if you have a laptop and you’re faced with a huge download, you can scurry off to one of those places (or do what EB does when she’s traveling and needs a quick fix of high-speed Internet – stop into a hotel with high-speed wireless, and sit in the parking lot and mooch. NO! EB, I did not mean SMOOCH!

If your only computer is a desktop, you’re kind of out of luck – unless you can borrow a laptop. If you can you can head over to a place with high-speed Internet and download the file on a USB flash drive and haul it back to your desktop. Remember this the next time you buy a computer. Laptops are as powerful and durable as desktops these days.

If you really need to download a big file and you can’t get a friend with high-speed Internet to download it for you, take advantage of the many places that offer free, open, high-speed wireless connections.

Oh, and one more thing: Many places will offer free wireless, and the wireless network will show up in your network connections – and you’ll try until your blue in the face to connect to it. But it’s not happenin’. Know why? Most places offering open, free, high-speed wireless, require you to accept their terms of service. So the first thing you need to do when you go to one of these places is to ignore the network connection dialog and open your browser- first. We’ll betcha your browser opens to a page that asks you to accept the company’s terms of service. And as soon as you do, you’re connected. Now go and download that huge file you’ve been hankerin’ to download.

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