The Ultrabook I want to see

Posted on January 17, 2012

One of the bigger stories from last week’s CES was the Ultrabook. Whether or not you agree with the oft-repeated dialog that Ultrabooks are merely Macbook Air copies — and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – you probably feel it’s a good thing that the PC makers are trying hard to make better products.  Although I’m all for sharp design, lower weight, instant on etc, my own personal belief is that the PC world is somewhat missing the point with the current emphasis of the Ultrabook. The big picture isn’t about competing with Macs, it’s about the mass transition to mobile and how that affects the PC industry as a whole. So, what’s my issue?  I think that the least important difference between notebooks and today’s mobile devices is weight, design, and instant on. Those are all things that the PC industry should have been working on anyway.  Even touch, which isn’t in evidence in the current crop of Ultrabooks but shows up in the roadmap, isn’t such as big of a factor given the rich interface of the PC.  No, to me the biggest issue is around connectivity and the constant availability of the network. Think about…

Road Warrior Pain and Devicescape One

Posted on June 19, 2008

One of the things that always frustrates me when I travel is the high cost of Internet access, especially at hotels. Oddly enough, it seems to be the premium hotels that charge extra for access, while the lower end chains give it away for free. I checked into a hotel near Heathrow Airport in London a few weeks ago and noticed that they had an “Executive Upgrade” which included Wi-Fi access and breakfast for $20. When I asked about the costs for Wi-Fi alone they told me it was $30. I guess the thinking there was that executives would be so dumb they’d need big help figuring out which one to choose! Anyway, I went with the upgrade, but amazingly they warned me that I likely wouldn’t be able to actually access Wi-Fi from my room but I could certainly use it in the lobby. Now that’s great service. At least breakfast was ok. It’s long been a bone of contention for many road warriors to pay high access fees when traveling. The all you can eat cellular data and Wi-Fi plans we have enjoyed at home suddenly rack up enormous roaming fees, and we encounter high price “session islands”…

City of London Wi-Fi

Posted on May 30, 2007

The City of London, which for those not aware of it is an area also known as the square mile right in the heart of the capital, is now also a wireless hotspot. Wi-Fi service is free at the moment, courtesy of The Cloud and Nokia. You just need to sign up for credentials. Once you have them, Devicescape should be able to get you online where you find one of the City of London hotspots.

London Victoria Station

Posted on May 29, 2007

Much like Gatwick Airport, Victoria train station has coverage from the three main providers here in the UK: BT Openzone, The Cloud and T-Mobile. I was able to sit upstairs, outside the Wetherspoons pub, and get a connection to all three networks without any difficulty.

Gatwick Airport

Posted on May 29, 2007

London Gatwick airport, south of the capital, has lots of Wi-Fi options. Coverage in the south terminal at the airport is provided by BT Openzone and The Cloud. Then you can see T-Mobile from some locations too (e.g. in Starbucks up stairs in The Village shopping mall) The picture, by the way, is the Gatwick Express train which takes you directly from the south terminal at Gatwick to London Victoria train station in 30 minutes.

Caffe Nero – Surf and Sip

Posted on May 29, 2007

Here in the UK I discovered that in addition to T-Mobile, BT Openzone and The Cloud, Surf and Sip seems to have a good presence thanks to it being the Wi-Fi provider for Caffe Nero. And since Devicescape already supported the Surf and Sip hotspots in San Francisco, both natively and through Boingo roaming, I was able to login automatically as soon as I walked through the door.