Wednesday, March 07, 2007

World Wide Wireless

Last weekend was a girls' road trip, about which I will elaborate more in another posting, but it started with antiquing in the Tulsa OK area. We had reservations at a Hampton Inn, my personal choice of lodging. Not only are the rates reasonable, but there's a breakfast beyond yogurt and a prepackaged cinnamon roll, the coffee is quite good (I'm an expert, remember?), and there's wireless internet.

FREE wireless internet.

Of course, as you well know if you travel any, all the lower-end chains offer free wireless internet. Unlike the big boys, Hilton and Sheraton, if I must name two (ahem!), which charge and may not even be wireless (the horror of it), the little guys are generous with their services. I am so fond of them, that when forced to stay elsewhere, say for a business meeting, I can get grouchy.

I wasn't grouchy in Tulsa. We wanted to go to a movie and it was far easier to flip open the MacBook Pro, type in the code, and search the local theatre scene.

Except it didn't happen that way. My smart little computer wanted me to join the Comfort Inn's site.

I looked out on the parking lot. This particular Hampton was sitting in the middle of about a dozen of its ilk. And guess who across the large parking lot had a very strong wireless signal? The Comfort Inn. Alas, they weren't going to give me the codes if I called over and explained the situation. Why wasn't the Hampton's stronger?

I fired up the Airport Signal Widget and looked. Hampton, or hhonors, as it's known to those of us familiar with it, was there, just not strong enough to kick the Comfort off the deck. This meant a call to the Help line.

I gave the customer service rep her laugh for the day, perhaps the weekend. "So," I explained, "I'm here at the Hampton and the Comfort is horning in."

"Say what?"

It took a verification that I was indeed booked into the Hampton and my reading her my Internet Connect codes (which she could see from wherever she was--computers are scary) and the hint to look under my wireless signal icon to finally switch me over to hhonors.

I'd love to say it behaved flawlessly, but every time I let the computer sleep, Comfort came back in demanding a code. I've explored around a little with it now and think I can handle that the next time it comes up.

Our next stay somewhere is at another Hilton family hotel, a Doubletree. I'm sure it's a very nice place, but their website isn't declaring free internet.

I feel a bout of grouchy coming on.

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