Free Wi-Fi is your friend - Love it!!

Free Wi-Fi, gotta love it. I use it all the time for work. I use it when I get a call from an agency or attorney while I'm out on a job, I didn't get that file, can you re-send it. I use it when I've decided to work remotely, i.e., not from home.

The important word here is "free." I am outraged that the cell phone companies want you to pay $60/month so that you can buy one of those wi-fi cards. Don't do it, I say. There are plenty of places you can get wi-fi for free.

Panera - All locations. Buy a cup of joe & plop yourself down.
Starbucks - Join their rewards card program (free) and you can have at least two hours a day free.
It's a Grind - free access.
lots of public libraries.
Lots of independent coffee shops.
Some McDonald's are getting in on the act.
Some airports
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

http://www.wififreespot.com/ - Before you go on vacay, check out this website and figure out where the wifi is where you'll be staying. I know of very few reporters who aren't "working" during their vacays and you never know, something might expedite and you need to get it in sooner than expected or someone's system crashes and you need to send your stuff in from wherever you are. I always take my laptop on trips. How about you?

Of course, if you're staying at a hotel w/wi-fi access great. But I find that a lot of hotels charge you for the privilege of using their wi-fi. Random aside - How come the high-end hotels charge you for the wi-fi, and the cheapie hotels throw it in for free along w/the breakfast buffet? I dunno.

These are all free. No theft involved.

Edited to add Chick-fil-A. God send if you've got a kid.

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Comment by Kelli Combs (admin) on December 28, 2012 at 8:22

I was told by an attorney at a job last week that some of those "free wifi" sites are set up specifically to steal your personal information and account numbers, etc.  You have to be very, very careful.  We just came home from Wisconsin yesterday and at the airport, my husband paid for the WIFI because it's not worth it if you click on one that is there to fool you.  At the airport, you can most definitely count on there is one there to do just that.

Comment by Keith Rowan II on December 23, 2012 at 14:12

I see both sides.  The main time I need it is when I am at the job.  Some law firms have it and some don't and I sure as heck don't get it at a doc's office.  So I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab.  It's only about $30 monthly which I am happy to pay and it's pretty reliable.  If i was only relying on free options, I would miss out on a lot of jobs because if I am not checking my email during my job and replying immediately, these firms move on to someone else.

Comment by Laurie H. on December 23, 2012 at 8:33

Kyung, as a scopist I'm finding the free wireless wifi isn't working for me.  I have some success sending jobs out, but the combined security of my and my client's computers doesn't allow for downloading when out and about from these free servers. 

I've recently upgraded to a smartphone and share everything which allows my phone to be a dedicated, secure hot spot whenever I need it.  No extra wifi card expense.

Comment by Kyung on December 23, 2012 at 7:02
Comment by Jill Gelman on September 30, 2008 at 8:50
Any suggestions on picking up a wireless computer? I share an office with two reporters. They both pick up the wi-fi, but I can't. And I have the same exact computer as one of the reporters here
Comment by S. Arielle on September 25, 2008 at 14:39
I was staying at a hotel in NY during a trial and I was using free wifi from one of the consulates and I got so many viruses. Never again!! The $50 or $60 a month is a write-off for business and as Judy says, it's secured.

But if you don't have anything important on the laptop, then by all means......go the free way. :)
Comment by Judy on September 25, 2008 at 6:56
Just remember that those "free" sites are not secure and somebody could be hacking into your computer as you drink your coffee. At least with a wireless card you can be assured nobody's taking a look-see into your computer without your permission. I'm 100% Dutch. Cheap is my moniker. (Dutch wife and Jewish husband, yeah, the jokes fly about who can get the best price or hold out the longest before I let loose of a buck.) But you need to be SAFE. I personally wouldn't log onto a free site unless I absolutely had to.

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