This is not a food-related post by any means. But if you’re a blogger or Internet afficiando of any sort, it’s an important post nonetheless. Because it’s about the Internet and what to do when you don’t have access in America. I will cut right to the chase and tell you now: the answer is the Virgin Mobile MiFi.
But here’s how we met. I flew in from London Friday night (i.e. yesterday) and got to my temporary apartment around 8 pm. I stayed in the same building last month, and I had a T1 line, which was awesome.
Not so with this flat.
Despite looking and looking and looking, this new flat had NO INTERNET ACCESS AT ALL. AT ALL. (Thank you, Bridgestreet. Thank you. Yes, I’m looking at you.)I even looked around to see if there were any random unsecured access points and NO LUCk.
If you know me at all, this is a problem. Big time. While others might be able to live off their local Internet cafe or Starbucks, I need all access, all the time. For all devices. (Work laptop, personal laptop, iPhone, iPad.)
Thank you to Facebook and The New York Times. I posted my desperate plight on Facebook late Friday night, and by the time I woke from my jetlag coma, a friend had suggested I check out the Virgin MiFi. (Courtesy of a very recent article praising the Mifi in The New York Times.) The Virgin MiFi doesn’t require an annual contract or a credit check. I basically walked into BestBuy, walked out, and was online less than an hour later.
And even better? I’ve got all my other devices attached to it. Wirelessly. Seriously, all this is done by this one tiny credit card-like device. And what does it cost? Well the Virgin MiFi itself is $150, but after that, UNLIMITED Internet is just $40 a month. And if you don’t need the MiFi next month, you don’t pay for it.
The only downside right now is that I’m staying in a rather large hi-rise at the moment, and I think there are a lot of people with their own hot spots going on (the USB drive sorts of hotspots–not the supercool up-to-five devices-wireless-cards sorts of hotspots). This means that speeds are awesome in the middle of the night when no one is awake but my jetlagged self, but come 9 am, speed slows to a crawl. (Think Steve Jobs, iPhone 4 launch catastrophe.)
This all reads quite like an advertorial for the Virgin MiFi, but if you could only imagine me at 8 pm last night, faced with the prospect of a few weeks without home Internet, you’d understand. Thank you, Virgin. Thank you Facebook. Thank you, David Pogue of the New York Times.