walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

EVDO: or, it can't possibly have been two years already

2 years ago next month, we were planning a trip out to NH from our then home in Seattle. We knew that a few months after that, we'd be moving out to NH (in September). Because I am seriously paranoid, I wanted a connectivity solution for my recently acquired MacBook (February before) that would work where there was no wireless (specifically, at our house in NH, which we had not sold, and would be staying in during our trip, and living in upon our return). While a number of people suggested getting a smartphone that could be used as a tethered modem, all my efforts to find one that (a) could be used as a modem (b) with a MacBook and (c) Verizon Wireless (with US Cellular, the only good cell coverage at the NH house) came to naught. Specifically, left me screaming in frustration at R., because he kept thinking this should be easy. Come on. It was May/June of 2006. _Nothing_ involving EVDO was easy.

Fast forward two years. Holy f*ck! It's 2008. Wow. Okay. I'm better now. The contract has now expired, so I'm considering replacement options.

(1) Who needs EVDO? There's wireless everywhere. And you can pay a lot for it and still have it be cheaper than a 2 year contract on an EVDO Verizon Wireless data plan. Trust me on this.
(2) Wait -- unless we get a rental house on our next trip to (name some place, but especially Seattle). Toddler running in hotel halls gets complaint calls to parents and I Do Not Like That. We're going VRBO again, and figuring on de-tchotcke-ing (I bet that's spelled wrong) the house on arrival, which sucks, but hey. Probably no wireless in the rental house, and quite possibly no connectivity.
(3) SmartPhone with a tethered modem. This one gives me the heebies, but is kind of cool, so I investigated.

First off, we haven't moved yet (altho we are thinking about it), so if I get a phone now, it's got to be Verizon Wireless. Their set up is you pay for a data plan for the cell phone ($45 or thereabouts) and then another amount to tether it ($15). Effectively no savings over what I have, so I could just stall and keep using the card. If we move, I might no longer be limited to Verizon (altho they will always have the widest service, so from a rental house perspective, might still be a good call. But broadband through VZW is kinda lame.).

Second, and more crucially, there are still major issues connecting a smartphone to a MacBook, and most of the solutions involve Bluetooth which slows things down somewhat (I could live with that) and, more importantly, I do not have on this laptop.

Screw the smartphone idea. Back to the standalone modem idea.

One of the components of the How to Travel with a Toddler and an Infant Plan involves downsizing to a secondary laptop (I have my eye on the new Asus EEE 900, as I think I previously noted in a post). Ultraportables such as the Asus don't typically have the kind of slot my current EVDO modem requires (PCMCIA, old school). However, they _do_ have USB slots, as does my current computer. Are there EVDO USB modems? Why yes! There are! Some of them supporting Verizon Wireless which may or may not be necessary/desirable. I've got a month to contemplate the tradeoffs, but I think one of these gadgets may be in my future.
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